There is often some confusion over what type of driving licence you require to tow a caravan or trailer. Below are some guidelines to what you need to know, as provided by Directgov. If in any doubt over your entitlement, please consult the Driving Licencing Agency, or the Directgov website below.
Car licences held before 1 January 1997All drivers who passed a car test before 1 January 1997 retain their existing entitlement to tow trailers until their licence expires. This means they are generally entitled to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8.25 tonnes MAM. ( maximum authorised mass (MAM) of vehicles and trailers - this should be taken to mean the permissible maximum weight, also known as the gross vehicle weight )
Car driving licence first obtained since 1 January 1997
If you passed a car test on or after 1 January 1997 you're limited to vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes maximum authorised mass towing a trailer up to 750kgs, or a vehicle and trailer combination up to 3.5 tonnes MAM providing the MAM of the trailer doesn't exceed the unladen mass of the towing vehicle. You will need to pass an additional driving test in B+E if you wish to tow a caravan or trailer combination which exceeds these weight limits.
The car and trailer practical driving test
The car and trailer test (B+E) is based on the lorry driving test and lasts for approximately one hour. Please note that B+E tests are conducted at vocational (bus and lorry) driving test centres.
The towing test (B+E) includes vehicle safety questions, an off-road reverse manoeuvre, a controlled stop, uncoupling and coupling of the trailer and driving on the road.
You won't be expected to carry out the following exercises:
- emergency stop on the public road
- reversing round a corner
- reverse parking
- turning in the road
Vehicle safety questions
These are basic safety checks that you should carry out to ensure the vehicle is safe for use. Although some checks may involve opening the bonnet to identify where fluid levels would be checked, you won't be asked to touch a hot engine or physically check fluid levels.
As vehicle technology advances, more and more vehicles are being equipped with electronic diagnostic systems, which inform the driver of the state of the engine fluid levels and tyre pressures. It will be acceptable for you to refer to the vehicle information system (if fitted) when answering questions on fluid levels or tyre pressures.
You will be asked five questions, that will be a combination of 'show me' and 'tell me'. A driving fault will be recorded for each incorrect answer to a maximum of four driving faults. If you answer all five questions incorrectly, a serious fault will be recorded.
For a list of the questions you can be asked on your driving test, please click on the vehicle safety questions link below.
Download vehicle safety questions for car and trailer tests (PDF, 27K)
How to book a practical driving test
You can book a car and trailer test online, over the phone or by post. You'll need a credit or debit card and your driving licence number to book a test online or over the phone. To book online, please click on the link called 'book a practical test online' below. To book over the phone, please use the national booking line - 0870 01 01 372.
Book a practical test online
If you want to pay for your practical test by cheque or postal order, you'll need to complete the practical test application form which you can download from the link 'download the practical test application form for cars and trailers'.
Download an application form for a practical driving test (PDF, 168K)
This article is meant only as a guide and was correct at the time of publishing on 26th May 2009. You are responsible for ensuring all regulations are met, and laws correctly adhered to. If in any doubt over your entitlement, please consult the Driving Licencing Agency, or the Directgov website below.
For more information, or if you have any questions, please visit the DirectGov website