The towing thread

hiluxdriver

Well-Known Member
#1
I can tell this will be a hotly debated topic, so how do you know if your skilled enough to tow a big (or small) van/trailer?
  • Do you NEED to have pre purchase professional training or just experience with some smaller/different?
  • Should you have your licence stamped to say you're qualified to tow on the road?
  • Should there be a classification system as to what you can tow?
Many people judge others as not being competent, but are they qualified to make that call? Just because you have a few years towing experience does that make you an "expert"?
We've all seen youtube vids of accidents from towing but are they as common as they seem, and are they really caused by the inexperienced/untrained?
I'd love to hear your thoughts as I may be picking up a camper trailer in the coming months and being inexperienced in towing, some unbiased opinions will be welcome.
 
#2
I know I am not qualified! Every time I borrow my mates trailer to do a tip run, I am sure that all the other people there are judging my crappy trailer reversing skills. Though I am slowly making improvements, I still have a ways to go. If I was going to get a larger trailer or a caravan, I would definitely seek additional expert training/instruction as well as taking it to an empty carpark and doing lots of practice.
 

Neddysmith

Active Member
#3
I find in general terms for reversing a trailer, the longer the draw bar and the larger the trailer in general makes it easier to reverse as the response isnt as drastic or sharp, also when reversing i find making small corrections easier as you dont get the harsh reaction at the back of the trailer. Also for single or dual axle trailer get used to looking at the rear of the trailer for its direction of travel or picking a solid reference you can identify in your mirrors.
 

Jaye

Well-Known Member
#4
I believe it should me mandatory to have some sort of licence to tow large vans or trailers. Two classes or classifications, one for up to a certain weight or size and the other unrestricted. Example, the first 7x5 and 1.8t, where a couple of hours with an instructor to take you through the basics, so atleast everyone has a bit of knowledge etc. Thats usually good enough for most people and the odd once a year dump run or taking the tinny to the boat ramp. The other is you have to prove you are capably of reversing a twin or single axle 1.8-3.5t van, boat, trailer, whatever. All the fundamentals of towing, how to get yourself out of a sticky situation and all that goes with towing a large item.

Its not easy and is something you should be taught and competent at before heading off and endangering yours and others lives on the road. far too many near misses and accidents every day from towing.

I hate we live in a society where there are so many rules and restrictions but this is a no brainer I think.
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
#5
I believe it should me mandatory to have some sort of licence to tow large vans or trailers. Two classes or classifications, one for up to a certain weight or size and the other unrestricted. Example, the first 7x5 and 1.8t, where a couple of hours with an instructor to take you through the basics, so atleast everyone has a bit of knowledge etc. Thats usually good enough for most people and the odd once a year dump run or taking the tinny to the boat ramp. The other is you have to prove you are capably of reversing a twin or single axle 1.8-3.5t van, boat, trailer, whatever. All the fundamentals of towing, how to get yourself out of a sticky situation and all that goes with towing a large item.

Its not easy and is something you should be taught and competent at before heading off and endangering yours and others lives on the road. far too many near misses and accidents every day from towing.

I hate we live in a society where there are so many rules and restrictions but this is a no brainer I think.
I'd rather have a reversing test with a 1.8 - 3t trailer than a little 6x4 garden trailer every time. If I am going to look stupid on the boat ramp it is always with a tiny tinny trailer that I can't even see. You make a good point though.
It's not just trailers, I think the standard of driver training and driver ability in this country is woeful. I just shelled out for 2 days of defensive driving course for my nephew's 18th birthday present. Why is that not compulsory?
 

dno67

Well-Known Member
#8
I think the standard of driver training and driver ability in this country is woeful. I just shelled out for 2 days of defensive driving course for my nephew's 18th birthday present. Why is that not compulsory?
That because they teach you how to pass the test, not how to operate a
motor vehicle competently.
I also agree a tandem responds slower to steering inputs than a small
single axle trailer making it easier IMO, but the larger trailer needs more
consideration in other areas like when braking or carrying a load that limits
vision and you have to use your left mirror. Like a car trailer carrying a car
or a caravan where you have to have a little knowledge and understanding
of your dimensions. For this type of towing I believe there should be a license
test or certificate of competency test or maybe even upgrade to a light truck
ticket.
 
#9
I believe something needs to change. There are a lot more people on the road towing, and for anyone to be able to jump into a vehicle and trailer weighing 6 tonnes and drive it wherever they want seems pretty flawed. Some people will have no issues at all, but a lot will struggle and it does increase the risk for other road users.

Like with most things, the more you know the safer you are. If you have a good understanding of weights for trailers and your vehicle, how to balance them and stay legal you are going to be miles in front of everyone else.

Beyond that knowing how to drive respectfully around other road users (especially trucks who have commercial intent on the road), communicate with other road users and drive to the conditions is extremely important.

Our vehicle license is a bit of a joke anyway; its no where near detailed enough, and the training/education is very obvious when you drive on the road anywhere in Australia.

