Caravan mirrors and cameras - how important are they?

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To be compliant with the law, anyone towing a caravan must be able to see 20 metres behind them and four metres either side of the towed outfit. In order to meet this requirement, almost all vehicles will need additional towing mirrors and could benefit from fitting a camera.

According to a recent survey carried out by Club Care Insurance on caravan forum Caravan Talk, 95% of caravanners have towing mirrors fitted to their vehicles to ensure they comply with this law. The remaining 5% may be driving vans or larger vehicles that allow them to see this distance without mirrors, but it is possible that they are breaking the law - and potentially risking their lives and those of fellow road users - without realising.

The Caravan Safety and Security Group (CSSG) have warned that “many drivers wrongly believe that because they are towing with substantial 4x4 vehicles, these mirrors are not required. When police check caravan outfits, one of the most common problems they find is a lack of towing mirrors - something that could potentially cost you more than the price of the mirrors.”

Since January 2010 the law on towing mirrors has also changed, and now states that all new cars and motorhomes registered since this date must carry the ‘e-mark’ indicating that they comply with EEC regulation 2003/97 (in the EU) or UNECE Regulation 46.01 or 46.02 (in the United Nations). 

If you are one of the 5% who need to invest in caravan mirrors, or need to upgrade as a result of the new legislation, the information below should help you choose the right caravan towing mirror for you, just remember to check the number below the e-mark (explained below) to ensure that it meets the new legislation.

Towing caravan

 



How to check if your mirrors comply with the new law

The advice from CSSG and The Camping and Caravanning Club is to ensure that your towing mirrors meet the EEC regulation regardless of the registration date of your vehicle, as this provides assurance that your unit is as safe as possible. If your mirror is compliant it will have a label on it similar to one of these below:

EEC regulation

  • eec-regThe Roman numeral number indicates the class of mirror (eg small, large or wide angle)
  • The lower case ‘e’ demonstrates that the mirror meets the prior-2010 regulation
  • The number following the ‘e’ represents the country that the mirror was tested in - 11 is the UK’s number, but all numbers are accepted by law
  • The number below is the approval number and begins with 01, 02 or 03 - 03 is the approval number representing the 2010 compliance, so this is what you need to be looking for.

UNECE Regulation

  • unece regThe Roman numeral number indicates the class of mirror (eg small, large or wide angle)
  • The upper case ‘E’ demonstrates that the mirror me

    ets the prior-2010 regulation
  • The number following the ‘E’ represents the country that the mirror was tested in - 11 is the UK’s number, but all numbers are accepted by law
  • The number below is the approval number and begins with 01, 02 or 03 - 02 is the approval number representing the 2010 compliance, so this is what you need to be looking for.

Types of caravan towing mirror

towing mirror

Most towing mirrors fix onto your existing car mirror as these tend to be the cheapest and most popular option. There are a number of fixing methods, including suction, strap and clamp, with advantages and disadvantages to them all.

Some caravanners have reported a better fit with the suction mirrors, and less vibration when travelling at high speeds, but this fitting will also obstruct the view you get from the existing mirror.

It is advisable to visit your local caravan dealer who should be able to provide a few different towing mirrors for you to look at before you buy.

Caravan cameras

In addition to towing mirrors, rear view cameras can also be fitted to provide a better view behind the caravan. Of the caravanners surveyed by Club Care, 11% said they have a rear-view camera fitted alongside their mirrors.

Cameras can be particularly useful when in heavy traffic or when changing lanes as they will provide a view of what’s directly behind the caravan, in addition to what is either side. They can either be wired or wireless, and involve a camera being fitted to the rear of the caravan with a receiver in the front showing the view.

Remember that a caravan camera cannot be a replacement for the towing mirrors required by law, and the two should be used together for maximum effect and legal compliance.

It isn’t just complying with the law that makes caravan mirrors and cameras so important, they are vital for safety too. In fact, when surveyed by Club Care, 28% of caravanners said they can remember an occasion when having a caravan towing mirror or camera fitted actively prevented an accident. So, make sure you get yours now if you haven’t already!

How towing mirrors impact your insurance

If you are involved in an accident that was your fault and caused by not having the required vision then this would invalidate your insurance and prevent your insurance company from paying your claim.

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