Are you legal to Tow?
The penalties for towing without a valid licence may be 9 points, maximum fine of £5000, possible impounding of vehicle and trailer and you will be invalidating your insurance. It is not uncommon for people to be unaware that they are towing illegally.
Is it Worth the Risk?
You will need to pass a separate test (Licence B+E) to tow a trailer, horse box or caravan weighing over 750kg MAM and where the MAM of the combination of towing vehicles in category B and trailer exceeds 3500kg.
MAM is the Maximum Authorised Mass, also known as the gross vehicle weight. Its the weight of the trailer/ vehicle plus the maximum permitted payload.
Category B+E allows vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes MAM to be combined with trailers in excess of 750kgs MAM.
All people who want to tow trailers or caravans above the B licence limit. i.e. Council and utilities personnel, caravan owners, horse-box owners, boat owners need to gain this entitlement.
So new Category B driving licence holders, from January 1997 have to pass the B+E Driving Standards Agency practical driving test for car and trailer. No medical examination or additional theory test is required.
There are 6 parts to the driving test:
You’ll drive for around 50 minutes.
You’ll have to read a number plate from a distance of:
New-style number plates start with 2 letters followed by 2 numbers, for example, AB51 ABC.
You’ll fail your driving test if you fail the eyesight check. The test will end.
You’ll be asked 5 vehicle safety questions known as the 'show me, tell me' These test that you know how to carry out basic safety checks.
An example of the 'show me' questions could be the following:
2.12 Show me how you would switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you would use it/them (no need to exit vehicle).
Operate switch (turn on dipped headlights and ignition if necessary). Check warning light is on. Explain use.
2.8 Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine coolant level and tell me how you would check that the engine has the correct level.
Identify high/low level markings on header tank where fitted or radiator filler cap, and describe how to top up to correct level.
An example of the 'tell me' question could be:
2.15 Tell me how you’d check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.
No cuts and bulges, 1.6mm of tread depth across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tyre, and around the entire outer circumference.
You’ll have to show that you can manoeuvre your car and trailer into a restricted space and stop at a certain point.
The examiner will show you a diagram of where to reverse your vehicle.
It is important to use the smallest-possible movements of the wheel, because even a touch of steering can make a big difference. Be patient and wait for the trailer to respond.
You’ll drive in various road and traffic conditions, including motorways where possible:
The examiner will give you directions that you should follow. Driving test routes are not published, so you cannot check them before your test.
You’ll be asked to pull over and pull away during your test, including:
You’ll have to drive for about 10 minutes by following either:
The examiner can show you a simple diagram to help you understand where you’re going when following verbal directions.
You cannot use a sat nav.
If You Cannot See Traffic Signs:
If you cannot see a traffic sign (for example, because it’s covered by trees), the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next one.
Forgetting The Directions:
You can ask the examiner to confirm the directions if you forget them. It does not matter if you do not remember every direction.
Going Off The Route:
Your test result will not be affected if you go off the route, unless you make a fault while doing it.The examiner will help you get back on the route if you take a wrong turning.
You’ll be asked to:
You can carry on if you make a mistake during your driving test.
If you make a serious or dangerous mistake (sometimes called a ‘major fault’), your examiner will stop the test and direct you back to the driving test centre. This is to minimise the amount of time you need to spend in the car together.
There are 3 types of faults you can make:
You’ll pass your driving test if you make:
The examiner will:
If you choose not to get your licence sent to you automatically, you’ve got 2 years to apply for it. After that you’ll need to take the test again.
You can start towing straight away when you’ve passed your test. You do not need to wait for your full licence to arrive.
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