By William Coleman
From time to time we all need to brush up on our towing skills, but is there a better and more visual way to brush up or learn new skills? This new bit of tech my just be a new way of learning.
As an industry we are getting younger which means there is going to be a whole new generation of potential caravan owners who are going to need to learn how to tow a caravan.
And as we move forward in how people digest training it seems that learning some basic tips via computer programme is very much the way forward. Someone who has seen the need for this is Jim Bedigan, the creator of Reverse My Trailer.
Reverse My Trailer is a new trailer reversing 3D simulator that will give users a 360 perspective on how to safely reverse a caravan, something that is vital to getting in and out of spaces as well of maneuvering/adjusting on pitch.
Being able to sit comfortably and have all the key principles involved in reversing explained to you can be a much better way of gaining the knowledge, plus you can pause and rewind should you need to go over some points.
As well as being 3D the simulator provides a birds-eye view, along with multiple rear mirror views of the reversing operation. It has an ‘autopilot mode’ that demonstrates how to reverse into areas such as gateways and parking spaces and a ‘guidance mode’ to help you try it for yourself.
Speaking with Jim he explained where the idea came from: A few years ago, I found myself watching Caravanner of the Year on BBC2. I don’t own a caravan myself but nevertheless found it surprisingly good viewing.
One test given to the participants involved the main driver giving reversing instructions to their partner to help them negotiate several obstacles.
Despite the pressure they were under due to the presence of TV cameras, shouted instructions and rapidly worsening tempers, most of them ended up doing a pretty good job. However, I thought the test illustrated very clearly just how difficult reversing a caravan can be for the inexperienced.
Despite not actually owning an actual caravan Jim does attach a trailer to his car and drive with that attached so he is more than aware of what the towing behaviour is like and the issues it can produce.
Having extensive knowledge in the 3D graphics world, Jim previously worked in the flight simulation industry, he decided that he could use his skills to help the towing community with a similar simulation.
Jim’s two main goals in creating this were to create a set of simulator models that would represent a range of real-world vehicles and trailers as accurately as possible and to workout a what steering should be applied at any point in time to keep the trailer on an ‘optimum’ approach route during manoeuvres, such as reversing into a gateway or a parallel parking space.
I think that this method of learning is extremely effective and will give a clear breakdown, for those who need it, of what you need to do to ensure that you safely reverse and maneuver your set up.
As we all know there is no better practice than getting in the car and actually trying it out but this programme is a great way to have some fun while learning. This is not a replacement for a qualified instructor, the same way the theory test will not prepare you for the open road, but it is fun and does give a little extra help to get your head round the intricacies of towing.
This programme is free to use so why not give it a watch and see what you could take away from the demo. You can download a free copy <here.