Towing the caravan and the law


When you are towing a caravan there are certain legal requirements that must be met. Firstly, lets start with what your driving licence entitles you to tow. Generally, the longer you have held your licence, the less restrictions there are. If you passed your test before 1 January 1997 you are entitled to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8.25 tonnes Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM). If you passed your test after 1 January 1997 and have an ordinary category B (car) licence, you can drive either: a vehicle up to 3.5 tonnes or 3,500 kg MAM, towing a trailer of up to 750kg MAM (with a combined weight of up to 4,250kg in total) or a trailer over 750kg MAM as long as it is no more than the unladen or kerb weight of the towing vehicle (with a combined weight of up to3,500kg in total). If you passed your test after 19 January 2013, a category B licence entitles you to tow small trailers weighing no more than 750kg or trailers weighing more than 750kg, where the combined weight of the towing vehicle and the trailer isn't more than 3,500kg.

Seeing what's behind you

When towing, you must have an adequate view of the road behind you. If your caravan or trailer is wider than the rear of the towing vehicle, you may need to fit suitable towing mirrors. If you tow without proper towing mirrors you can be prosecuted by the police, given 3 points on your licence and fined up to 1,000. Directive EC2003/97 is more specific. You need to be able to see 20M to the rear and 4M either side of your car and van. The only way to do this is to ensure towing mirrors are on both sides of the car. However, this still leaves you with blind spots and also no through vision which can be disconcerting. The good news is that this can be overcome quite inexpensively by fitting a rear-view camera system.