Q364: What are the rules for towing caravans / trailers with cars?

Driving licences

Driving licences issued on or after 01.01.97
From 01.01.97 drivers who pass their car driving test (category B) can drive:

  • Category B covers small vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes maximum authorised mass (MAM) with up to 8 passengers seats with a trailer up to 750kgs (MAM) allowing a combination weight of 4.25 tonnes or
  • A vehicle of up to 3.5 tonnes MAM and a trailer over 750kgs allowing a combination of both car and trailer to be not more than 3.5 tonnes.

If you want to tow a trailer outside these provisions you will need to take another test for category BE.

Driving licence issued before 01.01.97
If you passed your car driving test (category B) before 01.01.97, you will usually be entitled to drive a motor vehicle and trailer with a combined MAM of up to 8250 kg.

Passengers
It's against the law to carry passengers in a caravan when it's being towed.

Speed limits
It is also important to stick to the required speed limits – they are different for cars towing a caravan:

  • 60mph - motorways and dual carriageways
  • 50mph - single carriageways
  • 30mph - built up areas

Motorways – third lane
On the motorway, a car towing a caravan cannot go in the outside lane (where there are 3 lanes).

Mechanical condition
Make sure your car and caravan are roadworthy with regard to their mechanical condition e.g. lights, tyres, brakes, number plates, mirrors etc.

Weights and plates
Make sure that the weight of your caravan doesn't exceed the weights for the drawing vehicle – these may be shown on a plate under the bonnet or in your vehicle's handbook.

Towball
Make sure you comply with any requirements in relation to your car's towball e.g. weights, heights and breakaway couplings.

Mirrors
The requirement is that you must be able to see clearly down both sides of your caravan, and 4 metres either side at a distance of 20 metres behind the caravan. If your existing car mirrors cannot provide this or you are doubtful as to whether they can, it is safest to fit extension towing mirrors otherwise you may commit an offence.

Further information
It's important to realise that the above only represent a basic guide to what's required. If you need further information, we would suggest you contact an approved dealer or an organisation such as the Caravan Club – please see the link below:

https://www.caravanclub .co.uk/contact/

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