Doing What May Seem Opposite
Have you been back-and-forth in wide arcs trying to get that caravan, camper or trailer into the perfect spot? Or perhaps you want to get somewhere near it. If so, then you may get something out of this Camp and Travel Tip.
First thing is to STOP
First things first – STOP! Take a deep breath. We all have good and bad days reversing – especially after a long day’s travelling. Sometimes too, the planets just don’t align or perhaps the fact that neighbouring campers have come out in their droves to watch you – vying for the best seat in the house on camp chairs with beers in hand.
The right way to reverse is…
Of course, everyone will offer different thoughts – each is the gospel truth (to them).
Treat the Steering Wheel as a Clock
After you’ve figured out where you want to end up, and how you’re going to go about it, take a long hard look at the steering wheel in the straight ahead position.
Next, divide that steering wheel (in your mind) into quarters so that there’s a 3 o’clock, a 6 o’clock and a 9 o’clock.
Check your position on the steering wheel
Place one hand on the steering wheel in the 6 o’clock position.
Now trust me on the following and commit it to memory:
• If you want the rear of the trailer to move to the RIGHT – move your hand to the RIGHT.
• If you want the rear of the trailer to move to the LEFT – move your hand to the LEFT.
If you’re just doing simple manoeuvring straight back and you’re already straight, you shouldn’t have to turn the steering wheel past the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions.
More complex turns
More complex turns will require bigger turns – but be sure not to make them so tight for so long that you effectively run over the trailer – jack-knifing it.
If you are at risk of getting too tight, STOP again and drive forward to reposition yourself and perhaps approach it from another angle.
It may pay to point out that shorter trailers are more responsive (touchy), to your manoeuvring. Longer trailers (or campers with their axles way back) are more sympathetic. Tandem axle trailers can be a little more stubborn when turning as you fight the scuffing tyres.
Don’t blow your stack
In closing, perhaps the most important thing to remember is to keep your cool. Get out and have a look around – if only to let off steam.
Having a second (third or fourth or maybe tenth) go at the reverse will give you far more ‘Hero Status’ than a major stuff up with damage to the trailer or car. (Or tree, or bollard, or power pole or power box or the neighbour’s car or van etc etc).
Oh…. and be prepared for those people who come out of their tents and caravans to watch; and they will. You’ll do it too – sometime.
Be prepared too for those who offer to move their cars AFTER your 76th attempt.
At the same time, accept help if it’s offered and don’t be afraid to ask people to move their cars if needed.
Keep safe and have fun.