Safety paramount as caravan boom attracts new followers
Australia’s population is ageing continually and the numbers of elderly citizens with extra leisure time on their hands is growing accordingly. This band of mature fun-seekers have sought out travel as one of their premier pastimes. The retired getaways have even earned a branding name for themselves – the grey nomads.
The urge for our seasoned hipsters to hit the road in their twilight years has seen an upsurge in the use of mobile homes and caravans as the preferred means of transport. It might not be as radical or freewheeling as Peter Fonda’s Wyatt and Dennis Hopper as Billy on their revved-up motor bikes in the film Easy Rider, but it still brings a sense of freedom that the oldies can do their own thing and clock up the kilometres when and where they want.
However, the seemingly genteel form of road transport provided by a caravan being towed by a car comes with unforeseen perils. Specifically, do the patrons who are setting out on their adventure actually know what they are doing? Driving a car is one thing, but taking up your place behind the wheel with a huge, attached vehicle at the rear is a far more taxing assignment than it might at first appear.
Australia is renowned for its vast distances which can involve assorted road surfaces, sapping climatic conditions, extreme temperatures as well as erratic animals on the loose. Against this background, it is no wonder that new inexperienced caravanners can be a danger to themselves and other road users. An unfortunate offshoot of this increase in traffic is a corresponding rise in the number of accidents involving caravan folk.
To curb this worrying trend caravan owners need to instill themselves with a mixture of awareness and common sense. If caravanners are able to realise what causes accidents, they can go some way to preventing them before they happen. Prevention is always better that reaction.
Some of the rules that drivers should adhere to are simplicity itself. There is also the nagging need that eager retirees should acquaint themselves with some of the proper skills required to handle a caravan. Some people have even called for mandatory towing courses to be introduced before drivers are allowed out on the highways.