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Caravan towing tips

Date: Tue 17th July 2018   |   Author: L Blake

Caravanning can be a great way to enjoy a mini-break without breaking the bank. Before you invest in a caravan and start planning your trip, there are a few things you need to consider. Can you tow a caravan with your current licence? Will your vehicle tow your caravan? How do you work out the towing weight? Discover our handy caravan towing tips.

Do you have the correct licence?

According to Gov.uk, there is no such thing as a trailer licence but you may need to take an additional category driving test depending on the weight of the load you are towing.

As of 19 January 2013, drivers passing a category B (car and small vehicle) test can legally tow:

  • A small trailer weighing no more than 750kg.
  • A trailer over 750kg as long as the weight of the trailer and the vehicle towing it is no more than 3,500kg Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) when combined.

Drivers who passed their test after 1 January 1997 and hold a category B licence, can legally:

  • Drive a vehicle up to 3,500kg MAM towing a trailer of up to 750kg MAM.
  • Tow a trailer over 750kg MAM as long as the weight of the trailer and towing vehicle does not exceed 3,500kg when combined.

To tow a heavier load you will need to take a category B+E driving test. However, if you passed your test before 1 January 1997 you may drive a vehicle and trailer combination of up to 8.25 tonnes MAM.

For more information about what your licence legally allows you to tow, visit: https://www.gov.uk/driving-licence-categories

Towing rules - know before you tow

Towing weights

Towing weights refers to the maximum weight your car can tow including the weight of the car itself and a loaded trailer. It is important to take into account the weight of your vehicle and the trailer being towed before adding on the weight of your belongings. Try to pack with careful consideration for the maximum weight limits. Where possible, you could try weighing your belongings before loading into your vehicle to ensure that you do not exceed your weight limit.

The maximum weight will vary from vehicle to vehicle but this information can be found in your vehicle handbook. For more information on how to work out your towing capacity, visit the RAC.

Towing widths and lengths

Though the towing weight for each vehicle varies, the maximum trailer width for any towing vehicle is 2.55 metres. The maximum length is seven metres for a trailer towed by a vehicle weighing up to 3,500 kilograms.

 

Safety tips

So you now have the correct licence and have checked your towing weights, widths and lengths. But driving with added weight and length can affect your driving too. Here are a few things to consider when driving whilst towing a caravan:

  • The number plate for your caravan must clearly display the registration number of your vehicle and conform to the relevant British Standard.
  • You should never carry passengers in the caravan whilst you are towing it. To ensure the safety of all passengers, your travelling party should travel in the vehicle doing the towing.
  • Turning corners and braking suddenly will be much harder to do when you’re towing. To avoid snaking, you will need to make sure that you have a well-matched vehicle and caravan. You could also try using stabilisers.
  • Bear in mind that maximum speeds when towing a caravan are 50 mph on single carriageways and 60 mph on dual carriageways and motorways.
  • Now that your car is towing extra weight, you should make sure that your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure for the weight of the towing load it will be carrying.
  • According to the The Highway Code you should try to keep a two second gap between cars when driving conditions are good, at least double on wet roads and further still when roads are icy. When you’re towing you will need to account for the extra weight when judging your stopping distances. Be sure to leave enough room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front for you to brake safely.

We hope you found our caravan towing tips helpful. For more driving tips and other interesting articles, visit the Auto Protect engage page.