What are the legal requirements when towing a caravan?
Before purchasing and towing a caravan you need to make sure that you have the correct driving licence to drive your vehicle and tow a caravan. You will also need to have a valid MOT, Tax and insurance for your vehicle. Your caravan does not need to have an MOT but it should ideally be serviced annually to make sure that it is roadworthy. You do not need insurance for your caravan by law, but it is recommended especially cover for theft or damage.
What licence do I need to tow my caravan?
The two main licence categories needed to tow a caravan are B and B+E. Sometimes if the towing vehicle is over 3.5Tonnes then a C1+E licence would be needed. For this guide, we will focus on category B and B+E licences.
Depending on when you passed your licence test for your car (category b) will depend on the vehicle weight and caravan you can tow. See below for the combinations you can drive:
Category B (Car Licence)
If you passed your test before 1 January 1997
You are usually allowed to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8,250kg maximum authorised mass (MAM)*
If you passed your test on or after 1 January 1997
You can drive vehicles up to 3,500kg MAM with a trailer up to 750kg
You can also tow heavier trailers if the total MAM of the vehicle and trailer is not more than 3,500kg.
*MAM – the maximum authorised mass mean:
Maximum authorised mass (MAM) means the weight of a vehicle or trailer including the maximum load that can be carried safely when it’s being used on the road.
It may also be known at gross vehicle weight (GVW), it may be listed in the owner’s manual or on the VIN plate of the vehicles.
If you passed your licence before the 1st January 1997 it is likely that you are able to pull an average caravan weighing in the region of 2,500kg using a towing vehicle of 3,000Kg. However, it is essential that the weight of the trailer or caravan does not exceed the towing vehicle weight.
If you passed on or after 1st January 1997 it is unlikely that you will be able to tow the average caravan on this licence. Unless for instance your towing vehicle is 2,000kg, this would leave you 1000kg to be able to tow. This is because the MAM of the vehicle and caravan cannot exceed 3500kg.
In this instance It would be recommended to increase your licence to a B+E to ensure that you are able to tow your caravan with your towing vehicle.
Once a B+E licence has been obtained you can then drive a vehicle with a MAM of 3,500kg with a trailer. The weight of the trailer is dependent on the B+E ‘valid from’ date shown on your licence.
If the date is:
Before 19th January 2013 – You can tow any size trailer (providing it weighs less than the towing vehicle)
After the 19th January 2013, you can tow a trailer with a MAM of up to 3,500Kg.
By obtaining the B+E licence you will be able to safely drive a standard vehicle and standard caravan.
Where can purchase caravan training lessons in the UK?
2 Start Training offer a variety of B+E courses. Our courses vary by duration, depending on your level of expertise and confidence. We have 2, 3, and 4-day courses
Each of these courses will provide you with the practical road experience to drive a car with a trailer. Our courses will also teach students how to couple and uncouple the trailer and reversing exercises. There is also a 1.5hr practical lesson before each test.
The trailers that we use to teach our students are: Debon Roadster C500 Twin Axle Box Van with a maximum gross weight of 2000kg. We also use Toyota Hilux Double Cab Pick up Trucks.
We have 4 depots, Portsmouth, Southampton, Reading and Worthing where we can train students to complete their B+E test.
You do not need to complete any theories, medicals or provisional licences to gain this licence.
We do also offer C1+E packages If you need to use a heavier towing vehicle to tow your caravan such as a heavy goods vehicle over 3.5tonnes. Contact us on 02392 123555 to discuss your requirements today.