What driving license is needed to tow a caravan?

One of the many benefits of caravanning is how easy it is to get started, as no formal training or qualifications are required to tow in many cases.

The trailer license test

If you want to tow a caravan weighing over 8.25 (if you passed your test before 1 January 1997), or 3.5 tonnes (if you passed after 1 January 1997), then it is possible to take a further practical test, which is known as the B+E licence. The Driving Standards Agency offers this test for the sum of £115 if you take the test on a week day, or £141 on a weekend, evening, or bank holiday.

The car and trailer test takes around one hour and is carried out at a normal testing centre during weekdays. The inspector will examine your ability to tow a trailer around the local area, which can include motorway or one-way system driving.

Once you get back to the test centre, you will be asked to perform a series of manoeuvres, including hitching up, reversing and unhitching. You will then be asked to identify various parts of the tow vehicle and complete an eyesight test. Happily, there is no reversing around a corner, emergency stop or three-point turn, however, should you wish to hone these skills, there are other courses available.

Just like with your original test, 14 minor faults are allowed before you fail, while your caravan has to fulfil several criteria, including weighing at least 1,000kg and with adequate brakes. Click here for a more detailed list of criteria. 

It's important to make sure that your caravan is not too heavy for your choice of tow car. The Caravan Club recommends that caravan's MTPLM weight should be no more than 85% of the tow car's kerb weight.  

More importantly if your towing a caravan weighs more than your car then you are in an unsafe situation, breaking the law and could be fined by the police. What's more, your caravan insurance will not cover you in the case of an accident.

Good luck and happy holidays!

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