Is Your Caravan Overweight? Know the Risks and Stay Safe

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When it comes to caravanning, Gold Coast Caravan Sales believes safety should always be a top priority. One critical aspect of ensuring a safe journey is knowing the weight of your caravan and keeping it within legal limits. Unfortunately, a significant number of caravans on the road are overweight, posing serious risks to both the drivers and other road users; an issue recently reported on by ABC News.

In this article, we will explore the dangers and risks associated with overweight caravans, the implications on insurance, how to determine your caravan’s weight, and what you can do to address the issue.

The Dangers of Overweight Caravans

Towing an overweight caravan is not only illegal but also highly dangerous. The additional weight puts unnecessary strain on your caravan’s chassis and running gear, leading to accelerated wear and tear. Moreover, an overweight and unbalanced caravan can cause instability, resulting in the dreaded “Death Wobbles” where the caravan fishtails behind the tow vehicle. This instability is a leading cause of accidents for caravanners.

Insurance Implications

Insurance Policy

Having insurance coverage for your caravan is crucial, as it provides financial protection in the event of an accident. However, if your insurance company discovers that your caravan was overweight at the time of the incident, they may refuse to pay out your claim, even if you were not at fault. This means you could be left with significant expenses and no compensation for damages.

Determining Your Caravan's Weight

To accurately determine the weight of your caravan, it is recommended to use a weigh bridge. Public weigh bridges, can be found along major highways, at local council depots, and industrial estates. Some weigh bridges are free and self-service, while others may charge a small fee. Although there might be a cost involved, it is a small price to pay compared to potential fines or denied insurance claims. Additionally, weighing your caravan allows you to make informed decisions about what items and accessories you can safely bring along on your journey.

Factors Contributing to Overweight Caravans

Caravans can become overweight due to a variety of factors. It’s not just about the belongings you pack; additional accessories and modifications can also add extra weight. It’s essential to consider all these factors to ensure your caravan remains within the legal weight limits. Here are some common contributors to overweight caravans:

Roll out awning: While a roll out awning provides shade and comfort, it adds to the overall weight of the caravan.

Roll out awning: While a roll out awning provides shade and comfort, it adds to the overall weight of the caravan.

External fold-down tables: These convenient tables can be useful for outdoor dining but should be factored into your weight calculations.

Additional solar panels: Solar panels are a popular addition to caravans, but they do increase the overall weight.

Bike rack carriers and bikes: Carrying bikes on a rack can significantly impact the weight of your caravan.

Satellite TV dish: Enjoying your favorite shows while on the road is great, but it’s important to account for the weight of the satellite TV dish.

Water and storage tanks: Filling up your water tanks and storage compartments can quickly add extra weight. Ensure you distribute the weight evenly to maintain balance.

The Importance of Packing Light

One of the most effective ways to keep your caravan within the legal weight limits is to pack light. Assess your belongings and prioritize only the essentials. Consider the duration of your trip and pack accordingly. Remember, the more weight you carry, the higher the risks associated with towing an overweight caravan. By embracing a minimalist approach, you can enjoy a safer and more comfortable journey.

Educational Campaigns and Weighing Days

Recognizing the severity of the issue, various organizations, including Caravan Queensland and the Queensland government, are conducting educational campaigns to raise awareness about overweight caravans. These campaigns aim to educate caravanners about the risks and provide resources to help them understand the importance of proper loading and towing practices. Weighing days, organized by these institutions, allow caravanners to have their vehicles and caravans weighed by professionals who can provide valuable advice and guidance.

The Rising Popularity of Caravanning

Caravanning has become increasingly popular in Queensland, with a significant rise in registrations over the past five years. However, with the surge in caravanning enthusiasts, there has also been an increase in overweight caravans on the roads. According to the Caravan Trade and Industries Association, an estimated 90% of vehicles towing caravans in Queensland exceed their weight limits. This alarming statistic emphasizes the urgent need for caravanners to understand and address the issue of overweight caravans.

The Role of Caravan Dealers and Manufacturers

Caravan dealers and manufacturers play a crucial role in ensuring that consumers are well-informed about the weight limits and proper loading practices. It is essential for buyers, particularly those new to caravanning, to seek guidance from reputable dealers who can provide accurate information and recommend suitable caravans based on their towing capabilities and intended usage. Manufacturers must also be transparent about the limitations of their vehicles and provide comprehensive guidelines for safe towing.

The Importance of Education and Training

Proper education and training are key to preventing overweight caravans and promoting safe towing practices. Novice caravanners, in particular, should seek out resources and training courses that cover topics such as loading, towing techniques, and understanding weight limits. By investing time in learning and acquiring the necessary skills, caravanners can significantly reduce the risks associated with towing overweight caravans.

Police Enforcement and Road Safety

To address the issue of overweight caravans, Queensland police are increasing their presence on the roads with weighing scales. These enforcement efforts aim to raise awareness and encourage compliance with weight limits. It is essential for caravanners to cooperate with police and understand that these measures are in place to protect everyone on the road. Compliance with weight limits ensures not only personal safety but also the safety of other road users.


Caravanning is a beloved pastime for many, offering the opportunity to explore new places and create lasting memories. However, it is crucial to prioritize safety by ensuring that your caravan is not overweight. By understanding the dangers and risks associated with overweight caravans, determining your caravan’s weight, and adopting proper loading practices, you can enjoy a safe and worry-free caravanning experience. Remember, education, awareness, and responsible towing are the keys to a successful and enjoyable journey.

Stay informed, stay safe, and happy caravanning!