Why do I need caravan towing mirrors?

Published in Caravanning Top Tips on   - 23 Comments

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  1. Seares says:

    My mirror mounted towing mirrors have an elastic safety retaining strap which will stop the mirror being lost if it gets knocked off- The strap goes over the car mirror at the car end. Adds only about 5 seconds to the installation.

  2. Godfrey Barker says:

    Have changed caravan since I last made a comment now have a Lunar Quasar 544 (blank rear panel) and now find that using Milenco Areo mirrors clamped onto door mirrors work great except wqhen struck by a pigeon which knocked it off luckily going slow enough and not in major traffic was able to recover.

  3. Neil, Caravan Guard says:

    Hi Brian,

    it’s hard to say why the specific mirrors you describe would now be deemed illegal without knowing more details. My advice would be to drop the writer of the article above an email as he is the expert in this area. You can email Tim Booth on [email protected]

  4. brian hall says:

    i have been using a set of mirrors i used in the eighties they fit on the wing and under the wheel arch . the view i have both sides of the van is mindblowing it shows such a wider view and i can reverse a single axle van using these mirrors to near perfection i am now told these mirrors are illegal could u tell me y . please many thanks brian hall

  5. Godfrey Barker says:

    I have an XC90 and tow an Avondale eagle (2006) and can see right through the van would this be accaptable without mirror extensions van only 7ft wide

  6. Tony Gower says:

    Vauxhall used to sell ‘Type specific’ towing mirrors which clamp onto the door mirrors by use of two claws and a screw clamp. Easy to fit and refit in the same place, without needing further adjustments each time, and no problems with vibration. However they do not seem to be making them for the ‘New Astra’, and I have had to resort to a pair of strap on mirrors which take time to fit and require adjusting every time as it is difficult/impossible to put them back on in exactly the same spot

  7. Dave (Jones) says:

    The make of the camera I had fitted was “Streetwise” 7″ I think. It was fitted by Perthshire Caravans while it was in for its annual service and it was about £150.00 fitted. The camara is fitted about mid hight in the centre of the back panel and stands only slightly proud of the surface (I have an Ace Supreme Twinstar pulled with a Volvo XC90). It has a wide angle of vision so unlike Rob’s comments, you have a view of the front of any wagon well before they flash you in. I feel that with the cars mirrors, the towing mirrors and the camera I have absolutely no blind spots at all and I certainly couldn’t miss a police car behind me flashing me over to stop. Distance of aproaching vehicles is difficult to judge though but easily rectified with a quickglance in your mirrors. The signal send unit lives in the vanity unit in the rear washroom and the monitor picks up the signal and is plugged into the cigaret lighter socket. It would be simple to fit these to caravans during the manufacturing process as standard or as an option on new caravans.

  8. Howard Mills says:

    This is not a debatable issue – Anything that is both an aid to additional safety AND a requirement anyway makes sense to adhere to, END of story!

  9. Anthony Lockwood says:

    I tow a Abbey Iona wich is a lot narrower than a normal caravan and I can see behind quite well without towing mirrors. Am I still breaking he law by not useing them.

  10. Nick says:

    The law in this case is an ass. As with many laws the intention behind it is a good one – after all, why wouldn’t you want everyone to have better visibility when towing a large outfit? However, as usual it doesn’t take into account the vehicle/trailer combination. With varying towcars over the years I have sought to use towing mirrors and have used many different types.

    1) Many towing mirrors actually damage the car mirror over time.
    2) The ones that don’t, usually vibrate too much to be of any use, in fact the vibrations themselves are distracting and therefore dangerous.
    3) The second you have less than perfect weather, these external mirrors fog up and are useless.
    4) They give little to no better view of the road behind than the cars own mirrors – in some case they actually restrict rear visibility by covering the existing mirrors!

    Finally, in your example in the article, I’d suggest that either driver of said caravan was not looking in their mirrors, in which case extension mirrors would be of no benefit in any case. If they were using mirrors though, and genuinely didn’t see the police car, it would suggest that the police driver was driving dangerously close behind and should therefore be reprimanded for dangerous driving.

  11. Neil says:

    Hi guys,

    we posed the questions mentioned above to the writer of the article Tim Booth and the caravan mirror manufacturers Milenco, and I’m pleased to say we’ve got some further clarification for you.

