Stabiliser vs. No Stabiliser
This is a discussion that most of us have had one time or another in the campsites and caravan parks around our country. On the one side, you normally find the “experienced” caravanner who has towed all his life without a stabiliser and has never experienced any problems. On the other side, you normally have mister “safety gadget” that will try anything, if he thinks it will make life easier or safer for him and his family.
Let’s look at their arguments from both sides.
As in all spheres of life, there are constant advances made in the motor and caravanning industries. What sounded like an impossibility ten years ago is suddenly seen as normal procedure today. (Who would have thought that a standard diesel sedan, under test conditions, would be able to tow a mid range caravan at nearly 170km/h, albeit fitted with a stabiliser?) Such advances necessarily also demand advances in safety, like ABS brakes, stiffer suspension etc, which is normally enough to satisfy the non-stabiliser fan.
The stabiliser fan is normally worried about external factors upsetting the apple cart, or in this case, the caravan.
Our roads today are the train tracks of yesteryear and it is not uncommon to find a huge fifty ton freight truck passing a caravan at more than 130 km/h, buffeting the side of the caravan with its bow wave of air and turning the driver into a white knuckled stress ball! If the caravan should then be pushed onto the shoulder of the road and cut up and seriously damage a tyre, only the experienced of the “experienced” will be able to safely stop the car without landing up in the veldt or worse - rolling the caravan.
What the stabiliser fan will tell you, is that in such a scenario, the stabiliser will not only greatly reduce the effect of the bow wave on your caravan, but will also help maintain directional stability of the tow vehicle, reducing the chances of a cut or damaged tyre and thereby making the incident a lot less dangerous than what it would have been, had you not had the stabiliser fitted.
Most of today’s stabiliser users where once “experienced” caravanners, who have had a bad experience or realized, in time, that technology can be used to make towing more enjoyable and ultimately – a lot safer.
Mr Len Booysen.