Even the most experienced of drivers may not have much practice when it comes to driving a bulky box van, or towing a box trailer or enclosed car trailer, but it can be easier than it looks, if you know how. It is simple enough to affix enclosed car trailers to a vehicle and trundle down the road with them, but you may find yourself needing to park up in a spot that is tighter or shorter than you are used to, thanks to the extra bulk of the box van or box trailer!
It can be stressful to try and squeeze a larger vehicle or enclosed car trailer into a parking spot that’s not specifically designed for larger vehicles, especially if you have to reverse into it, as that can be difficult even in a normal car! It’s not as tough if you’re reversing in an open space, say next to where you’ll be pitching up camp, but there are still some pointers to remember.
For the specific scenario of reversing onto your camping pitch, drive past it until the wheels of the caravan or box trailer are just past the outer edge of it. Make sure you can see down the side of the caravan your side, and if you have a passenger with you, get them to jump out and act as another pair of eyes. If you do, make sure to wind your windows down so you can hear their instructions. Start to slowly reverse, but keep in mind that every steering input you make needs to be the opposite of where you’d normally turn. If you want the back of the box van to go to the right, you need to steer left as you’re reversing. The back of the car and the front of the enclosed car trailer will go left, making the back of the trailer or caravan go to the right!
One full turn of lock should be enough, unless the space is really tight. Once you’ve got the trailer or caravan on the right arc as you’re reversing, make sure to slowly take off lock or you will end up jack-knifing your vehicle and trailer. Keep any wheel movements small if you can, as it can be easy to over-magnify movement whilst towing a trailer. You now need to follow through with all the wheels, and make sure to straighten up the towing vehicle and trailer. If you’re trying to get into a tight bay, it’s always better to pull forward and go again than try to fix it and potentially cause damage to your trailer or surroundings.
If you’re seeing too much of your trailer as you’re straightening up, add more lock to follow it harder. As you catch up to it, you will pass the dead centre of your trailer, at which point you can start to reverse straight back by using very small corrections.
It’s not easy to tow enclosed car trailers or caravans, so make sure you practice first in an empty car park or area. You can also ask the vendor or manufacturer for their tips on reversing enclosed car trailers, and they may even give you a demonstration or lesson on how to do it. Different towing vehicles can also come fitted with systems specifically designed to take care of the steering for you while you manage the rest.