Frequently Asked Questions

  • What can I tow with only a car licence?

If you have passed your car test before 3rd January 1997, you can tow a trailer up to the towing limit of the towing vehicle, normally up to a gross train weight of 8250kg. a trailer with a gross weight of 3500kg can be towed with overrun brakes. Trailers over 3500kg must be fitted with air-brakes.

 

If you passed your car test after 3rd January 1997 but before 19th January 2013, you can tow a trailer weighing up to 750kg with a car with a gross weight of 3500kg. You can tow a braked trailer over 750kg as long as the combined weight of the car and trailer does not exceed 3500kg.

 

If you passed your test after 19th January 2013, you can only tow a trailer as long as the combined gross train weight of 3500kg is not exceeded.

 

  • What is the maximum length and width of a trailer I can tow with a car licence?

The maximum length of trailer you can tow with a car is 7 metres long and the maximum width is 2.55 metres.

 

  • How long is the trailer towing practical test?

The time alloted for the towing test is 1.5 hours.  one hour of which is for the driving element of the test.

 

  • If my combination begins to snake, what shall I do?

If your combination begins to snake, ease off the gas pedal and let the speed reduce.  If you accelerate the snaking will probably become worse, if you brake, you could end up in a very dangerous situation with the trailer jack-knifing.

 

Snaking can be caused by a number of situations:

  • A mismatched combination or over weight trailer
  • Driving too fast
  • Load movement within the trailer
  • Passing a larger vehicle

 

  • Can I take a trailer towing test in an automatic car even though I have a manual car licence?

You can take a towing test in an automatic car, but you will be restricted to only tow with an automatic car.

  • Can I still tow a car?

A car being towed on either an unbraked A-frame or tow-pole, rope or tow-cord is technically an unbraked trailer and any trailer over 750kg must be braked.  Therefore normally towing a car could been seen as illegal as the braking and transmission system of the towing vehicle may not be sufficient for the combination.

 

However, a broken down vehicle in an unsafe position may be towed as an unbraked trailer, and by someone without a B+E licence, only to recover the broken down vehicle to a safe position.  As soon as the vehicle is no longer in an unsafe position, it must be unhitched.    

 

Transportation of a vehicle is considered differently from recovery of a vehicle and may be subject to different laws, such as the use of Tachgraphs and drivers working hours.  DVSA, formally VOSA, have produced a document relating to towing with an A-frame or a Dolly and is available from our Documents and downloads section.


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