Contrary to what may appear - operating a caravan isn’t only about enjoying the charms and comforts provided by its residential part. Spacious interior made of high quality materials - durable flooring, solid furniture and rich furnishings. That’s not all. No less important are the security issues, especially related to towing.
Driving with a caravan requires a lot more concentration, prediction and fluidity of movement from a driver than when driving a car only. The driver has to be aware of a number of factors determining both his and other road users’ safety. A huge impact on the behavior of towed caravan has its curb weight. The heavier our caravan is, the more we weigh down the engine and the unit of power transmission of the car. During deceleration, in turn, the braking system works twice that hard. Fortunately, only very lightweight structures are devoid of their own braking system - other (heavier) caravans are equipped with an overrun brake.
How does it work?
This piece of equipment of heavier (not only camping) caravans required by law uses the curb weight of the caravan and its inertia. During braking, drawbar of the speeding caravan presses the hook of the car - at this point the overrun brake starts its work. Depending on the solution (tie, hydraulics or levers) rod placed on the drawbar lever assembly starts the braking procedure – brake shoes touch the surface of the drum or pads rub against discs. But we must remember about the delay with which the overrun brake operates with respect to the braking of the vehicle.
In many older caravans equipped with overrun brake, you should block it before reversing - otherwise the brakes may get stuck in the blink of an eye. Newer caravans are equipped with Auto-Reverse Brakes what eliminates the need of getting off the car, every time you want to reverse. Equally important is the regular service of the entire mechanism. A few months winter break is a great time for the development of corrosion that can easily harm the proper operation of the whole system.
Overrun brakes in practice
Towing a caravan with an overrun brake requires the ability of smooth driving. Avoiding abrupt maneuvers or sudden braking we will use the technical properties of the caravan’s braking system to the maximum - without unnecessary overload which can cause uncontrolled skid of the entire set. Increasing the pressure on the brake pedal smoothly and steadily, we will gain time to start the operation of the caravan’s braking system.
Overrun brake increases the safety of traveling with a caravan. Thanks to this, the considerable curb weight of the caravan and its own inertia hinder the operation of the vehicle on the road to a smaller extent.