Towing a caravan: How big is ‘too big’?

towing a caravan B+E legal UK maximum weight training perthshire towingIt’s not easy to figure out whether your licence will cover a certain size of caravan. What’s more, there are other regulations to consider as well (all primarily focussed on keeping yourself and other road users safe). The advice below is taken directly from the gov.uk website.

Making sure you are legal

perthshire trailer training B+E training caravan perthshireAs is the case when towing other trailers in the UK, you will need to check the date on which your driving licence was issued. If it was before 1st January 1997 you will normally be allowed to tow a vehicle and trailer combination with a combined weight of up to 8,250kg (however, check your licence details to be sure).

If your licence was issued after 1 January 1997 then the situation is different. You will need to gain a B+E qualification if you want to tow a certain size of caravan. A lot depends on the weight of your towing vehicle.

If your car weighs more than 3,500kg then the maximum trailer/caravan you can tow is 750kg. However, you can tow a larger caravan, provided the combined of the trailer and towing vehicle is no more than 3,500kg.

You can find more details about staying legal when towing by clicking this link.

If you want to tow something beyond this weight (or even if you feel unsure about towing your caravan) then please get in touch to book either a complete course or even a refresher/reverse course. You can find my contact details by clicking this link.

Making sure your caravan is legal

is my caravan road worthy UKIf you’re qualified to tow your caravan there are a few other things to consider before taking it out on the road:

First and foremost is probably the most obvious; your caravan needs to be in a safe, road-worthy condition. (You can be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving, and/or get 3 penalty points for using a vehicle in a dangerous condition.)

You should also carry out safety checks to make sure you’re using your equipment legally:

Towing bars: Be sure that your tow bar is the correct type for your car and that you can safely use it with your caravan. Tow bars are ordinarily marked with an approval number along with details of the vehicles it’s approved for.

NB If your car was first used before 1 August 1998, your tow bar doesn’t need to be type-approved.

Towing mirrors: This might go without saying but you need to have an adequate view of the road behind you. Be sure to fit suitable towing mirrors if your caravan is wider than the rear of your car. (You can be fined up to £1,000 and get 3 penalty points for towing without proper towing mirrors.)

Trailer or caravan brakes: Your trailer must have it’s own working brake system if it weighs over 750kg when loaded. Some smaller trailers also have brakes, but these are optional. You will want to make sure that any brakes are in good working order before you tow your caravan.

You’ll also need to use a breakaway cable or secondary coupling in case the trailer detaches from your car.

Number plates: You need to display a number plate on the back of your caravan that corresponds to your towing vehicle.

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If you need any other advice on towing your caravan please don’t hesitate to get in touch, and feel free to enter any questions in the comments section below this post.

Information checked against details listed at www.gov.uk and found accurate as of 02.02.17

 

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