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Towing a trailer or caravan

Before purchasing a caravan or trailer you will need check what gross (combined) vehicle weight you are allowed to drive with your license, because it will differ depending on when you got your licence.
  • Licences obtained before Jan 1 1997 - 8.25 metric tonnes or whatever is indicated on your licence
  • Licences obtained after Jan 1 1997 - 3.5 metric tonnes with trailer of up to 750kgs

The towing vehicle

It's important to choose the right car for the job if you want to tow a large trailer or caravan. It will need to have a reasonably powerful engine, sufficient to pull the trailer/caravan up a modest incline without difficulty. The car should preferably have a long wheelbase and be a reasonably heavy vehicle like a large 4 X 4.

Make sure that your vehicle is properly maintained. Check that all your bulbs are working, your brakes and brake pads are in good condition, and that your tyres are at the correct pressure and have sufficient tread amongst other things.

European regulations state that tow bars must be fitted to the recommended fitting point of the vehicle manufacturer.

If it does not say so in your insurance policy, check with your insurer whether you are covered for towing a caravan or trailer.

Speed restrictions for towing vehicles

For towing vehicles, the UK speed limit on a dual carriageway or motorway is 60mph. On a single carriageway unless indicated otherwise the speed limit for towing a caravan or trailer is 50mph.

If you are travelling outside the UK the speed restrictions will vary from country to country so you will have to do your homework and make sure you know what the restrictions are for each particular country.

Weight and length restrictions

The weight of your braked trailer or caravan must not be more than 85% of the kerb weight of the towing vehicle. This will be found probably at the back of your vehicles manual in the 'vehicle specifications section'. Your unbraked trailer/caravan should have a gross maximum weight of 750kg or half the kerb weight of the towing vehicle.

For those unsure of the difference between braked and unbraked weights, the 'unbraked' weight literally means a trailer/caravan that does not have it's own brakes. The towing vehicle will have more control over a trailer/caravan if it has it's own set of brakes.

Excluding the A-frame and hitch, the length of your trailer/caravan should not me more than 7 metres in length, and the width should be no more than 2.3m.

What you need on the rear of your trailer/caravan

Because your trailer/caravan will obviously obscure the rear of your vehicle, it is a requirement to replicate the functionality of signalling equipment on the rear of your trailer caravan. This includes:-

  • Brake lights
  • Red rear driving lights
  • Indicators
  • Number plate
  • Number plate light
  • A rear fog light
  • Two red triangular reflectors
Remember that it is illegal for anyone to be inside your trailer or caravan when it is moving. Animals are permitted inside moving trailers/caravans although it is not advisable.

Just give us a call on 0845 6768898 or start your free claim enquiry using our online claim form.

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