It is so important to ensure that your trailer is safe, and equally important to make sure you and your vehicle is capable of towing safely.
Am I allowed to tow a trailer?
You need to have a full driving licence. If you holder a Provisional category B licence then you are not permitted to tow.
If you passed your car driving test before 1/1/1997 you will have categories B+E and c1+E on your licence allowing you to tow a trailer provided that both vehicle and trailer do not exceed 8250kg.
Drivers who pass the car driving test after this date are required to pass a further test to gain the category B+E which allows them to tow trailers and caravans.
These are general rules only and you should check to see if your licence allows you to to your trailer at the DVLA web site here:
Do I require insurance?
Yes, your vehicle insurance should provide you with third party insurance for trailers while they are attached to the vehicle, but do check this out with your insurance company. This will not cover for theft or damage to the trailer or its contents. We would stronly recommend arranging additional cover.
What is the speed limit while towing a trailer?
You are restricted to 60mph on motorways and dual carriageways and 50mph on other roads where no lower speed limit applies.
Are there any other driving restrictions?
You are not permitted to tow a trailer on the outside lane of a three or more lane motorway or dual carriageway unless this is unavoidable due to roadworks, accident or other obstruction.
You should never allow passengers to be carried in a trailer.
Rear view mirrors should allow you to see the road behind the trailer on both sides. If additonal mirrors are required then they shouldn't protrude more than 200mm beyond the width of he trailer (or vehicle when trailer is not attached).
How big a trailer am I allowed to tow?
It is your responsibility to ensure the vehicle is adepquate to tow the trailer and its load. This includes:
- Checking the engine is large enough
- Checking the brakes are powerful enough
- Checking the gross weight of the trailer does not exceed the towing capacity of the vehicle.
The NTTA have the following advice:
Consider all these things very carefully when choosing and loading (and towing) your trailer.
The paragraphs which follow, refer to the data that is relevant to your choice. See "The Law"
The most important check is the vehicle manufacturer's recommended towing limit, which should be in vehicle manufacturer's handbook and on the VIN plate on the chassis.
A good rule of thumb, for safety and stability, when towing a caravan, is the 85% figure recommended for caravans by the Caravan Club. This suggests that you should not tow a caravan that weighs more than 85% of the towing vehicle's kerb weight. (as long as 85% does not exceed the vehicle manufacturer's recommended towing limit. (The kerb weight is defined as the weight of the vehicle plus a full tank of petrol and 75kg (for the driver and luggage).)
Police Forces use the manufacturer's recommended towing limit as their guide. Under no circumstances should the vehicle's gross train weight be exceeded. You should also refer to limitations on overall length, details can be found in this guide that deal with trailer dimensions.
Visit the National Trailer and Towing Association's web site for more information on how safe practices when towing.
Click here: NTTA