Crash testing for motorhomes
Every motorhome sold in the UK must be Type Approved and EU law defines the requirements for many safety elements - for example seats and seatbelts. However, motorhomes are not by law subject to type approval crash tests to ensure occupants remain safe in the event of an accident. The NCC supports the creation of a definitive industry specification to which motorhomes can be tested, and is in consultation to develop a testing regime.
NCC responds to EC proposal for periodic testing of all trailers
The NCC (National Caravan Council) has submitted a response to the roadworthiness package of 13 July 2012 in which the European Commission put forward a proposal for the periodic testing of all trailers with MTPLMs up to 3,500kg - i.e. introducing MOTs.
The NCC's response concluded:
- There is no evidence that technical defects are a significant factor in accidents involving touring caravans
- The MOT testing of tourers would be a massive undertaking with huge practical difficulties
- The cost of setting up testing stations (whether at existing MOT stations or Approved Workshop Scheme members) would be immense
- Existing legislation and practice is already sufficient to ensure that the majority of trailers meet relevant safety standards
- Consumer education is likely to be more cost effective, as excessive speeds and overloading are more common causes of accidents than technical defects.
Security tips and discounts from The Caravan Club
The Caravan Club has published its 'new year resolutions for safer touring'
There is a new number to contact CRiS, the Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme - 0203 282 1000.
Touring abroad in 2013?
All drivers thinking of touring in Europe should remember that the laws of the road may differ from those of the UK, even within the EC. For example, drivers travelling in France must carry breathalysers - the two required official NF (Norme Francaise) approved breathalysers can be purchased from ferry and Eurotunnel terminals. Speed limits also vary - the Caravan Club has a useful resume .
Police officers’ seminar on caravan crime
In May 2012, members of Police Services from across the country attended NPI Ryton for an event organised by AVCIS (Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service). The attendees learnt about caravan theft, theft devices and how to identify stolen or suspect caravans. This was followed by a practical demonstration about the identification of caravans, held at Broad Lane Caravans, in Leek Wooton.
Campers reminded about the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) is reminding campers not to use, light or leave smouldering barbecues inside their tents, caravans or other enclosed spaces because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Professor Virginia Murray, from the HPA said: "In small enclosed spaces such as tents and caravans, levels of carbon monoxide produced by barbecues can build up very quickly to levels which can kill. Carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless and tasteless so even at high levels, it is unlikely you will know you are being poisoned by this lethal gas.
"Disposable barbecues should never be used or left inside awnings once they have been lit or after they have been used. When you have finished with the barbecue, it should be disposed of carefully, ensuring the ashes are completed extinguished to prevent the risk of fire."
Risks to children from curtains and blinds
The NCC is warning that children and vulnerable people may be at risk of injury - or even strangulation - from blinds or curtains fitted with cords in caravans. This follows an EU Directive that addresses the risk of internal blinds and corded window coverings, and advice issued by the British Blind and Shutter Association (BBSA).
The danger - in homes and in caravans - is where the cord is left hanging with a loop at the bottom. BBSA has a useful website with video and a downloadable leaflet that details ways to reduce the risk and keep your family safe.
For those heading off on vacation in their caravans/motorhomes, the NCC is issuing a reminder that just because you are on holiday, it doesn't mean thieves are too. Even when stopping on route, or when you have arrived at your destination, it is still advisable to use wheel locks, alarms, immobilisers and other security devices to keep your property safe.
Towing larger caravans - 3.5 tonnes vehicle required
All caravanners should be aware that a touring caravan with:
» a maximum laden weight not exceeding 3,500 kg
» overall width not exceeding 2.55 metres
» overall body length not exceeding 7 metres (excluding drawbar and coupling)
is the maximum size that can be legally towed by a motor vehicle whose maximum gross vehicle weight is less than 3,500 kg. Most 4x4s and even Transit-type vans are not allowed to tow caravans that exceed these dimensions. Caravans above these sizes can only be towed on the highway by a commercial vehicle that is plated in excess of 3.5 tonnes.
An illegal combination is not an insured unit, and in the case of any ‘incident' you would not be covered.
Expert safety and security advice from CSSG at 2012 caravan shows
At the both the Manchester show (19-22 January) and the new Motorhome Caravan and Camping show at ExCel London (14-19 February), there will be safety and security advice centres. Visitors can pose motorhoming and caravanning questions to experts - including NCC security consultant Tim Booth. The latest products will be on show too -see the show websites for more details.
Tyres and wintery conditions
Most drivers know that snow and ice can dramatically affect their safety on the road. Steering, acceleration and braking are more difficult as normal tyres have less grip in these conditions. Even cold, damp roads can dramatically affect the performance of tyres, leading to an increased accident risk particularly if towing. The Tyresafe website has some useful information on what drivers can do to stay safe.
CO alarms to be installed in 2012 motorhomes and tourers
Carbon monoxide (CO) alarms will become an NCC Certification requirement from 1 September 2011. For the 2012 model year, any manufacturer's product that wears the NCC ‘Approved' badge will fit these items.
The NCC recommends the use of both an audible CO alarm and smoke detector in older models too - see your dealer or local Approved Workshop for more information on suitable products.
