Caravanning is an overwhelmingly safe pastime. But caravan accidents do happen from time to time, and there are lessons to be learned from them.
Australian caravan accident data is hard to find, but is currently being gathered by the Caravan Buyers Guide from a range of sources including state police forces and insurance companies for the benefit of both caravan manufacturers and consumers.
The Caravan Buyers Guide includes the following claims data from just one Australian insurance company (CIL Insurance, one of Australia’s largest caravan insurers).
This data applies to the financial year ending June 2013:
Caravan claim numbers:
- Total caravan claims reported: 14,000
- The average age of driver is 63 years old
Most common claim types:
- Storm/Hail/Flood: 29%
- Collision with stationary object: 24%
- Accidental Damage: 10%
- 135 rollover claims for the year
- 80% classified as a total loss
Causes of rollover accidents:
- Lost control on highway 30%
- Wind caught van and lost control 14%
- Hit gravel/verge and lost control 10%
- Overtook third party and lost control 10%
- Lost control on dirt/gravel road 8%
- Wheel fell off caravan/car 6%
- Lost control in rain 6%
- Overtaken by third party & lost control 4%
- Tyre blowout on caravan/car 4%
- Van came off towball 4%
- Mechanical failure 2%
- Swerved to miss animal 2%
According to CIL:
” ‘Lost control’ accounts for 91% of the rollovers and in all of these cases, the van began to fishtail and the driver wasn’t able to bring it back under control. This may indicate that some vans are not set up correctly with stabiliser bars. In a number of cases it appears the driver has panicked when the van began to sway and immediately applied the brakes rather than trying to accelerate out of the problem.
Driver education would go a long way to reducing the number of ‘rollovers’ and ‘lost control’ accidents and should include things such as:
- Recommended towing speed
- What to do if van begins to sway
- How to set up a van correctly for towing
- Ensuring that owner has a vehicle suitable for towing van”
Further caravan accident data will be published here when it becomes available.