How to avoid caravan snaking

Written by Jack Penfold on 20th November 2018

Snaking can occur when a caravan becomes destabilised from its towing vehicle, thus resulting in the unit veering or swaying side to side.

A potentially highly dangerous and scary incident, snaking usually happens as a result of sudden or sharp swerving, strong crosswinds or travelling at high speeds. It can also happen when a tyre blows or if the caravan is overloaded. Although thankfully relatively uncommon, an occurrence of this nature can be the cause of a serious accident as well as major disruption to others on the road.

Good towing practice is essentially the first step to prevent snaking. Ensuring that your caravan is loaded correctly is vital due to the fact that an unevenly loaded unit is far more likely to sway. You must also make sure that the nose of your caravan isn’t overloaded.

Next you should check that the tyre pressure is correct on both your caravan and towing vehicle. For more information on this please refer to CaSSOA’s caravan tyres guide.

With travelling at high speed and the passing of larger vehicles being major causes of snaking, towing mirrors are an essential accessory as they alert a driver to approaching vehicles so that they can slow down in plenty of time. Regarding your speed, you need to make sure that you always tow within the legal limit and take into account adverse weather conditions like heavy rain or high winds.

Fitting an appropriate safety device is also recommended and can often result in a discount on your touring caravan insurance premium. Electronic anti-snaking stabilisers – available from experts such as AL-KO and Bulldog – will automatically apply the caravan brakes if a snaking movement is detected. Newer caravans are likely to be fitted with a device of this type as standard.

Here’s what to do if your caravan starts to snake:

  1. Try your best to position your caravan in the road in order to create a “safe zone” that will prevent others from overtaking.
  2. Slow down gently and as much as possible, ensuring that you take your foot off the accelerator and let the caravan fall back into place behind behind the towing vehicle.
  3. You must avoid trying to steer out of the situation in an attempt to correct the movement.
  4. Pull over as soon as it is safe to do so and activate your hazard warning lights.
  5. Try to find out exactly what caused the snaking incident and rectify this before driving off again.

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