If you passed your driving test after 1997 you could be fined £1,000 for towing a caravan
DRIVERS who passed their test after 1997 could face harsh fines if they try to tow a caravan as the holiday season approaches.
Anyone with a regular car licence is restricted on what they can tow, but motorists might be unaware they need to pass an extra test before they get out on the road with a heavy trailer or caravan.
According to the DVLA, anyone who was issued with a regular Category B (car) licence after January 1, 1997 can tow a trailer that weighs up to 750kg, as long as their car has a maximum authorised mass of no more than 3,500kg, or a trailer over 750kg, where the combined weight of the trailer and towing vehicle is no more than 3,500kg.
Maximum authorised mass simply describes the total weight of a vehicle including its maximum load – this measurement is usually found in the owner’s manual for your car.
Anyone who breaks these conditions could face a fine up to £1,000 and be slapped with three penalty points.
With the average weight of a mid-sized car sitting at around 2,000kg, not including its loaded weight, motorists don’t have much room to move up to anything larger than a loaded trailer.
And while it doesn’t rule out all caravans, larger ones would push the combined weight with the vehicle above 3,500kg, leaving the driver at risk of a fine.
For example, a Category B licence holder driving a mid-sized SUV and towing a family caravan would likely be breaking the law.
Drivers that wish to tow heavy trailers or caravans need to apply for an additional B+E condition on their licence, which involves taking another test.
Those motorists who passed their test before 1997 already had this condition on their licence, meaning they can usually drive a trailer and vehicle combination up to 8,250kg.
Anyone wanting to tow a caravan should be sure to check its weight, along with their car’s maximum authorised mass before setting off.
The RAC has a guide to help motorists work out their towing capacity.
Rod Dennis, RAC spokesperson, said: “Motorists are entitled to drive and tow vehicles of different sizes and weights depending on what categories are shown on their driving licence.
“It might seem odd, but anyone who passed their driving test before 1 January 1997 is entitled to drive and tow considerably heavier vehicles than those who passed their test on or after this date.
“Pre-1997 licences, for instance, permit motorists to drive minibuses and tow heavier trailers.
“In practice, this means holders of older driving licences can drive laden vehicles that weigh up to 7,500kg – and can also tow a trailer, so long as the combined weight including the load doesn’t exceed 8,250kg.
“This entitlement easily covers most ‘car plus caravan’ combinations.
“But drivers who have passed their test from 1 January 1997 onwards can only drive a laden vehicle that weighs up to 3,500kg.
the road laws you need to know
“They can also tow a trailer so long as the combined laden weight – vehicle plus trailer – is no more than 3,500kg.
“So while they will be legal to drive a lighter car together with a caravan, a heavier towing vehicle – such as a 4×4 – plus a larger caravan is likely to weigh more than the 3,500kg permitted.
“Anyone looking to tow with a heavier vehicle should firstly check their licence to see if they are entitled do so – if they are, they should ensure they are completely confident doing so and get extra tuition if needed.
“If they are not, the only option is to take an additional driving test.”
Source: The Sun Motors – If you passed your driving test after 1997 you could be fined £1,000 for towing a caravan