War Memorial Gary Trouton

Letter to the Editor

November 2006

Graham lets off steam about caravand and their inconsiderate owners.

Dear Ray,

I feel that I must write to you to let off some of the steam that built up in me on a trip from Diss back to Stoke Ferry. I was third in a queue of cars behind a 4 X 4 towing a huge caravan that, at no stage, exceeded 45 mph (average speed I would put at 37 - 40 mph). It was impossible to pass the caravan anywhere which meant that, by the time we arrived at the Whittington roundabout, there was a trail of vehicles behind at least half a mile long, with some very irate drivers.

Caravans and their owners have been my bete noirs for many years, since the children were small and we had to drive to Scotland three times a year. Once we came off the M6 and onto the A74 (now motorway status) life became untenable. The endless queues due to caravans plus them taking up all the lay-bys built in me an instinctive loathing.

I appreciate that everybody has a right to travel like a tortoise in this way so something must be done to try and alleviate the suffering for other road-users. Firstly, I cannot understand why motorists should not have to pay an additional tax to pull a "van". They take up more road space and should be, quite justifiably, a nice little earner for the Exchequer. Secondly, I don't know whether there is a table of vehicles allowed to tow difference weights of caravans, but there certainly should be. We have seen completely unsuitable cars towing hug "vans", giving them little power for travelling at reasonable speeds as well as being as being totally unable to overtake other slow-moving traffic such as tractors. My latest was 1.8 Ford Focus pulling a very large Eldiss. So, the Government should draw up a schedule of vehicle power to caravan weight that should be strictly adhered to. And thirdly, caravan "tow-ers" should undergo an additional test to ensure they are fit to drive pulling another "vehicle". Palpably, many of them are not and who has not collapsed in mirth at the sight of a driver attempting to reverse his "van" into a parking spot? Drivers of articulated lorries have to take an additional HGV test so why not caravan owners?

Well, I'm glad I've got that off my chest, but I have always felt strongly in this matter, and Norfolk is a county where the problem is exacerbated by there being so few dual carriageways. I am sure that I have upset many people and, if so, please write to the "Pump" and tell me where I am wrong.

Yours sincerely,

Graham Forster

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