Preparing a caravan for its first trip will introduce you to a number of sophisticated gadgets and appliances, but there’s one simple device that’s oftentimes overlooked in favour of flashier towing accessories – towing mirrors. Towing mirrors may seem like an optimal add-on to your towing setup, but they’re actually far more important than people think. In fact, they’re just as important as a weight distribution system or a towing hitch. Without them, you’ll have no vision of what’s happening behind your caravan, as your vehicle’s side mirrors won’t be able to provide it for you. And if you haven’t manoeuvered a heavily loaded caravan before, you’re going to have a lot of problems doing so without a towing mirror.
Blind spots can be a real hazard when driving in general, and when towing something as large as a caravan, the hazard is magnified. In fact, blind spots are one of the biggest causes of towing-related accidents, which is why safe towing involves accounting for your visibility. Moreover, towing mirrors are mandatory and you can run into legal trouble if you aren’t able to see the length of the caravan. That being said, for the safety of everyone involved, and for the sake of abiding by Australian regulations, you’re best off getting a towing mirror when towing a caravan. Towing mirrors are affordable accessories, and as is the case with most other car accessories, you have plenty of choice in the matter.
For starters, you can pick between permanent and portable mirrors. Portable mirrors are easy and quick to install and attach, and they’re usually the best solution for people who don’t tow that often since you can easily remove them when you aren’t caravanning. There are three basic types of portable towing mirrors – convex, custom slip-ons, and universal fit mirrors. Convex mirrors feature an adhesive that’s used to stick them directly onto your standard side mirrors. Custom slip-on mirrors are made for a specific model, make and year of a car, and they can easily be attached by sliding them over the existing mirror. Universal fit mirrors can be fitted on any vehicle, and they’re available in fender mount, window mount and clip-on models.
Permanent towing mirrors are the more convenient option if you’re performing towing tasks frequently. These mirrors replace your standard side mirrors and are more complicated to install. Furthermore, they’re typically more expensive, but in return, you get a range of features such as heating to melt ice or frost, LED lights that are connected to your turn and braking signals and a telescopic design which enlarges your rear-view capacity.