Towing a caravan in the rain

Towing requires more attention at the best of times but towing a caravan in the rain can bring its own set of challenges. 

Extra precautions are required when towing your caravan in wet weather, but proper preparation and a positive mindset are also key. 

Here is a guide from our team for wet weather towing to ensure you have a stress-free caravan journey, (even when it's raining.)

In this guide, you will find tips on:

  • Checking your caravan is protected from the rain
  • Tyres
  • Vehicle Brakes 
  • Vehicle Wipers
  • Driving techniques while towing in the rain

As the saying goes, "failing to prepare is preparing to fail." Before you set off, make sure you have everything you could possibly need on board and run a safety check.

Check Sealants.

Caravan Sealant Window

It's important to make sure your touring caravan is completely waterproof. High winds can push rain in through small gaps, so check the condition of sealants, particularly if you are towing an older caravan. Applying sealant to a caravan can be difficult, so we would recommend this be checked by your dealer as part of your annual service. 

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Check your tyres

Towing touring caravan in the rain

When it comes to driving and towing safety, the most important factor to consider is the tires. 

It is a common misconception that tyre tread is responsible for grip or traction. 

The primary function of tire tread is to direct water away from the road surface, allowing the tire to make direct contact with it. 

As a result, the deeper the tread, the better it can remove water from the road.

The depth of tyres treads has a significant impact on safety. If the treads are too shallow, stopping distances increase, the risk of hydroplaning increases, and overall vehicle safety suffers. 

To ensure compliance with European regulations, a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm across the entire width of the tread is recommended.

Caravan Tyres

Check Overloading: Overloading tyres is extremely dangerous and should be avoided at all times.

Check Noseweight: The National Caravan Council's Caravan Towing Guide recommends that the noseweight should be varied to find the optimum for towing, depending on the actual laden weight of the caravan.

Check Spare wheel and Tyre: It is strongly recommended that a compatible spare wheel and tire assembly is carried for the caravan.

Check Tread Depth: Adequate tread depth is vital for road safety. The tread grooves help to evacuate water from the road surface.

Check Winter Storage: All tyres should be examined for signs of wear and damage regularly, but this is particularly important for caravans when they have not been used for an extended period.

Check Brakes: 

You will be relying on your brakes more during wet weather, so ensure they are in good working order before you set out on your journey.

Check all vehicle/ caravan lights:

 In dreary conditions when visibility is limited, clean, bright, and working lghts are crucial. 

Making sure your caravan lights are in good working order, including brake lights, tail lights, and side markers. This is especially important in low visibility conditions. 

Check Wipers: 

car wipers

Typically, good wiper blades will last between 1 to 2 years, depending on usage. 

However, if you drive more frequently than the average 9-5 office worker, they may only last between 6 to 12 months. 

It is important to check the condition of your windshield wipers before starting a journey, particularly when towing a caravan in the rain. 

Replacing wiper blades is an inexpensive precaution that can make a big difference in visibility and safety while driving.

Bonus Tip: Rain Repellents: To keep your windows even clearer, rain repellents are perfect for keeping water off your windows and mirrors. 

car window rain repellent

This will increase your visibility, making for a safer towing experience in the rain. According to Parkers, the best rain repellents for cars are...

  • Soft99 Glaco Roll-On
  • Autobrite Direct Vision +
  • Rain-X 2in1 Glass Cleaner + Rain Repellent
  • Gtechniq G1 Smart Glass
  • EZ Car Care Lotus

Check Screen wash 

Make sure to top up your screen wash before leaving, and if your wipers are smearing instead of clearing the windshield, replace the blades. It's a quick and easy job.

Adjust Your Driving to Match Road Conditions and Weather

The first step in towing a caravan in the rain is to make sure you're driving safely. It's important to know the weather forecast and to always check the road conditions before setting off. 

If it's raining heavily but visibility is not an issue, it's probably safe to continue your journey. 

However, if it starts raining while you're driving, it's essential to slow down and be aware that the roads may be slippery. 

Additionally, it's important to be extra vigilant of other drivers around you, especially those who may not be as confident driving in wet weather.

Driving techniques while towing a caravan in the rain. 

When it comes to towing techniques in wet weather try to be a proactive not reactive driver. 

Here are some tips for driving techniques to keep in mind:

Slower in a must.  

When towing a caravan in the rain, driving slower is a must. Rainy conditions can cause the road to be slick, so it's important to reduce your speed. This will help you maintain control of your vehicle and prevent aquaplaning.

The two second rule 

Stopping distances increase in wet weather. In normal conditions when you are not towing a caravan, when the vehicle in front passes a fixed point, say “Only a fool breaks the two-second rule”.  

If you pass the fixed point before you’ve finished saying it, then you’re too close and should leave a bigger gap.

According to the Camping and Caravanning Club, the average stopping distance when towing can increase by 20%, so it’s best to allow extra space and avoid any violent braking if possible. 

Driving in the wet and having the extra weight of a caravan to consider, it makes sense to leave a considerably larger stopping distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead.

Dip your headlights.

Use dipped headlights when visibility is 'seriously reduced, but don't turn on fog lights unless the visibility is limited to just 100 meters as you risk dazzling other drivers.

Look out for potholes

Harsher weather means more potholes. Be on the lookout. Where possible, drive around these or straddle them. You never know how deep the hole might be.

Towing through deep water

Driving through flooded roads while towing a caravan should be avoided at all times. According to the AA, it is not safe to drive through water that is deeper than 10cm (4in). 

Different cars have varying fording depths, and the average touring caravan is not suitable for towing through flooded roads. 

The depth that is safe for your car may not be safe for your caravan, as the caravan's floor vents may be lower than the towing vehicle's fording depth. 

Any water that enters the caravan can cause severe damage to the carpets, floors, upholstery, and wooden units. 

If you are unsure about the depth of standing water, it is best to avoid the risk.

Be Prepared

If you're towing a caravan in windy conditions or rain, go equipped with plenty of warning lights and reflectors. If there's an accident or breakdown of any kind, you’ll be able to use them to let other drivers know there’s a problem.

Tow Safely

There you have it. You’re now prepared for the onslaught of heavy rain and you will be able to make your journey safely and with ease.