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NISSAN IS CALLING for first-time caravanners to book a training course before hitting the road this summer.


The Japanese car maker says “the caravanning holiday is coming back in a big way” although personally I never realised it had been away. However, Nissan is concerned that many new caravanners don’t know how to tow.


Having surveyed 3000 UK adults, Nissan says one in five towcar drivers have only started towing in the past six months. Four out of 10 towers (including those who pull horseboxes and boats as well as a caravans) say they have never had any training in how to do so safely.


Responding to Nissan’s research, Tim Shallcross, head of technical policy at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “With more ‘towers’ than ever hitting the roads this summer, it is essential drivers are up to speed with road safety.


“The results of the Nissan research highlight a key knowledge gap in towing legislation and safety guidelines.  We encourage new and experienced ‘towers’ to ensure they are correctly informed as to their vehicle’s towing capabilities and to follow essential safety guidelines.”


Nissan includes advice about safe towing on its website.


For the most part, I agree with Nissan and IAM. However, I do wonder if anyone at Nissan realises that if the Swift caravan in the photo it sent out with the press release was to be loaded to the Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass it would weigh more than 100% of the X-Trail’s kerbweight. That’s hardly an example of best practice.


Perhaps I’m wrong to nitpick. Nissan and IAM are right that it’s important to know the rules of the road when towing and the best way to become proficient is to go on a course. Both major clubs run training for caravanners that cover the basics in a day or two.


But it needs to be remembered that towing is not some kind of black art, mastered only by a few. Towing needs skill, care and concentration, but so does any kind of driving. Any competent driver can tow safely with some practice and, ideally, a bit of instruction. Make the effort to do it well and safely, and towing can be a satisfying start and finish to any caravanning trip.