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
Make sure that your vehicle can cope with the extra load. Inflate your tyres to the full load pressure and make sure that they are in good condition. Check your brakes and suspension. Also check the condition and tyre pressure of the vehicle you are towing.
Check the condition of your towbar. Make sure that it is solid and has a rigid connection to your vehicle. Factory-fitted or professional towbars are recommended.
If your load is wide then your should ideally fit extended wing mirrors to enable good vision.
Check your driving license to make sure that your load does not exceed the maximum weight that you are allowed to tow.
Check to see if there are any dangerous protrusions from your trailer or caravan.
If you begin to lose control of the vehicle you should reduce speed slowly and don't stamp on the brakes. Your load will be more stable if you fit a stabilizer bar and don not exceed the maximum towing weight of your vehicle. Slow down when driving down steep hills.
If you do need to overtake don't forget to take into consideration the extra length of the vehicle and the added weight which will impede the performance of your vehicle in braking and acceleration.
Arrange the load on a trailer evenly trying to keep any heavy items over the axle. This should make the load more stable. Car manufacturers usually specify the ideal nose weight for a caravan/trailer when loaded.
Drive at a safe speed and lower it when driving in adverse weather conditions.
Try to keep the engine revs down by staying in the higher gears to prevent over heating. If you intend to tow on a regular basis then you can obtain extra cooling parts for your vehicle such as a larger fan etc.
Keep to the legal speed limit. The maximum speed for towing a trailer/caravan with a car in the UK is 60mph for motorways and dual carriageways, 50mph for single carriageways and 30mph in built-up areas. Maximum speed limits will vary across Europe.
Your trailer or caravan must be fitted with an approved registration plate.
By law, when towing during darkness your trailer will need to be fitted with:
Two red side lights at the rear
Number plate light
At least one rear fog light (if the trailer is more than 1.3m wide)
It is an offence to tow a trailer or caravan with passengers in them.
Reversing your vehicle while towing is particularly trick and can require a lot of practice. Try to twist in your seat to look as straight back as possible. This gives you the best view of how your trailer/caravan is responding to your steering.