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.
a caravan or trailer for the first time can be daunting.
It takes practice to get used to the extra length and
weight aswell as the towing rules. You will however get
used to it but be prepared.
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
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
By law, when towing during darkness your trailer will
need to be fitted with:
Two red triangular reflectors
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)
You caravan or trailer does not currently need an MOT
but DO insure that it is roadworthy.
It is an offence to tow a trailer or caravan with passengers
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.