    Q: “As the requirements quoted are to be able to see in the area specified, would a rear facing camera on the caravan be acceptable instead of mirrors?”

    A: Tim Booth says, “The legislation is quite specific – mirrors can be supported by a camera installation but cannot be a replacement for them.”

    Q. “Which is best- flat or convex? I bought a pair of the clip on the wing mirror type- and it had one of each. Haven’t worked out yet which is best way round to put them.”

    A. A spokesperson for Milenco says that, “it is personal preference between Flat and convex, some people prefer the flat as what you see is what you get, however the convex gives you a wider view, if travelling abroad this will give you a better vision due to driving on the right. We would never recommend you have one of each as this could impair your vision or should I say confuse you.”

    Q. “what about the “e mark” that keeps being quoted. so many mirrors on the market do not have it, when certain manufacturers are claiming that is is a legal requirement for most modern cars!”

    A. Milenco say, “Emarking for mirrors has been a legal requirement since 1971 with the introduction of European directive ec71.127 this actually became law in the UK in 1979.

    The new current safety standard which became law last year was directive ec2003/97.”

    If anyone has any further questions please do not heistate to get in touch, or comment below.

    Caravan Guard

  12. michael parrott says:

    Please advise whos mirrors conform to the E mark,and where is it shown on the mirror.

  13. brian dodd says:

    like the idea of a rear facing camera how much and where do you find them..brian

  14. Don says:

    I got two plain glass mirrors and found them ditracting, my car has convex mirrors so I changed the caravans for the same and find they are easier to use as they are what I am used to,

  15. John Coles says:

    I have BMW custom mirrors for my X3, they are the dog’s whatsits. 15s to install and always stay adjusted

  16. Rob says:

    Nick, a rear facing camera is certainly a good addition (per Dave) but it does not give visibility of cars or cyclists on your rear quarter. Vehicles (especially cyclists) will disappear from its field of view as they get near you, and be out of sight until they appear in your car mirrors. You need to be able to see those areas instantly when changing lanes or manoeuvring in traffic, and you don’t want to be having to look in two places, and wondering if you missed anything in the gap!
    Seares: Cars usually have a convex mirror on the nearside and a flat one (or less convex) on the offside. This is a) to ensure that you judge distances and speeds of passing traffic correctly when pulling out, and b) to give you a better field of view on the side away from you.
    The same logic will apply to the towing mirrors. Putting your convex towing mirror on the left gives you have a wider field of view to see where the caravan is when going round tight left corners.

  17. Ian Merckel says:

    I attached a self adhesive orange reflector to the back of the towing mirrors. The mirrors stick out beyond the caravan of course and I have had oncoming vehicles hitting the mirror. Since using the reflectors the problem has not recurred. Other drivers have said they liked the idea and bought reflectors.

  18. Chris Metcalfe says:

    I echo the comment on the Milenco Aero mirrors. Superb for fitting and for vision. Advantage also of leaving the standard mirror glass unobstructed.

  19. Terry Coleman says:

    I have a Lunar Solar Eclipse 615 which I tow with a Grand Cherokee. I have at last found some mirrors that meet with requirements for view, and dont fall of on bumpy roads ! They are Millenco Aero`s. Easy to fit and adjust, they hold their settings very well.

  20. Dave says:

    I have a wireless camera fitted to the rear of my caravan powered off the car/van light circuit and is the best caravan item I have purchased. The small monitor just clips onto my rear view mirror as that tends to then become useless when towing. I do have both nearside and offside towing mirrors as well. It gives total vision behind and gives the added benefit of knowing when you have cleared any vehicle you are overtaking. The only downside is that after years of towing, sometimes when you glance at the rear view mirror for a split second you think that you have lost the caravan.

  21. malc says:

    what about the “e mark” that keeps being quoted. so many mirrors on the market do not have it, when certain manufacturers are claiming that is is a legal requirement for most modern cars!

  22. Seares says:

    Which is best- flat or convex? I bought a pair of the clip on the wing mirror type- and it had one of each. Haven’t worked out yet which is best way round to put them.

  23. Nick says:

    As the requirements quoted are to be able to see in the area specified, would a rear facing camera on the caravan be acceptable intead of mirrors?

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