Towing can be a daunting thought but the right level of
training, in appropriate vehicles, gives you the best start to your towing
career. We only use dedicated tow vehicles, such as vans or 4x4s, not the type
of vehicle you may expect to use when first learning to drive.
We will help you in any way we can and provide training in a relaxed and
professional manner at all times.
The rules regarding towing may seem complicated
but here we will try to simplify them:
1. The requirement for taking
the B+E test does not apply if the Maximum Authorised Mass (or MAM) of the
trailer is under 750Kgs.
(The MAM is the maximum potential weight of the trailer and it's contents as
shown on the weight plate or manufacturer's handbook and not the actual
For example, most horse trailers have a MAM of between 2 tonne and 2.5
tonne; most caravans are between 1.2 and 1.5 tonne.
If you passed your car test prior to 1st January 1997, you do not need to take
the B+E test.
2. If the MAM of the trailer is
over 750Kgs you need to take the test if the following weight
The combined MAM of the car and trailer
exceeds 3500kgs (3.5 tonnes)
The MAM of
the trailer is greater than the unladen weight of the towing vehicle.
3. If you passed your car test
on or after 1 January 1997 and either of the above weight combinations applies,
you will need to take the test. This will give you B+E entitlement. Once you
have passed your test, you are still restricted to a 3500kgs (MAM) vehicle but
can then tow any size and weight of trailer that vehicle is authorised to tow
(this weight is determined by the manufacturer and can be found in the handbook
or on a weight plate somewhere on the vehicle; usually on the bulkhead inside
the engine compartment)
4. If the combined MAM is less
than 3500Kgs, and the MAM of the trailer is less than the unladen weight of the
vehicle, you will not need to take the test.
There we are - simple isn't
The test is conducted by the LGV examiners at the lorry test centres, taking
about an hour to an hour and a half. The first part is off road, comprising of
a reversing manoeuvre and disconnect/connect the trailer. These are conducted
at the test centre. The on road part is a full driving test and you will be
expected to drive to a very high standard. Particular emphasis is placed on use
of mirrors, forward planning, general observations, road positioning and
consideration for other road users.
What does the test consist of?
We tailor our training to suit you and can offer fixed courses of 2,3 or 4 days
depending on your previous experience and your current skills level. As a rough
guide, I have found that people who have some experience of towing and
reversing need 2 days, which includes test on second day; those with some
experience but need further training to get to test standard, need 3 days, with
test on third day. In some, rare, cases, 4 days may be required but this is
enerally for people who have no experience of towing at all and are very
nervous or anxious about doing so. Set course prices are lower than paying by
the day - see our prices page for details. Be aware, however, you will be
taking a gamble on how much training you need without, perhaps, fully knowing
what is required for the test. It is strict and a high standard of driving is
expected - probably in a different style to how you normally drive. This all
takes time to adapt to and, sadly, time is money!
What training can you provide and much will I
However, if you are not sure on how much you may need, we run an initial half
day training/assessment session of about 4 hours. During this time we take you
through the off-road manouevres in detail and then spend as much time as we can
on the road, taking you through a variety of different road conditions. At the
end of this session, we can explain the areas that may need attention. After
that, it is up to you. If you have your own vehicle and trailer (and someone to
accompany you) you could practice on your own then come back for further
assessment when you think you are ready. Or, you take the full on training with
us - this can be in half day, or whole day, sessions spread over a period of
time to help you budget for it, or as a block with the test at the end. Waiting
times for tests vary but are usually around 2-3 weeks, although we try to have
a small number of tests slots pre-booked for your to choose from.
We can do this either way. If you have your own then it makes sense to do the
training in that, as this is what you are going to be driving in the future.
However, if you don't have one, or don't want to use your own, we can provide
either car or trailer, or both. We believe our responsibility is to provide you
with the necessary skills to enable you to tow safely. Therefore, we use
vehicles that are similar to those you are going to use after the training, not
something just about adequate to get you through the test. We currently use a
Toyota HiAce van (with side windows and rear seats) with a twin axle trailer; a
Hyundai Terracan with an Ifor Williams general purpose trailer and Toyota RAV4
with 20ft caravan for caravan courses. I am told we are the only company in the
area that uses an actual caravan for caravan courses - seems bizarre to me!
Do we have to have our own vehicle and trailer
or can you provide one?