New Laws for Towing a Caravan in the UK
Did you know the rules regarding towing a caravan or a trailer in the UK are changing? Depending on when your licence was issued these new towing laws may or may not affect you. So read on to make sure you are always legal when you have your caravan in tow.
The Previous Towing Laws
For Licences Issued Before 1st January 1997
If you had your licence issued before 1st January 1997, these new changes will not affect you. The law states that people who fall into this category will continue to be allowed to drive a vehicle/caravan combination up to a maximum combined weight of 8,250kg maximum authorised mass (MAM). If you have had your licence issued before 1st January 1997 you are also allowed to drive a minibus with a caravan that weighs over 750kg, MAM.
Note: MAM is the maximum loaded weight for the vehicle.
For Licences Issued Between 1st January 1997 & 18th January 2013
Those in this category have previously been able to drive the following:
- A van or car up to 3,500kg MAM towing a caravan up to a MAM of 750kg (total vehicle/caravan MAM of 4,250kg).
- A caravan that exceeds 750kg MAM, but is no heavier than the unladen weight of the towing vehicle (up to a total weight of 3,500kg).
For you to tow anything heavier than the above you would have had to take a car and caravan/trailer driving test to gain the appropriate qualification.
For Licences Issued After 19th January 2013
Those who gained their car driving licence after 19th January 2013 have previously been able to drive the following combinations.
- Tow a caravan or a trailer up to 750kg MAM with a van or car weighing up to 3,500kg MAM (with a total combined MAM of 4,250kg).
- Tow a caravan or trailer over 750kg MAM as long as the combined weight of caravan/trailer and vehicle does not exceed 3,500kg, MAM.
To tow anything exceeding the above you would have had to take a car and caravan/trailer driving test to qualify.
What Happens When the New Laws are in Place?
The new laws are a simplification of the rules regarding towing caravans and trailers. Once in place, those who passed their car driving test after the 1st January 1997 will now be allowed to tow a caravan or trailer by a vehicle, as long as the total combined vehicle weight does not exceed 3,500kg, MAM.
For all of those who are affected by these changes, the DVLA will automatically update your licence record – so there is nothing you need to do! When you receive a new licence photocard you will see there is a new BE category endorsement (if you have previously taken a towing test you will already have this). For those who passed their car driving test before 1st January 1997, there will be no changes to your licence - you will continue to be allowed to tow the same caravan/trailer combination. For more information on this visit the government website here.
If You’re New to Towing
We would always encourage those who have no towing experience to get towing lessons – even though it is now not necessary. Driving can be completely different when you have a caravan in tow, so gaining some experience with a qualified instructor can help when it comes to towing your caravan on the road.
You should take some time to review the National Standard For Driving Cars & Light Vans as this sets out a range of skill sets and knowledge you should have before taking your caravan on the road.