Towing a caravan rules are in place to improve safety standards. Get them wrong and there are some pretty serious consequences. A fine, points on your licence or even a ban…either way, very undesirable results that can easily be avoided.
One of the common areas where people’s knowledge gets them into trouble are the rules around what and whether you can tow. Unfortunately, ignorance is not an excuse.
Luckily, the rules aren’t overly complicated and relatively simple to follow.
In this article, I will run through the caravan towing rules, what can you tow and on what driving licence. Following that, I will run through some basic towing knowledge. At the end of this post, you will be in a much better place to decide what you need to do next.
Listen to this post
- Your driving licence
- Towing capacity weights & width
Your driving licence
It is your licence that determines what you can tow. If you are one of the lucky ones that obtained their licence prior to 1st January 1997, then you will have a ‘B+E’ licence.
If you got your licence after 1st January 1997, then you will have a ‘B’ licence. This means that you have a more limited licence than the ‘B+E’ licence.
What if I have a ‘B’ licence…what does this mean?
You can read more detailed information in another post but essentially it means the following. You are limited to what you can tow. This is established through what is known as the MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass).
Your tow vehicle can be a maximum gross weight limit of 4.25 tonnes for car and caravan combined, that is if the caravan is more the 750kg.
If the touring caravan is more than 750kg MAM, your Maximum Authorised Mass is limited to 3.5 tonnes for the car and caravan combined.
I’m lucky to have a ‘B+E’ driving test license…what can I tow?
Firstly, lucky you.
You have a maximum kerb weight limit of 8.25 tonnes to play with according to the Maximum Authorised Mass. You also have the added advantage of being able to drive a minibus with a caravan over 750kg.
Check your cars Gross train weight
It is important that your tow car is suitable to pull the loaded caravan you have. The method used to determine this is the GTW (Gross Train Weight). This is the weight of a fully loaded car and the weight of a fully loaded trailer. The weight it stipulates must not be exceeded.
You can find a vehicles GTW in the VIN plate. This plate can either be found under the bonnet or on the inside frame of the drivers door. Pay attention to this to stay legal.
What should I do next?
You should always be sure that you are operating within the law with your towing licence. Failure to do so may result in;
- Points on your licence
It is therefore important that you are fully compliant as you will have come across spot checks where they are looking specifically at these kinds of mistakes.
They will also be looking at issues with tow bar, tow ball, tow bracket , suitable towing mirrors and gross vehicle weight…just some of the issues related to safe towing.
The best way you can keep up to date is to consult the government’s own web page relating to cars and trailers. You can find this here. If you need more information, consult this first.
Should you need more information, speak with your local caravan dealer. They are experts in what they do and all the legislation around them. They will be able to best advise you.
Another option would be to speak with your insurance company. Although caravan insurance is not compulsory, it is always a great idea to have your caravan covered. The added bonus is that the insurance company will also be able to give you advice.
Take-aways from this article
- Check your licence
- Check the gross weight guidelines
- Check the VIN plate on your car
- Double check the rules with the government website
I hope this information helps you stay on the right side of the law. Let me know what you think in the comments section below. All contributions are welcome so if you think something has been missed out, let me know.
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