With spring arriving and the weather improving, a lot of caravan owners will be thinking about this year’s first trip away. With sales of caravans on the rise, it’s apparent that more and more people are using them to holiday in the UK so it pays to know the current laws and how to keep on the right side of the law.
Did you know?
There are an estimated 555,000 touring caravans in the UK. That’s a lot of caravans on the road and drivers who can benefit from our handy tips to avoid a £1,000 fine.
Our top driving tips
- Do you have the right license to tow your caravan? You passed your test so you’re legal, right? Well there is no such thing as a ‘trailer licence’ but dependent on the weight you are towing and when you passed your test, you might need to take an additional driving test;
- If you passed your driving test before 1 January 1997 you’re generally allowed to drive a vehicle and trailer/caravan combination up to 8,250kg
- If you passed after 1 January 1997 and have an ordinary category B (car) licence, you can drive a vehicle and trailer/caravan combo up to 3,500kg
- From 19 January 2013 drivers passing a category B (car and small vehicle) test can tow a small trailer/caravan of up to 750kg. (more info link here?)
- Does my vehicle have adequate towing capacity? The maximum weight your car can safely tow (i.e. fully loaded car plus fully loaded trailer/caravan) is normally listed in the handbook. The RAC has a great guide here, and you should also remember that you can only tow something that is a maximum of 2.55 meters wide and 7 meters long. Towing something too heavy is not only illegal but can also do serious damage to your car.
- Safe towing: Make sure your tow bar is ‘type approved’ meeting EU regulations and is the right type for your car. Never carry passengers in the caravan when you’re towing it. And ensure your number plate is BS approved, shows your car’s registration number, and is illuminated at night.
- Don’t forget you are towing a caravan: Obvious but give yourself more time and space especially taking corners and never exceed 50mph on single carriageways or 60mph on dual carriageways.
- Pack your caravan sensibly: Try to keep the caravan as light as possible with the heavier items low down and close to the axle.