Owners of caravan products urged to arrange regular appliance servicing
The recent Gas Safety Week aimed to raise awareness of gas safety and the importance of taking care of your gas appliances. This is just as relevant in leisure vehicles as in the home - badly fitted/poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Gas appliances should be tested every year. Touring caravan and motorhome owners should approach their local Approved Workshop, while owners of caravan holiday homes should contact their park for information about qualified personnel who can test fitments.
Caravanners urged to take extra care while they are on holiday
The causes of caravan fires, according to Fire and Rescue Services, are usually the same as those within the home - namely cooking or heaters left unattended or electrical items left plugged in. Taking a little bit of extra care could help prevent fire.
Wider caravans in UK opens doors to criminals
Following warnings from AVCIS, the NCC is advising buyers of larger, imported caravans to be extra vigilant. When British law changed to allow wider caravans here, demand for European-style vehicles increased, opening a new market for thieves.
AVCIS warns that gangs in Europe are stealing desired caravans, destroying the VIN (vehicle identification number) and importing them into the UK to sell on to unsuspecting holidaymakers. The NCC therefore recommends buyers make investigations into the provenance of the vehicle before purchase e.g. by asking the seller for identification and proof of address.
Reminder: don't leave possessions in caravans
Theft of caravans is dropping, but reports of items stolen from inside caravans is increasing. It is therefore really important never to leave valuables (credit cards, laptops, MP3s, TVs etc) where they are visible and where possible to remove them from the vehicle.
Don't let the rain put a dampener on your holiday
With rain showers forecast across much of the UK this coming Spring Bank Holiday weekend, TyreSafe, the tyre safety organisation, is encouraging drivers to check the condition of their tyres before setting off. Drivers should ensure that their tyres have adequate tread depth to grip potentially slippery road surfaces and are properly inflated especially when towing.
"After the recent prolonged dry spell, the rain showers which are forecast are likely to make the roads extremely slippery," explains Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe. "As the only contact point between a vehicle and road surface, it's essential that drivers make sure their tyres are in a suitable condition to cope with the potentially hazardous conditions."
To cope properly with wet conditions, drivers should check their tyre tread depth as the tread pattern helps to remove water from the road surface, allowing the tyre to grip the road properly.
New TyreSafe campaign
October's tyre safety month is underway and TyreSafe are urging drivers to take the 20p test in order to stay safe and legal. The appeal can be seen on the tyresafe website, and involves inserting the coin into the groove and if the inner rim of the 20p is still visible, the tread is below the legally required limit. Their plea comes just days after the Department for Transport published its latest road casualty report which reported that more than 200 people were killed or seriously injured (KSI) in the UK in 2009 as a result of an accident where illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributory factor.
Drivers warned of need to check brake lights
Motorists need to remember to keep an eye on their brake lights to check they are in working order. Carsite.co.uk revealed that one in 15 drivers has at least one faulty brake light, which may cause confusion for caravanners and other motorists. "The real problem is that people don't realise they have a faulty brake light - it's a major concern with potentially fatal consequences," explained John Guess of Carsite.co.uk.
New iPhone app makes tyre pressure readings easy
iPhone users in the UK can now be sure of inflating their car tyres to the correct pressure following the launch of the free TyreSafe iPhone app. Users simply input their vehicle registration details and the app provides the vehicle manufacturer's recommended tyre pressure settings in both psi and bar. The app has been launched by TyreSafe, the UK's leading tyre safety organisation, as part of October's tyre safety month.
Bailey Unicorn to be supplied with the latest safety and security equipment
The Bailey Unicorn range will be supplied with the latest safety and security equipment to ensure that the caravan will remain both safe on the road and secure on site. Visit the Bailey website.
Salop Leisure to open new Caravan Storage Facility
Salop Leisure are opening a secure storage facility at its Shrewsbury headquarters. The new outdoor facility will open on 1 October as part of the company's expansion plans. Salop are aiming to achieve the gold standard from the Caravan Storage Site Owners Association. The facility will be covered by closed circuit television, have an alarmed barrier fence and be governed by a secure electronic entry system. Anyone requiring more information about the secure caravan storage facility should contact Mr Harris on 01743 282400
Online tyre safety advice for caravanners
To coincide with the start of the 10th annual National Camping and Caravanning Week (29th May – 4th June), TyreSafe has launched a new section on its website dedicated to caravan tyre safety. They provide technical tips and information to help keep you safe and legal on the roads. Visit the TyreSafe website for more information.
CRiS Scheme helps foil major caravan crime ring
A major crime operation which contributed to a significant number of caravan thefts in the last three years has been disbanded following the prosecution of a gang of four travellers. HPI provided key information from the NCC's (National Caravan Council) Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme, CRiS. Wiltshire Police, working alongside CRiS, uncovered a host of criminal activities which yielded a total of £970,000 of stolen vehicles, cash and jewellery.
Valuable details of the stolen caravans provided by CRiS, assisted the police in attributing a small number of local caravan-related offences to a wider scale, national operation.
Want to take a motorhome manoeuvring course?
The Caravan Club runs Motor Caravan Manoeuvring courses, where the friendly instructors make sure you learn the required skills in a relaxed, informal atmosphere. The Club has just announced the addition of an extra training centre at Writtle College, near Chelmsford, Essex. This brings the number of centres up to 15, with locations from West Lothian to West Wales.