News Paper Article

Jun 23, 2005
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thought you guys would like to read one of todays newspaper articles from one of Scotlands Quality papers.

would love to hear your comments

CARAVANNERS will be heading for the open road in their thousands this Easter weekend, posing a "real problem" for motorists, an insurance company claimed yesterday.

A new survey found that nearly a quarter of caravan owners break the law, with many not knowing about the different rules for driving while towing.

However, an outraged Caravan Club representative insisted that an official study had cleared its members of holding up traffic, and described the survey's findings as "irresponsible scaremongering".

And the AA Motoring Trust also came to their defence, pointing out that caravanners were far less likely to speed than the ordinary driver, and that the biggest threat to road safety came from motorists becoming impatient behind them.

It warned that caravan-related road- rage cases and erratic driving frequently occur during the busy Easter driving period. An estimated 17 million vehicles were on the road over Easter weekend last year.

A survey of 2,370 people by Privilege Insurance found that nine per cent of drivers towing caravans, trailers and boats have illegally driven at more than 60mph on a motorway and seven per cent have used the outside lane of the motorway, which is also against the law. A further seven per cent have not fixed their registration number on the back of the towed vehicle.

Ian Parker, the managing director of Privilege Insurance, said: "It is clear from our research that caravans and other towed objects are proving to be a real problem on Britain's roads.

"Towed objects can be dangerous in their own right, as well as distracting for other drivers, if driven without due care.

"Therefore, it is vital that all road users pay attention to the vehicles around them and give those motorists who are towing extra room on the roads and avoid the temptation to overtake when it is not safe to do so."

But while about a tenth of caravan drivers break the speed limit, statistics for the general public are far worse, according to the AA Motoring Trust head of road policy, Paul Watters.

A recent government report found that more than half of cars on motorways and 48 per cent of cars on dual carriageways break the speed limit. "So the fact that only 10 per cent of caravan drivers speed is actually pretty good," Mr Watters said.

He added that motorists should focus on their own driving: "Caravanners are a certain breed, but they are very responsible people, on the whole. They are certainly not a safety hazard in their own right.

"Loads of people really despise them because they take up a lot of space. They do bring about irritation and anger among other drivers and that's the biggest safety threat. For motorists, patience is a virtue. If you are stuck behind a caravan, put on some soothing music and think about your destination rather than the immediate problem. A safe journey is always worth the extra five minutes."

Mr Watters acknowledged that some caravan drivers may be unaware of the instability of their towed homes, causing distraction to other drivers.

"With caravans it is a question of experience of driving. Most caravan drivers are not like a lorry driver who is on the roads for a living," he said.

The Caravan Club, which represents nearly a million caravan owners in the UK and offers training courses for caravan drivers, pointed to government statistics that less than one per cent of all notifiable accidents involve caravans.

Nick Lomas, the club's marketing director, said: "The Highways Agency carried out a series of trials on the M5 last year and it was proven that caravans are not to blame for holding up traffic - in fact poor driver lane-discipline was shown to be the culprit.

"Information from a survey not borne out of safety facts and records is irresponsible and scaremongering.

"Negative and unbalanced reports of this nature also harm the reputation of caravanners when in fact they are vital to the tourism mix - investing around half a billion pounds each year into local economies."

Caravans have long irked motorists, who say they cause delays and are eyesores when stationary.

In January, a councillor from West Dorset District Council excused himself from a meeting to discuss plans to extend a holiday park after admitting he hated caravans.

This article: http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=562182006

Last updated: 13-Apr-06 0
 
Jan 2, 2006
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Well that just about sums up how biased against caravans people can be when they rely on info from a survey,from personal experience if you phrase the questions a certain way you will always get a negative response.For example if you ask 'have you ever been held up by a caravan? the majority will reply yes but fail to expand and say that the caravan itself was in a line of cars perhaps held up by a lorry.

I dont understand why they have such a downer on us when we are such a large number that keep many thousands in work making vans running sites etc and contribute to the local economy of the area around sites and due to the higher fuel consumption when towing put more money in the Governments coffers.
 
Jun 23, 2005
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I personaly think most people who share our hobby are very responsible. Making sure their vehicals and caravans are in a good state of repair and fit for the purpose.

Most caravaners stick to speed limits and are very curtious to other road users.

Gvt stats show we dont hold up traffic and reported accident stats show that our involvement in RTA's is below average compared to solo drivers etc.

I think our clubs and magazines should be doing more to involve the media to show that we are responsible drivers and owners in the majority. That far from being anti-social that we are very socilaly aware throughout the uk and europe bringing our hard earned cash to local communities.

so come on how to we raise our positive profile and change this uk negative view of us. In holland france germany caravaners dont get this bad press
 
Mar 14, 2005
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2 years ago I was on the M54 heading for Telford in my old Volvo with the van on the back. The Volvo is well past its best but managed to maintain 55mph in the inside lane, dropping to about 50 on any incline. This is a 2 lane motorway at this point and an HGV decided to pull out in to the outside lane presumably to overtake me. I carefully maintained my speed but he didnt seem to have the power to get by but just sat there, blocking the motorway for what seemed like ages. Eventually a small car pulled out to overtake (I think having overtaken the HGV on the inside). I saw all this in my mirror so it was difficult to tell exactly what happened and I dont know if he touched the HGV or just lost control but the car suddenly shot across the outside lane, hit the central barrier and then disappeared backwards in to the inside lane and out of my view. So the question is whos fault was it? Was it my fault for going too slowly, or the HGV for blocking the motorway or did the car drive get frustrated stuck behind us and take a risk, and if so was that his fault for not controlling his temper or ours for causing his frustration? I am not sure but I did feel that if I hadnt been there the accident wouldnt have happened so perhaps I should share the blame. Jim.
 
