Driving Test Success

Towing A Trailer or a Caravan

To tow a trailer or a caravan you must have a full car driving licence.

Passed your test before January 1st 1997

Then you can tow a trailer or caravan so long as the vehicle/trailer combination does not exceed 8.25 tonnes.

Passed your test on or after before January 1st 1997

Then you can tow a trailer behind a category B* vehicle if the trailer is 750kg or less in weight.

If the trailer exceeds 750kg you may tow it behind a category B vehicle, provided that the trailer and vehicle combination does not exceed 3.5 tonnes and the maximum authorised mass (MAM) of the trailer doesn't exceed the unladen weight of the towing vehicle. If the trailer you wish to tow exceeds this your will have to pass a practical category B+E test.

If you wish to drive a vehicle with a MAM exceeding 3.5 tonnes you will need to pass a category C or C1 test.

* A category B vehicle is any car, including any four-wheeled vehicle, with a MAM of less than 3.5 tonnes which as no more than eight passenger seats.

Safe Towing

Before towing any load you should consult your vehicle's manual to learn the following information:

There are separate and also legal limits on the laden weight of unbraked trailers. You should know what the limits are for your vehicle.

It is recommended that the weight of a loaded trailer does not exceed 85 per cent of the empty weight of the towing vehicle.

Weight distribution

Correct weight distribution is essential for safe towing.

Safety Checks

Any load must be carried safely. It must not put other road users at risk. It must be securely stowed within the size and weight limits for the vehicle. The load must not move or fall from the vehicle whilst in transit.

Before starting a journey check the trailer or caravan:

At the beginning of the test the examiner will ask you to explain five separate safety checks.

Mirrors

You will need to fit exterior towing mirrors so that you have a clear view on both sides of the caravan or trailer.

On The Road

Always be aware of the extra weight and how this will affect braking and acceleration.

Snaking - if the trailer or caravan you are towing starts to snake you should:

Speed Limits

Some speed limits are lower when towing a trailer or caravan. Unless signs indicate otherwise you must not exceed:

Motorway Driving

You must not tow a trailer or caravan in the outside lane of a motorway having more than two lanes, unless other lanes are closed.

The Test

Book the test by calling 0300200 1122 or online at direct.gov.uk/drivetest.

Take your driving licence with you to the test. If it doesn't have your photo on it you must take your passport with you as an additional form of identification.

The vehicle you intend to drive must be roadworthy and:

The unleaden trailer must have a MAM of at least one tonne and the car and trailer together must be able to reach a speed of 62.5 mph (100 kph). If the car is registered after 1 October 2003 the trailer must have a closed box body.

Eyesight Check

You must be able to read a number plate from a distance of 20.5 metres.

Safety Check Questions

You will be asked to explain or demonstrate five separate safety checks.

The Drive - this will last for around sixty minutes. You will have to drive in a variety of traffic situations and on a variety of roads. You will have to drive to a good, safe standard and will be assessed as a learner driver would on a standard practical driving test. However, you will not be required to do:

Braking Exercise

This part of the test will take place on a special manoeuvring area. It tests your ability to safely stop while travelling at 20 mph.

The Reversing Exercise

You will need to reverse your vehicle and trailer into a restricted space.

Uncoupling and Recoupling

You will need to be able to uncouple the car and trailer, park the car and then recouple the two safely.

When Uncoupling:

When recoupling:

Author Richard Jenkins

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