Helpful caravan reversing tips to get you on site and level. This frequently requested advice may save your holiday and your marriage.
You have finally arrived at your long-awaited destination and you get that sinking feeling. The site you have been allocated is not a drive-thru site and you have to reverse your rig into position. You get out of the car to get a better look at the site and contemplate the difficult task of manoeuvring your van onto a small site. You will need to be accurate to get the van neatly aligned with the slab and to avoid a bingle with the tap and power boxes. And then you get that feeling you are being watched. Of course you are being watched! There is no better caravan park sport than watching newcomers test their skills and relationships with the task of getting on site.
Reversing a van is (ideally) a two person job. One guide and one driver. The most difficult job is not being the driver… it is being the guide. The driver has to follow directions. The guide is the person making the judgements and communicating them!
- Communication is key to avoid an ugly yelling scene. Before you leave home, decide on and practice a set of clear hand signals so that the guide can communicate to the driver silently. The things a guide will need to communicate silently are directions for the van to go (left and right), stop, go forwards, keep coming and a reference of how much space is left before the driver needs to stop.
- Make a plan. Before you attempt to manoeuvre, stop and get out of the car. Look at the site, observe how level the site is, where the utilities are located and decide where you want the van to end up. Mark out a line on the ground for the back of the van or take a visual line off of a nearby object. Both driver and guide need to be clear on the plan.
- Guiding the way. The guide will need to position themselves where they can see the back of the van and critically where they can see the driver (and the driver can see the guide’s hand signals) at all times. This involves a lot of moving as the guide. The guide will also be watching for tree branches as these are a common cause of damage.
- Don’t be afraid to have a second (third or fourth) go at it. Even the pros sometimes need a couple of cracks at reversing to get into position. As much as you may feel under pressure from onlookers, there is no prize for being the fastest van on site. There is however, smug satisfaction in working as a team and quietly reversing on site perfectly.
- Get it level! In our experience you almost always need to use chocks to level one or both sides of your van. Once you have reversed your van into place use a two-way level. The guide can mark out where the wheels are and place the chocks next to the wheels that need lifting. The guide can then signal for the driver to roll forwards and reverse again when the chocks have been put in place.
- Make it easy to see with good gear – We recommend having a reversing camera installed on the van. An investment in better visibility may save you a fortune in repair costs for an unintended collision. The other top investment you can make in visibility is Clearview mirrors for your vehicle. Clearview mirrors are much larger than standard mirrors, they are extendable and easily positioned.
At the RV Service Centre we stock and install reversing cameras for your caravan and we are authorised installers for ClearView Mirrors. View our range in store or call us to discuss the best options for your rig.