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A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO TOWING

Perhaps you need a trailer for transporting larger items? Or are planning to start caravanning?

Firstly, you will need to research whether this is possible with your current driving licence and vehicle.

caravan towing

Read our beginners guide below:

How do I know if my vehicle will be able to meet my towing needs?

As a general rule, if your car has a towing capacity of 2,000kg then it will usually be able to tow a caravan or a trailer. But if you have a twin-axle caravan, then you will require a 4x4 (or similar) in order to tow it.

To learn more about the towing capacity of your vehicle, the MAM (maximum authorised mass), also known as the GVW (gross vehicle weight) can be found in the owner’s manual.

car towing trailer1

Do I need to take an additional test?

  • If you passed your driving test before 1st January 1997 you will be allowed to drive a vehicle/trailer with a combined weight of 8,250kg MAM (maximum authorised mass) and a minibus with a trailer of over 750kg MAM.
  • If you passed your driving test after 1st January 1997 and have a Category B licence, you can drive a car/van towing up to 750kg MAM. You may tow a trailer over 750kg – only if the combined MAM of the vehicle and trailer is not greater than 3,500kg.
  • If your licence does not cover your towing requirements, for example you need to tow a greater weight - you can take a B+E test – this is a ‘car and trailer’ driving test. Please note, it is likely that you will need some lessons beforehand.

What preparations should I make?

  • It is a good idea to practice towing as much as possible before attempting your first long journey.
  • Try to ensure that your caravan is as light as possible. Put heavier items low down and close to the axle.
  • Make sure that your car and caravan/trailer are well-matched. Consider using stabilisers to prevent snaking and pitching.
car towing trailer

How fast can I go?

The speed limit in the UK is 60mph (miles per hour) on the Motorway/Dual Carriageway and 50mph on an A-Road/Single Carriageway.

Remember to give yourself more time and space for every manoeuvre – particularly taking corners.

What other legal requirements must I observe?

  • Your tow bar will need to be ‘type approved,’ meaning that it is designed for your car and meets EU regulations (this does not apply to cars first used before 1st August 1998).
  • You must display the number plate of your towing vehicle on the trailer. If you are towing more than one at a time, you must display it on the one at the back - so that it is visible.
  • If the trailer is wider than your towing vehicle, then you must fit towing mirrors. But the maximum width of the trailer must not exceed 2.55m.
  • The maximum length for a trailer towed by a vehicle weighing up to 3,500kg is 7 metres.
  • Never carry passengers in a caravan while you are towing it.
  • You will need a working brake system for any trailer weighing over 750kg.

Transporting heavy loads and equipment

For heavy loads, the suitability of the cars starts to shrink dramatically. Here is a list of mainstream cars that can handle that little bit extra.

Volkswagen Touareg

Mitsubishi Outlander

Range Rover Velar

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Posted on 6th July 2019 at 2:26 PM

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