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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

On Tuesday, October 21, 2014 by The Driving Guru in    2 comments

Towing a trailer, caravan or horse box is one of those things that can be as easy or as hard as you make it. The basic techniques for driving are not that much different from regular driving when towing a smaller trailer, but you will need to take into account the weight and speed at which you pull away.

The rules for licences for towing will depend on when you took your car (B category) test.

If you took your driving test after January 19th 2013 you can tow a trailer as long as:

•    It weighs less or is equal to 750kg
•    The trailer weighing more than 750kg and a car combination does not exceed 3500kg MAM

The MAM of a vehicle or what is sometimes referred to as the Gross Vehicle Weight is the weight shown on the VIN plate on the car. This is normally the weight of the unladen vehicle.

If you took your driving test (B Category) after January the 1st of 1997 but before the 19th of January 2013, you can tow if:

•    the vehicle does not weigh more than 3500kg (3.5 tonnes) and the trailer does not weigh more than 750kg (3/4 tonne) MAM
•    the combination of vehicle and trailer does not exceed 3500kg (3.5 tonnes) MAM

For people who took their driving test before January 1997 the general rules are that you can drive a combination of vehicle and trailer up to 8500kg (8.5 tonnes) MAM. You will also be able to drive a minibus with a trailer over 750kg (3/4 tonnes).

Once the Car and Trailer (B+E) test has been passed you will be allowed to tow a trailer up to 3500kg (3.5 tonnes).

Unlike the car and motorcycle categories the trailer test is considered a subcategory test to the main vehicle, hence the use of the “+E” reference, which actually refers to + trailer. So a B+E actually should read Car + Trailer.

The test does also not require you to take a theory test, although it would be an idea to read up on the Highway Code and make sure you are up to date with your road markings and signs, so you know you don’t make sure you know the rules when taking your practical test.

As you will imagine peoples driving skills will dictate as to which driving course or amount of tuition they will need but as a rough guide you should need one of the following:

•    18 hours (3 days) – Never towed before and general driving needs attention
•    12 hours (2 days) – Intermediate driver with a little knowledge of towing
•    8 hours (2 days) – A good driver with a little knowledge of towing
•    6 hours (1 day) – A good driver and a good knowledge of towing

If you wish you can take an initial 4 hour assessment and training session to gauge which course would be right for you.

During your B+E test you will be expected to:

•    complete an eyesight check
•    reverse the trailer in a manoeuvre within a confined area
•    be able to answer 5 safety check questions
•    drive for approximately 40 minutes on Dual carriageways, motorways, urban roads and one way systems
•    uncouple and couple the car and trailer

You can of course and it always advisable to take a trailer training course, even if you have the entitlement on your driving licence. This way you can be assured that you are as safe as possible whilst towing.

There are many rules about vehicles and equipment need to whilst taking a car and smaller trailer test and these can be found on the DVSA website www.gov.uk/towing-with-car/car-trailer-practical-test.

The test fee for a car and trailer test is at the moment £115.00 and can be paid by debit or credit card over the phone or online.

Check out these resources for more advice on towing a trailer.
Reversing with a trailer in 6 easy steps
What Are the Speed Limits When Towing a Trailer?
Trailer Training in Basildon

About the Author:

The Driving Guru is better known as Tony Mihill - The owner of A Pass 4 U driving school. Tony has been involved in the driver training industry for the last 10 years. Running a network of approximately 200 instructors, he insists that standards are always kept high.

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2 comments:

  1. I am assuming that most of these tips would apply to towing a trailer with a car on it as well. I think that it would be a good idea to take ours out for a test drive before making the trek out to Colorado. We're moving in a couple of weeks, but we don't have another person to drive our car. I just hope that we can tow it there safely. http://www.towingpenrith.com.au/towing-services

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  2. Yeah you are right - "The test fee for a car and trailer test is at the moment £115.00". It cost me the same amount when i was giving the test fee.
    Thanks for sharing this informative article!

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