13 Jan 2022

Law Changes for Towing Call for Increased Safety Focus

Recent changes to towing rules and regulations will heighten the need to focus on safety and security while doing it.

From mid-December last year, anyone who passed their car driving test after 1st January 1997 can now tow a trailer up to 3,500kg Maximum Authorised Mass.

That is a shift away from needing to take a test before towing a trailer or caravan. The penalty for attempting this without having taken the test was a £90 fine and the possibility of six points on a driver’s licence.

With control over such a large mass behind a vehicle, it can make the driving experience, in terms of weight, angles and turning ratios, significantly different to what a driver may be used to.

Therefore, it is vital that drivers take extra care if they’re planning on heading off on a caravan holiday or towing a particularly large trailer.

What precautions should be taken when towing?

With the potential for more people towing for the first time now the new regulations are in place, the DVLA has issued a lengthy list of guidance and expectations of the driver in relation to this.

This includes the need to be insured to drive the combination of vehicle and trailer or caravan, ensuring safety and coupling checks are carried out before each journey, as well as allowing additional space when overtaking and turning, particularly at junctions.

What understanding should you have?

There are certain things a driver should know when towing, including the maximum weight your car can tow, how to couple and uncouple a trailer or caravan safely, that you can’t drive in the outside lane of a three-lane road and how to steer correctly when reversing a vehicle with a trailer or caravan attached.

This is just a brief overview of the requirements suggested by the DVLA. You can find a more extensive list on their website.

With increased weight and stress on tyres when towing, it is also important, especially with the weather becoming more dangerous for drivers, to check tyre integrity and tread depth regularly to ensure they comply with legal requirements.

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