As we get into full swing for this year’s season, there’s more than ever happening in the world of caravanning.
News stories help to underline the ever-increasing popularity of an outdoor life made possible by ingenuity and innovation in the design and comfort of caravans themselves and the steady upgrading of first-class caravan and camping sites in the UK.
Here is a small clutch of just some of those stories …
Swift caravan sales soar
One of the indicators of the strength of the market is illustrated by the success of British manufacturer Swift Caravans, which saw turnover reach £287.8 million in 2018 – up from £271.4 million the previous year. It’s a performance that also helps to secure the 1,200 jobs or so employed at its plant in Cottingham, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, according to the Hull Daily Mail on the 30th of May.
The results coincided with the launch of National Camping and Caravanning Week on the 22nd of May, on a special floating campsite near Tower Bridge in the heart of London, which itself marked the 100th anniversary of the modern caravan.
Demand for staycations boosted by Millennials
The popularity of caravanning has also been given a boost by the increasing number of people opting for staycations in the UK rather than spending the time and money travelling abroad for their holidays.
On the 23rd of May, Travel Weekly magazine revealed that an estimated 31% of domestic holidaymakers are planning to spend longer or more frequent holidays in Britain than in previous years.
Even more encouraging for the caravanning industry may be the fact that more than half of the respondents in the survey of staycation intentions are Millennials (those aged 25 to 34).
A reminder on caravan towing rules
Given that it will again this year be one of the most popular destinations for caravanners, it is entirely appropriate that Cornwall Live published a timely reminder on the 22nd of May about the penalties for breaking the law relating to towing your caravan on British roads.
If you take to the roads towing a caravan that is an unsafe or unroadworthy condition or don’t have the appropriate driving licence, you may be fined up to £2,500.
Driving licence requirements are determined by when you took your test and the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) of the caravan you are towing. If you passed your driving test after the 1st of January 1997 you may only tow a caravan up to 3,500kg of MAM on your category B driving licence, and may need a supplementary Category B+E licence for heavier ‘vans.
If you took your driving test before the 1st of January 1997 you are usually qualified to drive a combined caravan and vehicle weight (the “road train”) of up to 8.25 tonnes.
Trailers and caravans account for 11 accidents every day
Further illustrating the need to ensure you are properly qualified to tow your caravan and keep it in a thoroughly roadworthy condition, is the sobering statistic that very nearly 11 road traffic accidents every day in the UK involve a caravan or other trailer of one kind or another.
The annual tally of some 4,000 accidents involving caravans and trailers was revealed by Motor1 on the 27th of May.
Towing a caravan that is too heavy for the car pulling it or with excessive nose weight, driving too fast, overloading the caravan, or loading it improperly, are all cited as some of the principal causes of the accidents recorded.