Aug 30, 2005
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You don't need to be towing anything to be a crap or slow driver, that comes naturally.

2wks ago we were driving up the M27 towing the 'van and had to overtake lorries AND cars in the slow lane holding us up and we weren't speeding!

My husband does part-time coach driving and in the past was an HGV driver, as well as having towed a trailer with racing car for many years, so I think after all these years like very many others caravanners he's more than capable of towing our caravan!

SOD 'EM THAT's WHAT I SAY!!!!!!!
 
Jun 23, 2005
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Most certinely not your fault jim and not the fault of the HGV either by the sounds of things although he should have not attemted to overtake you if he did not have the power and should have pulled back in as soon as he realised this. sounds like frustration again on the part of the car driver its not worth taking a risk and driving irresponsibly for the sake of 5 mins off your journey. dosent sound like you should feel any responsibility for the incident u describe.

martin
 
Jan 19, 2008
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It certainly wasn't your fault, you had every right to be there, it was both the HGV driver and cars fault. The HGV driver for being selfish when it was obvious he didn't have the power to get past and the car driver for being a moron trying to overtake the lorry on the inside. He/she got their just deserts, hopefully they didn't cause injuries to other innocents. Whilst travelling along the A30 dual carriageway recently a lorry tried to overtake another. It was a good 4 miles they were alongside each other, it was as if they were doing it for a laugh. The one driver wouldn't relent and in the end the overtaking lorry had to pull back in. The tailback was horrendous. I'm sure we've all see it though, the 2 lane A42/M42 was notorious for its tailbacks from lorries overtaking others while doing 2 mph more, then they suddenly coming to an incline. It just causes a knock on effect until 2 miles back behind vehicles are braking and even coming to a stop. Thats what was happening at Avonmouth on the M5 but we got the blame initially.
 
Jan 2, 2006
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Sitting here I can see the section of the M42 refered to however for 18months they are carrying out an experiment for the 2-3 mile uphill stretch lorries are banned from the outside lane,a bit like in France.
 
Jun 23, 2005
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aye Ray im gonna have a wee boycott myself not that i would change my insurance anyway as im happy getting a staff discount throught my wife (we get nowt in the prison service)But get the feeling they are definetly anti-caravan
 
Nov 6, 2005
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When asked if they'd (ever) exceeded the 60mph limit on motorways, just 9% of towers said yes - if they'd asked solo drivers if they'd (ever) exceeded the 70mph motorway limit then 99% would say yes!

Only 4% of towers had had accidents, mostly with horseboxes!

The fact that insurers DON'T increase the premium for towers indicates that, in general, insurers regard towers as safer than solo drivers - they wouldn't reduce premiums even if they could!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I have often noticed that when traffic reports are given out on the radio, snide remarks are made by the announcer should any of the problems involve a caravan.

I for one am very conscious of my presence on the road when I have my caravan hitched up and therefore try and travel at times which cause the least amount of inconvenience to other road users.

Also in the last month I have spent the "thick end" of five hundred quid having both car and caravan serviced.

I don't like being lumped in with the minority who do give caravanning a bad name.

Vic
 
Mar 14, 2005
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At the end of the day, a caravan being towed irrespective of the speed it is trvelling will always be deemed to hold some plonker up. Caravans , tractors , hgvs , will always be criticised and be labelled as problems, but when the plonkers come up behind a trailer carrying a racing car, or get behind a line of classic or vintage cars on a run their opinions change because they were different to look at, unlike a bland caravan or rear of hgv trailer, they dont block their view of the road ahead.Holidays for these people revolve around passports and they dont give two hoots about vanners, so in my opinion " what goes around comes around".
 
G

Guest

I agree with the comments submitted and also recognise that when I am towing the van I become a 'target' for any frustrated driver who wants to have a 'go'. I, like most of us, drive sensibly and attempt to minimise any inconvenience to others but know that it is becoming an increasing difficult task.

It is partly due to cars becoming more efficient and faster. Even the average 'mini' car will happily exceed 90 mph, something unheard off even a decade ago. In addition the lifestyle of many people, especially of the lower than 50 age group, has also changed to a more selfish and a 'give me it now' scenario due to being bombarded by advertising. This is reflected in driving standards which have also deteriorated in both car and commercial vehicle drivers. Tolerance is now a rarity and the requirement to get 'that one car ahead' seems to be almost an addiction. I feel things will get worse, rarther than better, and traing/information etc is going to have zero affect. People like to blame anyone apart from themselves, and we just happen to be a soft target.

One thing that may help in my opinion, is for the speed limit on normal A roads to be raised from 50mph to 60mph in line with motorways. I admit that I am sometimes found to be towing at between 50 and 60 on normal roads to keep up with the flow of traffic.
 

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