How to reverse a caravan

Reversing a caravan can seem daunting but it just cannot be avoided, like most things, practice helps a lot.

Here is some information to read before taking that first trip and reversing your caravan

When you put your car into reverse and go to reverse for a split second nothing happens, the caravan resists moving before sort of letting go with a bump action. This is normal, it's the caravans reverse brake feature which is a way it works out whether it is rolling away and needs to engage the brakes, or whether it is simply being reversed.

Reversing in a straight line

It may sound obvious but before you start a straight line reverse, make sure your car and caravan are in a straight line themselves.

This may require you need to drive forward a few metres to get straight.
Start with your steering wheel straight and reverse slowly. As you travel backwards, watch the van in your towing mirrors.

If it begins to get bigger in one mirror, move the steering wheel down towards that mirror. You’ll only have to move it a small amount – less than a quarter of a turn. Once the van starts moving back to its original position in the mirror, bring the steering wheel back up to straight.

If the car and caravan moves so much off the line, move forward to straighten up and try again.

Reversing around a corner

Turning a corner like onto your pitch, takes more getting used to.

If you position yourself correctly to start it is ok though.

Firstly drive past the pitch until the wheels of the caravan are just past the edge of the pitch, then look over your shoulder to where you want to go, and turn the wheel fully in the opposite direction (the opposite way to the way if you were just reversing your car).

Start to move back slowly. The van will begin to move around the corner quite quickly. You need to concentrate because if you let the van move too far around you could jack knife it.

Just before the van gets to a position that is straight on the pitch, turn the steering wheel in the other direction so the car follows the line of the van on to the pitch. The steering wheel should be in the same position it would be in if you were backing up just a car on its own. If the van moves too far, or doesn’t move far enough, just pull forward to straighten it up or go back to the start and try again.

Procedure for reversing caravan

1. Get your caravan into position to start perpendicular to the pitch with the wheels just past the edge of it.

2. Looking at where you want to go, then turn the wheel a full rotation in the opposite direction.

3. When moving back, start slowly. As the caravan begins to turn bring the steering wheel back to the straight position.

4. Turn the steering wheel the other way so that the car ‘follows’ the caravan back onto the pitch.

5. If the caravan turns too far round, go forward to straighten up a bit.

6. If your caravan is not perfectly straight do not worry, when unhitched you can push it into its final position.

Top tips for reversing a caravan

1. You only need to move the steering wheel a small amount, often less than a quarter of a turn.

2. If you go wrong pulling forward, starting again is often easier than trying to rescue the situation.

3. Always go slowly. By going slower gives you more to make an adjustment.