Southport Reporter (R) Online Nespaper for Merseyside

Read our Tracking & Cookie Usage Policy


Terms and Conditions

Southport and  Mersey Reporter -  Your free online newspaper service covering the Merseyside region - (Greater Liverpool).
Covering the news in and around Merseyside


Click on here to email our news room today!



Your free online newspaper for Merseyside
This website is licence to carry news from and UK Press Photography.



Latest Edition



Order Photos  Help Client Admin Advert Options

Updated news stories weekly.  Published online only late every Thursday Evening.

Your online newspaper.   Your words.

Issue:- 24 July 2014

Are you 'Fit to Tow' in the North West this summer?

PEOPLE driving in the North West are being urged to help cut the number of towing-related incidents on motorways and major A-roads this summer by checking their caravan or trailer before setting out.

There were 340 towing-related incidents in the North West recorded on Highways Agency roads between July and September in 2013 and 2,415 incidents nationally, each potentially causing long delays and distress to those involved. But many of these incidents could have been avoided if a few simple checks had been carried out, particularly where the caravan or trailer had not been used since the previous year.

Highways Agency Service Delivery Manager Andy Withington says:- "The vast majority of caravanners and people who tow are safe and responsible drivers – however we do see a big peak in caravan and towing incidents during the summer, many of which could be avoided if drivers had carried out a few simple checks.  If a car is off the road for months it's common sense to check it is roadworthy before taking it back out and we strongly urge people to do the same with their trailers and caravans."

Frequent causes of incidents include overloading the caravan or trailer, a mismatch with the towing vehicle, tyres which have burst because they have not been checked or replaced where needed and poor towing technique.

The Highways Agency advises anyone towing a caravan or trailer to:-

►  Carry out a final maintenance check before setting off – particularly if it has been left over the winter pay particular attention to the condition and pressure of the tyres on both the towed and towing vehicle.

►  Check that loads in the towed and towing vehicle are secure, that the weight is evenly distributed and is not excessive.

►  Be aware of how towing affects the vehicle's performance – particularly braking distances.

►  Use extended mirrors when towing wider trailers, such as caravans, to ensure clear and legal visibility of the trailer and of other vehicles on the road.

►  Check they have an appropriate driving licence for the vehicle and trailer combination.

►  Know the correct speed limit for the vehicle and roads.

►  Make sure they have proper breakdown cover in place.

►  Check your number plate is properly attached and correct!

►  Check your driving licence!  If you passed your car test before 1 January 1997 you are generally entitled to drive a vehicle and trailer, but do check. If you passed after that date, the licence rules changed. Click here for more information.

►  Drivers towing boats in particular should take care to keep the hubs of their trailers out of cold water, as this can stop the grease working and lead to failed bearings. 

The Agency works closely with the Caravan Club, the Camping and Caravanning Club and the British Horse Society to promote safety messages to people who tow vehicles and trailers. Martin Spencer and Ian Hewlett from The Caravan Club says:- "The overwhelming majority of incidents involving caravans are readily avoidable if drivers check their car and caravan's condition and loading before setting off and observe the speed limits for towed vehicles. Correctly used, caravans are safe and straightforward to tow, and provide fantastic, trouble-free holidays. The Club provides a wealth of advice and information to help caravanners avoid problems, and works with the Highways Agency and other bodies to promote safe caravanning."

Ian Hewlett for the the Camping and Caravanning Club added:- "Ensuring your tow vehicle and trailer are in a roadworthy condition are important steps for every driver, leave yourself plenty of time before your trip to check and rectify any problems. If you're going on a long journey plan regular breaks to help you to remain fit to tow."

Sheila Hardy from the British Horse Society says:- "We all want to transport ourselves and our animals safely. Breaking down; or worse; on a busy road is stressful for both drivers and horses, so we should do all we can to avoid finding ourselves in that situation.  We encourage everyone to follow the Highways Agency's advice and go to:- for more specialist information."

Congestion on the strategic road network is estimated to cost the economy £3 billion each year, 25% of which is caused by incidents. In 2013, there were 5,480 incidents involving caravans and trailers on the Highways Agency's network of motorways and major A-roads.

Over 4,000 of these; almost 75% of such incidents; happened between April and September. During autumn and winter, 1.4% of all incidents involve caravans and trailers. During spring and summer; this increases to 2.6% of all incidents.

The Agency encourages all drivers to plan their journeys and provides a full range of services to help with this. It has produced several sources of information about safe towing, including downloadble magazines and videos, all available on the Highways Agency's
website.  Highways Agency traffic officers will be at service stations across England this weekend sharing advice on safe towing and journey planning, as well as being on hand to deal with any incidents on the motorway network.

News Report Page Quick Flick.

Click on here to go back to this week's home page! News Report Page Quick Flick
Click on this section to see last weeks edition of Southport and Mersey Reporter!

Our radio station phone in message line...   Call us now!

Sign up today for our daily email news service!

Sign up to our Daily Email News Service by clicking here now...

QLocal a for you. Did you know we where the UK's first online only newspaper and we still are?  Here at Southport and Mersey Reporter  we are still at  leading the way for local news.

All email addresses and information is held under the UK's Data Protection Act.

Highlighted events that are taking place this month:-

If you have an event and want to get it noticed, let us know by emailing us to:-

Click on the event title displayed above to find out about lots more events, as well as dates & times!

Our websites in our online series.   Group navigation, information and useful none group links...
Southport TV - Our online video archive. Liverpool Reporter - Our online music station. Mersey Reporter - OUR HUB WEBSITE.
Southport TV Liverpool Reporter Mersey Reporter Formby Reporter

Add to Google

This is what the moon is doing tonight.  Click on to find out why.

See the view live webcamera images of the road outside our studio/newsroom in the hart of Southport.

Our live Southport Webcam.  To see click live, click on image.


Show us your location
Please sign our map and let us know where you are  from....


News Room Phone Number

(+44)  08443 244 195
Calls will cost 7p per minute, plus your telephone company's access charge. 

Calls to this number may be recorded for security, broadcast, training and record keeping.

This online newspaper and information service is regulated by IMPRESS, the independent monitor for the UK's press.

How to make a complaint

Complaints Policy  -  Complaints Procedure  -  Whistle Blowing Policy

© PCBT Photography & PBT Media Relations Ltd. - Southport Reporter® is the Registered Trade Mark of Patrick Trollope