The Friday Rant - 17.08.2012

Caravans on the road. There has to be another way. Look, I don't have a problem with caravans and I quite understand that many people want to tow them to wherever they want to go to and have a holiday in them. That's all great, but my problem if you like is with caravans on the roads, and perhaps more specifically the smaller roads. Come on, be honest, how many times have you sat behind a caravan or four on a small country road and fantasised about having some kind of rocket launcher attached to the top of your car that you could use to blow them off the road and actually allow you to drive at something over a snail's pace.............

I was driving on a smallish road the other day and in front of me was some great big caravan being towed by some Chelsea tractor kind of a car. There had to have been twenty other cars behind me most likely all wishing the same thing as me - acquire, aim, fire, disappear !! This caravan's trundling along seemingly oblivious to us lot trapped behind and there's no hope of safely overtaking on a road like this. How many times has this happened to you ? How about the person towing the caravan take the odd look in those great big extended wing mirrors that they usually have, see us lot trapped behind and then kindly pull into a layby and let us pass ? Nope, no way, far easier not to look in those wing mirrors and instead let us all drive at your slow speed and gently come to the boil because Mr or Mrs caravan tower is freely allowed to tow a great big box down a small country road that was never designed to accommodate vehicles like this. And then perhaps caravans going both ways meet down an even narrower country lane and can't get past each other or better still can, but have no idea of the width of their load.

As I said, I have nothing against caravans or the concept of going caravanning, but when you live and drive around a part of the UK that is visited by people coming on holiday, perhaps you are like me and start to have "issues" with caravans being on the roads during the summer months especially. Or perhaps you don't and love being stuck behind drivers who have no idea that you actually exist. And this is about caravans being on the roads, and not stuff like tractors. Farmers driving tractors in my view is just fine. They are going about their working days and more often than not they pull over when they can and let you pass. When did that ever happen to you when you got stuck behind a caravan ? Strikes me that most farmers know how to drive their tractors, but where on earth does this assumption come that all you do is stick a caravan on the back of your car and magically you know all about how to drive with it swerving around behind you ?

Personally I reckon the solution is pretty simple really. Don't allow caravans on the roads during the daytime. Better still, make it law that people can only tow caravans from say midnight to 5am and at no other time at all. OK, so if your caravan-towing journey involved say driving (crawling) from Scrabster to Land's End and you can't make it in five hours, then that's just bad luck. Pull over into some specially set aside caravan parks during daylight hours and watch the rest of us drive on by without getting stuck behind you. And then at midnight you can resume your journey again and block the roads up to your hearts' content. Is that unfair ? Depends on whether you tow caravans or not I suppose. I think it's great that a caravan enables people to go on holiday and visit different places, but nobody in their right mind could ever admit to it being remotely fun when there are loads of them out on the roads. I can't imagine it's ever going to become legal to carry and use rocket launchers on one's car, so until then let's see caravans on our roads only during the dead of night, and my apologies then go out to the night fisherman who's trying to get somewhere specific at a certain stage of tide and now gets stuck behind a convoy of caravans with no hope of ever getting past.....................