Caravan Width?

Submitted: Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 12:21
ThreadID: 103909 Views:26876 Replies:4 FollowUps:9
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Are all caravans the same width or can you get them narrower to match your vehicle?
The reason I ask is the amount of caravaners struggling with their width I have seen over the last few days is ridiculous, and to be honest bloody dangerous.
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Reply By: disco driver - Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 14:13

Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 14:13
Hi Hairy,
Caravans can vary from a max of 2.4m down to around 2.0m wide.
As a general rule the smaller the van the narrower it is, but there are exceptions to this, of course.
2.4m is close to the max allowed width of 2.5 and ,in my experience as big as one would want to go.
Big vans are generally close to the vehicles towing limits and in some cases are dangerously over weight which causes issues of their own.

The biggest problems are that many drivers towing vans do not have adequate r/view mirrors and hence have little or no idea of what's behind them, some have had no experience in towing something as long and have great difficulty in judgement as a result.
Of course, inconsiderate drivers who won't allow the backup of vehicles to pass whenever possible only compound the issue.

Consideration by all road users does help to ease most of these problems.


AnswerID: 516625

Follow Up By: Member - johnat - Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 16:47

Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 16:47
TBH, extra rear view mirrors are, themselves, a problem - they vibrate so much that they either fall off or are useless as zip on undies for seeing other than a highly blurred "thing" somewhere in the space behind you.
I have reversing cameras fitted (one to the tug vehicle and one to the van) and the field of view of these is such that by the time anything is out of their view, I can easily see them in the standard Rear View mirrors. Mind you, I have the door mirrors adjusted so that I can see a slight overlap with the internal mirror when not towing, so they cover a far wider area than most people.
No need to be able to see the back corner of the car in the door mirror, it will always be right there where I left it! So, being able to see further out to right and left is far more important. Besides, the camera is more useful for seeing positioning on the road than the door mirrors anyway!
I carry the extra mirrors (one broken and in a plastic bag, the other unmounted so it doesn't break too) as evidence to the fact that I did, once, have them fitted should anyone ask.
FollowupID: 796014

Follow Up By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 20:15

Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 20:15
Might be wrong here but I thought that 90% of vans were 7'6" wide with a few smaller, specialist off roaders a bit narrower and the occasional palace on wheels approaching 8 foot. Tbf, I think most vanners have towing mirrors and often rear view camera as well but yep, a lot do appear to be over weight. That's my impression, anyway.
FollowupID: 796029

Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 10:51

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 10:51
I think the mirror issue is a valid point ,but annoying more than dangerous. It only becomes dangerous when the people behind get impatient. (understandably too sometimes)
I just hear and see so many close calls due to people not being able to judge the extra width of their van confidently.
FollowupID: 796071

Reply By: Member - Scrubby (VIC) - Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 16:29

Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 16:29
G`day Hairy,
My Supreme Getaway is only 2 metres wide + awning roll.
I can stand at the rear of the van and see about half of the side mirrors on the wagon, I still use additional mirrors anyway.
An other great thing is the reduction in wind drag = better fuel economy.
Also an advantage getting to the more "off the beaten track" fishing spots amongst the gum trees. LOL

AnswerID: 516633

Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 10:54

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 10:54
It would have to be a lot easier to tow, wouldn't it......I wonder why more people don't opt for a narrower van when you can see they obviously struggle with the extra width?
FollowupID: 796072

Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 16:35

Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 16:35
Hairy, what do you mean by
"the amount of caravaners struggling with their width I have seen over the last few days is ridiculous, and to be honest bloody dangerous."?

Is it staying in lanes, turning corners, reversing or not being able to clearly see behind etc?
AnswerID: 516635

Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 10:46

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 10:46
Yes....all of the above.
FollowupID: 796070

Follow Up By: Member - Legendts - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 12:11

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 12:11
If people have the right sort of mirrors on their vehicles so they can clearly see down the sides of the van and you keep an eye where the van is on the road at all times then there are no issues. I am beginning to believe a licence review is necessary when you purchase a van and that may only need attending a training session of x number of hours. Yes, I know, that opens a can of worms on it's own too but you see enough poor towing practices on the road and in caravan parks to raise the question.

Re width, I am looking at slideouts to increase my liveable width in the van. Nothing wrong with the current van widths just the drivers towing them in my opinion.
FollowupID: 796075

Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 12:22

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 12:22
Thats a great idea.....slide outs. Why don't the caravan builders make narrower vans with more slide outs.
If people really want a wider van they could do an extra licence test just like truck drivers?
FollowupID: 796076

Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 12:02

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 12:02
On the way back from fishing yesterday morning while overtaking a vehicle using the passing lane a caravan appeared over the hill, coming around the corner with his entire wheel in my lane.
If the vehicle next to me didn't see it all happening and give me some room it could have ended a lot different!
The funny thing was they just gave us a little wave as they went past totaly oblivious to the fact they just run us all off the road!!!!

Sure the tyre prints over the kerbs in town, street bins and signs ripped out of the ground from people misjudging the width of their vans is keeping someone employed but I didn't think that's what the grey nomads meant by supporting small towns. LOL

When you pass the couple cruising down the highway "spending the kids inheritance" with their wheel hugging the centre white line, eyes fixed down the centre of the road, hanging on for grim death, hoping like hell that truck isn't going to tear the van off the back of the Colorado, you wonder if they would be better off with a bit narrower van......and if they weren't, would the oncoming traffic be.

I know there are a lot of good and competent caravan drivers out there who don't have an issue with the width but there seems to be getting more and more bad ones too.

I personally hate the idea of more license classifications which always come with a price tag or compulsory courses because of a minority, but what's the option.
You need a truck licence to drive a vehicle because its heavier, wider and generally longer than a car but you can drive a car and caravan with possibly the same combined width length and weight with absolutely no qualifications?

I personally think that you should be able to tow a trailer the same width as the tow vehicle without any changes to your licence.......anything wider than that, some sort of test or classification to make sure the driver is up to it.

What do you think?

AnswerID: 516674

Follow Up By: member - mazcan - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 14:11

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 14:11
hi hairy
but then tow vehicles are all different widths as well ????
FollowupID: 796085

Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 15:39

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 15:39
True, and if the van matched the tow vehicle it might eliminate a lot of the problems?
FollowupID: 796093

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