Travel & Touring | Camping & Caravanning

To many first-time owners, reversing a caravan is one of the trickiest and most intimidating manoeuvres to perform.

When left is right and right is left, reversing your caravan can be harder than it looks. However, it's a skill you'll need to master if you're planning on towing your caravan to any accommodation spot across the State.

So, we've done the hard work for you. Here's our handy guide of tips, tricks and step-by-step instructions to make your next reverse caravan park a breeze.

General reversing rules to remember

The first rule of thumb is to remember that opposites rule. To move the caravan to the right you need to turn the steering wheel gradually to the left. To turn the caravan left, do the opposite - turn the steering wheel to the right.

Right-hand turns with a caravan are generally easier to manage than left-hand turns as they provide better vision.

If you oversteer in one direction, or the caravan begins to turn in a circle, stop and move forward in a straight line until the caravan has straightened up completely behind your car. 

Steps for reversing into a caravan park

Here are some step-by-step guidelines to successfully reversing your caravan into its caravan park bay.

Step 1

An infographic showing how to reverse a caravan

A good trick before you start is to stand at the front right-hand corner of the bay and take two steps forward, then four large steps to the right.

Mark it with a stick or a mark that you can see. Then reverse the right rear corner of the caravan to this point, holding the steering wheel from the bottom with your palms facing upward. 

You are now at the starting point for your reverse turn. 

The guide or companion should never stand at the back of the caravan as the driver can’t see or hear them. They should instead stand at the front of the vehicle, facing the driver, to observe the two back corners of the caravan.  

Step 2

An infographic showing how to reverse a caravan

Once the caravan is at the turning point you have marked, turn the steering wheel all the way to the left, then bring it back half a turn, before slowly reversing. 

When you look towards the back of the caravan, the right hand side of the caravan should back into the parking area. 

Step 3

Step 3 infographic

When the right wheel of the caravan reaches the right corner of the bay, turn the steering wheel to the right. 

If you jack-knife, simply stop, drive forward, and turn the wheel back to the centre. This can happen when you turn the steering wheel the wrong way or the signals from your travel buddy aren’t clear. 

You should now be aligned to safely reverse into the bay.

Step 4

Check how much room you’ve got before continuing so you know how far to reverse. 

Once you’ve successfully parked, set the caravan handbrake, check and secure the wheels so they’re stable and won’t move, and make sure the van is sitting level before you set up your caravan site.  

Remember to leave enough room for your awning or annex if you have one and just for a little extra space when you step outside. 

Need some more caravan advice before setting off? 

We're running free caravan safety training sessions in Perth and regional WA to help you travel safely.

Find out more

Updated December 2020