Why safety is our top priority
Campervans are unique in that compared to other vehicles, when you are away on holiday with your camper you would likely be using it almost 24 hours a day. Campers have two distinct “modes” to account for when it comes to safety, travelling mode, and living mode. There are possible dangers in both of those aspects. So, what do we do to ensure campervans are extra safe and why is safety our top priority?
Measures we put in place to make your campers super safe and what makes them safer than DIY campers?
First it is important to mention that there are two types of safety, passive safety where you try to avoid an accident, and active safety. For context, you don’t want anyone sitting at the back hurtling forward at 60mph and seriously injuring, or worse, the people in the front!
If you destabilise a vehicle in any way, it’s imperative to put that stability back in by strengthening other areas. A good example of this in regard to campervans is by cutting out a large section of the roof in order to fit a pop top. We cut the section out, but put the stability back up in other areas to ensure that all four wheels are planted firmly on the ground when the vehicle is ‘loaded’ on one side, for example going round a roundabout!
Sometimes, we sadly have to say no to requests such as reading lights above the seats, if this will be to the detriment of safety. In other words, safety comes first. That’s not to say we wont try to accommodate every request where possible, but not if it poses even the slightest risk to passenger and user safety. in the event of a crash, you really don’t want to be jerked forward straight into a hard object such as a reading light.
Other key areas we look at are heating pipe zones and impact zones, to ensure that there is minimal damage or potential for the vehicle to catch fire. If all you look at is putting cabinets in and having somewhere to eat in the back, it's not going to be a safe campervan to travel in. We also use rib seats because we know the seat will match the safety certification. Suppliers print a certificate that says it meets a standard, but it doesn’t tell you it will pass in your vehicle. From the years of experience of our engineers, we know how to validate a seat certificate to ensure your safety. In a crash it might just rip out the seat.
Are there industry safety standards like the car industry?
No, not at all. The big difference is anything that's fitted after market or post registration only has to meet MOT standards. It's how the bigger manufacturers beat the drum. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it as well after market as you can before and that's what we do.
What are the common mistakes you see from DIY conversions that could be potential safety issues?
We generally tell people to rip the lot out and do it again when they come to us to try and fix their mistakes. Some of the main issues we see are security of fixtures and fittings - think about what could become a projectile in an accident. We’ve heard of fittings sometimes coming loose just going round a roundabout. If a seat is in an accident, it might have 5-6 tonnes up against it, and we don’t often see people test their fixtures at all, let alone against that amount of force.
Electrics are another common issue, the most common issue being that people don’t have a clue how electrics work. Also, hob wiring. People have attached 50 amp circuits that are not fit for a 5 amp appliance then wonder why it catches fire. Then there’s also batteries and battery charging. Some people don’t understand it's a limited source of energy or the difference between batteries, power and energy.
Gas is another key area which is often overlooked - I dread to think what happens with DIY-ers, as they often don’t think to get it checked or certified. I think a lot of people think the big things are the upholstery, making cabinets, that's what they think of as being the big achievements - the aesthetic. It takes us 5 days of a 4 week build to make and fit the furniture. It's not the most important bit as far as we’re concerned.
Are the seats suitable for child seats/booster seats?
Depending on the seats, yes, as long as they are securely fixed and attached down to the seating structure.
Thanks for reading,
Until next time,
Team Thistle Rose Leisure