Another point of interest is as the size and weight of things increase (think 3500kg vans!) your chances of an accident are going to increase. Towing anything that weighs more than your tow vehicle is not a good idea, and yet there are a lot of people who love the fact that a 2 tonne dual cab ute can 'legally' tow 3500kg.

I reckon education is the area that should be worked on, like the exercise done in the Eastern states with the police and road authorities. Something like 70% of vehicles/trailers weighed were not legal, and most people had absolutely no idea why.

Aaron
 

shanegtr

Active Member
#10
I just shelled out for 2 days of defensive driving course for my nephew's 18th birthday present. Why is that not compulsory?
I agree with you there, I've done those sorts of driving courses twice now, my parents got me the first one when I was around 18 or 19 and the second was about 4 years ago for a work requirement. While I dont think it should be a part of actually getting your licence, I think it should be part of a requirement for getting off your P plates.

In regards to towing and licences, I think it should be classed based system a bit like trucks. Maybe have it so that you can tow an unbraked trailer (generally 750kg gross) on your normal car licence, then 750kg-2t and then above 2t.

I've been towing ever since I got my licence (and been driving since I was 11 - not on the roads of course). Had a 22' caravan for a few years when I was in my early 20's and towed that up and down the state. Been towing car trailers as well and fairly activly tow our camper trailer around. None of my previous towing experiance was as much and eye opener as towing the camper on gravel roads! Its not much fun when your carrying a bit to much speed for an unexpected corner, oversteer Im comfortable with but not when its combined with a trailer in tow;). Lucky that I kept it under control with no incidents but its something that could easily turn for the worse.
 

GaryM

Well-Known Member
#11
The last thing we need is another class of driver who thinks the different letters on his/her licence, makes them more talented. Ch 40/29 is bad enough now.
 

GaryM

Well-Known Member
#13
I thought that was 18 already, and they dont use it. But note, that was also a jibe at truck drivers. The most opinionated anti-social one eyed, delusional bastards Ive had the pleasure to listen too.
 

Marck

Well-Known Member
#14
I hate all this you should have a licance for this and that. The costs of doing the simpelest things is already out of hand. Its a personal responcibility to make sure that you can do somthing safely and everyone should be able to teach themselves new skills if they can and seek help if they cant. But i do recon it wouldent hurt to have even 1 hour of instruction on towing when you have your learners. Not so much as to make somone competent because the truth is experiance is what usualy builds compantancy but so they know how it affects vehicles around them. And lets them identify risks. We all know that if you see a guy with a hat on the parcel shelf of his car that he is about to do somthing dumb and knowing that is not somthing they teach.
 

rogerazz

4x4 Earth Contributer
#15
I'd rather have a reversing test with a 1.8 - 3t trailer than a little 6x4 garden trailer every time. If I am going to look stupid on the boat ramp it is always with a tiny tinny trailer that I can't even see. You make a good point though.
It's not just trailers, I think the standard of driver training and driver ability in this country is woeful. I just shelled out for 2 days of defensive driving course for my nephew's 18th birthday present. Why is that not compulsory?
I have done a bit of track work, dragged my car at the Pontiac Nats a few times, and done defensive/advance driving courses. Also towed Vans and trailers for over fifty years.
Around 2002 I wrote five articles for the Herald Sun Motoring section advocating that before you get a licence, no matter what age, you must have completed a defensive/Advanced driving course. That would mean if you don't pass this course you cannot get a licence. I still keep pushing, however it has never eventuated and there are heaps of incompetent drivers on our roads. My newly bought dash cams for my Troopy and my wife's car prove this every day I am on the road.
Copy of the Article that Paul Gover Motoring Editor wrote and photo of my sixteen year old daughter with racing instructors at Sandown Racetrack in 2002.
Scan_20180112.jpg

Scan_20180112 (2).jpg
 

hiluxdriver

Well-Known Member
#16
I hate all this you should have a licance for this and that. The costs of doing the simpelest things is already out of hand. Its a personal responcibility to make sure that you can do somthing safely and everyone should be able to teach themselves new skills if they can and seek help if they cant. But i do recon it wouldent hurt to have even 1 hour of instruction on towing when you have your learners. Not so much as to make somone competent because the truth is experiance is what usualy builds compantancy but so they know how it affects vehicles around them. And lets them identify risks. We all know that if you see a guy with a hat on the parcel shelf of his car that he is about to do somthing dumb and knowing that is not somthing they teach.
Agree 100%, but if I had a son, and that son was killed by a numpty who couldn't control his van I'd be asking for some super stiff penalties, or laws changed. Should we not try to get on the front foot?
 

Albynsw

Well-Known Member
#20
I agree there should be some form of competency test to tow a large van or boat but then there should of been proper teaching of how to drive a car before you get a licence for them as well

On the water is no better, you are legally allowed to drive a boat up to 100 foot long as long as you don't exceed 10 knots :rolleyes: a boat of that length can be easily 20 to 50 tonne so you can do some serious damage with that under a bit of momentum
 
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