AutoTrader Editorial Director Erin Baker said that over 2 million people celebrate holidays in leisure vehicles in the UK each year, which makes it unsurprising that enquiries and sales for motorhomes and caravans increased due to the pandemic. This is also the reason why the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) carried out trailer and caravan safety checks as part of their campaign. Along with the increase in sales of leisure vehicles was the growth of leisure batteries for sale this year. Leisure batteries are crucial components for any leisure vehicle as they are capable of powering essential electric appliances for extended periods.
A total of 2,282 caravans and trailers were checked between September 2019 and January 2021. The DVSA found that many were experiencing problems with key safety features like broken or malfunctioning lights, breakaway cable problems for towing, brake issues, and illegal tyres.
The organisation claims that 17% of caravans are unsafe, prompting the safety checks this summer. About one in six caravans posed as a threat to the road and had serious safety problems; whilst almost half of all small trailers that were checked by the roadside has potentially dangerous issues.
Before the summer, it was predicted that 11 million Britons would hit the road on the bank holiday weekend. The actual data is yet to be disclosed as of this writing, but the number was likely achieved due to a large number of Brits forgoing travelling abroad for another summer.
According to Mark Winn, DVSA Chief Driving Examiner, the agency’s priority is to protect owners of caravans and make Britain’s roads much safer, especially for trailers. He said that while it is a great thing to see trailers on the road again, those who need to tow a trailer need to keep safety in mind and #towsafe4freddie.
This campaign was based on the accident that involved three-year-old Freddie Hussey when a trailer became unhitched near his home in 2014. It has the acronym ‘SAFE’, which stands for:
- Service – get a safety check and visit the garage regularly.
- Air in tyres – check the pressure, tread depth, condition, and age as often as possible.
- Fit the safety chain or breakaway cable and check all of your vehicle’s electrical connections.
- Examine the lights, mirrors, and weight limits, and always conduct a jockey wheel test.
Since many caravans have been left parked over the winter, the agency is encouraging drivers who are new to towing or have not been towing for quite a while to check their caravans. Checking the leisure battery in particular is crucial, as vehicle batteries tend to break down when left unused for long periods. Ensuring that the battery is in good working condition lets leisure vehicle owners go on trips without worrying about suddenly losing power.
In a survey by the RAC of 1,100 licence holders, they found that before the bank holiday, 7.2 million trips were planned to visit friends and families. According to the survey, more than 2 million people were planning to take a journey on Saturday alone, which was projected to be the busiest day of the holiday. The research also showed that because of the reduction of Covid cases, motorists have become more confident in travelling and driving long distances to visit friends and families. Only one in ten drivers were not planning any trips prior to the bank holiday because of the pandemic.
The DVSA started the caravan and trailer check on Friday of that week but they also put spot checks in different areas across the UK during the summer because people are looking to spend their holidays and vacations closer to home due to the pandemic.
These roadside checks take around about 20 minutes each. If the caravan or trailer is found to be unfit or unsafe, the driver would be barred from driving the vehicle as long as the defect remains unfixed.
A Surge in Sales
Motorhome sales increased by 148% year-on-year according to AutoTrader, and the searches for caravans have increased by 117% in April 2021 compared to April 2020. Campervans had similar sales in the past few months.
In addition, according to Volkswagen Financial Services, finance agreements for Volkswagen California increased by 621% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the first quarter of 2020.
This implies that more and more UK residents are choosing these vehicles not just for holiday trips but also for day-to-day tasks.
A Security Threat to Motorhomes
In a survey, it was found that most motorhomes and campervans had an alarming lack of security devices and were not equipped with good systems to deter thieves. It was also found that these vehicles did not have any tracking devices at all, and only half had equipped their vehicles with alarm systems.
Trackers are subscription-based devices that range from £60 to £700. These can be monitored in real-time using GPS or high-frequency waves using dedicated devices. This technology has been used extensively in luxury cars over recent years.
In the same survey, it was found that just 4% of passenger cars had trackers, whilst the percentage is higher for more expensive cars.
This is Money claims that motorhomes account for over £1 million worth of stolen and recovered assets last year. Having a tracker on these vehicles increases the likelihood of recovery in the event that they get stolen.
Get the Best Leisure Battery Deals Today
To ensure that your motorhome, campervan, or trailer is roadworthy, you need to perform the necessary maintenance regularly. If the battery has been showing signs of dying, then it is time to replace it.
When you purchase today before the 3 pm cut-off time, we will deliver the battery to you the working next day at no extra charge.
All our batteries are backed by a lifetime warranty to guarantee their quality and performance. For any enquiries, get in touch with us today at 01772 348317.