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Legal guide to UK motoring, sections for law enforcement, Driver licensing, learner and new drivers, buying and selling, speeding fines, owning a vehicle, wheel clamping, traffic information.

Practical test


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Car and trailer practical driving test

If you passed your car driving test on or after 1 January 1997 and you now want to tow a caravan or trailer you will have to take a specific practical test.

Car licences obtained before 1 January 1997

All drivers who passed a car test before 1 January 1997 retain their existing entitlement to tow trailers until their licence expires. This means they are generally entitled to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8.25 tonnes maximum authorised mass (MAM). They also have entitlement to drive a minibus with a trailer over 750 kgs MAM.

Car licences obtained on or after 1 January 1997

Drivers who passed a car test on or after 1 January 1997 are required to pass an additional driving test in order to gain entitlement to category B+E (car with trailer) which allows them to tow caravans and trailers.

The car and trailer practical driving test

The car and trailer test (B+E) is based on the lorry driving test and lasts for approximately one hour. Please note that B+E tests are conducted at vocational (bus and lorry) driving test centres.

The towing test (B+E) includes vehicle safety questions, an off-road reverse manoeuvre, a controlled stop, uncoupling and coupling of the trailer and driving on the road.

You will not be expected to carry out the following exercises:

  • emergency stop on the public road
  • reversing round a corner
  • reverse parking
  • turning in the road

Vehicle safety questions

These are basic safety checks that a driver should carry out to ensure the vehicle is safe for use. Although some checks may involve the candidate in opening the bonnet to identify where fluid levels would be checked, pupils will not be asked to touch a hot engine or physically check fluid levels.

As vehicle technology advances, more and more vehicles are being equipped with electronic diagnostic systems, which inform the driver of the state of the engine fluid levels and tyre pressures. It will be acceptable for a candidate to refer to the vehicle information system (if fitted) when answering questions on fluid levels or tyre pressures.

Candidates will be asked five questions, which will be a combination of show me and tell me. A driving fault will be recorded for each incorrect answer to a maximum of four driving faults. If the candidate answers all five questions incorrectly, a serious fault will be recorded.

For a list of the questions you can be asked on your driving test, please click on the vehicle safety questions link below.

Minimum requirements for a category B + E test vehicle

Cars or vans presented for test must be a category B vehicle towing a suitably braked trailer of at least one tonne (1000 kilograms) maximum authorised mass (MAM). The examiner may ask for evidence of the trailer MAM eg. manufacturers plate.

Notes

  1. it is not a legal requirement that the head restraint be adjustable, but the passenger seat head restraint must be fitted as an integral part of the seat
  2. slip-on type head restraints are not permissible 
  3. all vehicles and trailers presented for test must be unladen 
  4. all vehicle combinations must operate on appropriate brakes and utilise a coupling arrangement suitable for the weight



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