New to Caravanning? Part 2 – Safe & Legal Towing

Safe & Legal Towing

There are a couple of things to consider before placing a deposit on a new caravan. You will need to ensure that you can legally tow you chosen caravan and that your car can tow the caravan. However, don’t worry. Although they need considerations we can help disperse any concerns or fears of legal and safe towing. In this section we will discuss the legal implications of towing, and discuss the safety of towing with your car.

Your driving licence

Depending on when you passed your driving test will dictate the size (and weight) of the caravan you can legally tow. There is a magic date of January 1st 1997. For UK drivers that passed their test before this date, they would have more entitlements on their driving licences and can tow larger caravans. If you passed your driving test before January 1st 1997 you can tow with a combined weight (car and caravan) of up to 7,500Kg.

If, however you passed after this date you can only tow with a combined weight of 3,500Kg which can limit the caravans that you can tow with your car. However, don’t lose heart, you can gain that extra entitlement, commonly known as the B+E test by sitting an additional driving test that focuses on towing ability.

For more information and to check what your driving licence entitles you to drive, visit the Gov.uk site :

https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence

Safe towing

M4 linking Swindon & Reading Caravans

A second check that needs to be completed is the ability of your car to a caravan. Our sales team can take the details of your towing vehicle and match it to your chosen caravan. The whole process is known as outfit matching and the following areas are taken into consideration:

Gross vehicle weight

This is the total mass of the car with occupants, fuel and payload. This value can be found on the cars VIN plate.

Gross train weight

Again, this can be found on the vehicles VIN plate and this weight dictates the total weight of the car and caravan.

Max towing capacity

The car manufacturer will have a maximum value of what the car is capable of towing. This can be calculated like this:

Max towing capacity = Gross vehicle weight – Gross Train Weight

Nose weight

This is the maximum weight that will bear down on the tow bar, again dictated by the car manufacturer and the tow bar manufacturer.

If all this sounds too complicated, don’t worry. Our sales team will simply take the details of your car (i.e) the make, model and age, and compare it to your chosen caravan. A report is generated and you will clearly see how well your towing vehicle compares to the caravan.

You may have also heard a phrase titled “The 85% rule”. This is not legislation, but a recommendation or “rule of thumb”. The recommendation states that a fully loaded caravan should not be more than 85% of the kerb weight of the tow car. If your chosen outfit does not quite match up, our sales team will be able to advise you with recommendations on vehicle variants, or similar caravan models that may also help.

Towing Courses

In all cases, if you are inexperienced in towing we highly recommend you attend a towing course to cover the basics on safe towing. We recommend the following driver training schools:

Swindon:  KJC Driver Training.  Tel: 0845 8051678 or 07847 182521

Oxford:  Trailer Training UK.  Tel: 0345 2602508 or 01235 375220

Reading:  Martins Driving Academy.  Tel: 0800 614745 or 07976 263450