Driving Licences

Having the correct driving licence to tow a caravan

Most drivers are entitled to tow a caravan or trailer without updating their licence, but younger drivers and those aged over 70 need to check exactly what their licence allows them to tow.

If you passed your driving test after 1 January 1997, your licence will be more restricted when towing. For heavier outfit combinations, a B+E or C1+E licence may be required - these categories are no longer included as standard, meaning an additional test may be required.

If you have a Category B licence obtained prior to 1 January 1997 you can drive:

  • Towed outfits: any outfit where the combined MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass) does not exceed 8,250kg. (over which weight would have required an additional test pre-1997) However, our recommendations on weight ratio between trailer and towing vehicle remain at 85%.

  • Rigid motorhomes without a trailer: any rigid motor caravan without a trailer where the MAM does not exceed 7,500kg.

  • Rigid motorhomes with a trailer: provided the total MAM of trailer and motor caravan does not exceed 8,250kg no further test is required, but our recommendations on weight ratio between trailer and towing vehicle remain at 85%.

If you have a Category B licence obtained on or after 1 January 1997 you can drive:

  • Towed outfits: drivers restricted to a combined MAM of 3,500kg and the trailer MAM must not exceed the unladen weight of the towing vehicle (85% ratio remains strongly recommended). If this MAM is to be exceeded, an additional E Test pass is required.

  • Rigid motorhomes without a trailer: drivers restricted to a MAM of 3,500kg until obtaining a pass of the LGV test, after which the driver is qualified to 7,500kg MAM.

  • Rigid motorhomes towing a trailer: provided the trailer does not exceed 750kg and the combined MAM does not exceed 4,250kg no further test is required for this type of outfit. However if the trailer MAM exceeds 750kg then a. applies for a vehicle less than 3,500kg. Otherwise an LGV test plus an E Test is needed.

The Driving Instructors’ Association also has a list of qualified driving instructors that can tutor those wishing to take the B+E driving test - visit the Driving Standards website at www.dsa.gov.uk

Information -What can I tow?

Licence obtained before 1 January 1997: Combined car and caravan outfit up to 8250kg

Licence obtained after 1 January 1997: Combined car and caravan outfit up to 3500kg

Over 70 years of age (provided licence obtained before 1 January 1997): Only vehicles that can be safely towed by a 3500kg towing vehicle

Your driving entitlement on renewing at the age of 70

On reaching the age of 70, drivers will retain their driving entitlement for Category B and Category B+E (provided Category B+E was held prior to the expiry date of their driving licence). Category B+E entitles drivers to drive a motor vehicle (i.e. car, van or 4x4) not exceeding 3500kg Maximum Authorised Mass towing any weight trailer/caravan within the prescribed maximum towing weight. The maximum towing weight is specified in the technical data section of the vehicle manufacturer’s handbook. However, we recommendation on weight ratio between trailer and towing vehicle remain at 85%.

When drivers of any vehicle over a MAM of 3,500kg reach 70 years of age and their driving licence expires they must pass the D4 Medical Test and pass the required standard eyesight test at 20.5 metres/67 feet with glasses used when driving. This legislation became effective from 1 January 1998.

Motorhomes and trailers

Most motorhomes when towing all but the smallest of trailers are likely to exceed the combined maximum allowable mass which means at least a B+E licence entitlement is required.

Owners without this entitlement on their licence need to check carefully before towing with their vehicle. Those considering a motorhome which in itself has a maximum allowable mass of more than 3,500kg (without a trailer) should also check the detailed driving licence advice in the leaflet linked to above, as further restrictions apply.

Credit to www.caravanclub.co.uk

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