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A GUIDE TO SAFE AND LEGAL TOWING  

Car and trailer practical driving test

If you passed your car driving test on or after 1 January 1997 and you now want to tow a caravan or certain trailers, you may have to take a specific practical test.

Car licences obtained before 1 January 1997
If you passed a car test before 1 January 1997 you keep your existing entitlement to tow trailers until your licence expires. This means you’re generally entitled to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8.25 tonnes maximum authorised mass (MAM). You also have entitlement to drive a minibus with a trailer over 750kgs MAM.

Car licences obtained on or after 1 January 1997
If you passed a car test on or after 1 January 1997 you’re limited to vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes maximum authorised mass towing a trailer up to 750kgs, or a vehicle and trailer combination up to 3.5 tonnes MAM providing the MAM of the trailer doesn’t exceed the unladen mass of the towing vehicle. You will need to pass an additional driving test in B+E if you wish to tow a caravan or trailer combination which exceeds these weight limits.

The car and trailer practical driving test
The car and trailer test (B+E) is based on the lorry driving test and lasts for approximately one hour. Please note that B+E tests are conducted at vocational (bus and lorry) driving test centres.

The towing test (B+E) includes vehicle safety questions, an off-road reverse manoeuvre, a controlled stop, uncoupling and coupling of the trailer and driving on the road.

You won’t be expected to carry out the following exercises:
• Emergency stop on the public road
• Reversing round a corner
• Reverse parking
• Turning in the road
Vehicle safety questions
These are basic safety checks that you should carry out to ensure the vehicle is safe for use. Although some checks may involve opening the bonnet to identify where fluid levels would be checked, you won’t be asked to touch a hot engine or physically check fluid levels.

As vehicle technology advances, more and more vehicles are being equipped with electronic diagnostic systems, which inform the driver of the state of the engine fluid levels and tyre pressures. It will be acceptable for you to refer to the vehicle information system (if fitted) when answering questions on fluid levels or tyre pressures.

You will be asked five questions, that will be a combination of ’show me’ and ’tell me’. A driving fault will be recorded for each incorrect answer to a maximum of four driving faults. If you answer all five questions incorrectly, a serious fault will be recorded.

For a list of the questions you can be asked on your driving test, please click on the vehicle safety questions link below.


Download ’vehicle safety questions for car and trailer tests’ (PDF, 10K)