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Towing is something you might want or need to do all year round. In the winter, towing can be essential when vehicles get stuck in the snow. In the summer, however, towing can also be something you need to do to have the holiday you want. Towing your caravan, trailer full of holiday luggage or bikes is just something you have to negotiate if you want to live summer life to the full.


And then there are all those other times when towing makes your life so much easier. Taking all that junk to the tip in spring after your big spring clean, for example, or even moving house or helping your friends out when they’re doing the same.  So it’s essential, if you have the equipment for towing, that you know the exact guidance around it. Not only will this keep you and your possessions safe, but it will also keep you on the right side of the law.

CAT C1 Licence

The right licence

The first thing you need to be sure of is that you have the right driving licence to tow anything behind your car. This means you will need a full driving licence, and then you will need to take note of when you passed your test. If you passed before 1997 you are already entitled to tow a trailer behind your car up to a combined weight of 8.25 tonnes.


If you passed after January 1st 1997, you are only entitled to tow a trailer behind your car which gives you a combined weight of 4.25 tonnes, with your car weighing 3.5 tonnes and the trailer up to 750kgs. Any heavier weights you want to tow would mean your total weight would need to drop to 3.5 tonnes. So, as you can see, it’s not completely straightforward.


Licence upgrades

If you did pass your test after 1st January 1997, it is possible to upgrade your licence so you can tow more weight. By taking a CAT B+E Towing test you can add to your entitlements by answering some questions about towing and doing some practical demonstrations. There is a small cost associated with this test.


Other factors

The additional information you need to know is your car’s towing capability. It’s no good knowing you can have a combined weight of 8.25 tonnes if your car won’t handle a trailer that brings you up to that weight. You should be able to find this information in your vehicle’s handbook.


By the same token, if you’re using a trailer you need to know what weight it can handle, because it might not be as much as your licence allows you to tow. One of the ways you can check this is by taking it to a weighbridge, if you can’t find the information on the trailer itself.


In addition, you’ll need to make sure you know the width and length of your trailer and that it complies with the regulations which limit it to 2.55m wide and 7m long. Your tow bar should meet EU regulations and be suitable for your vehicle and trailer You should make sure your mirrors are all safely in order, that your trailer brakes are working, as well as any brakes in a caravan you’re towing if it weighs over 750kgs. All number plates must be visible, with the same plates on your trailer as your car. Lighting should also be fitted and working on the trailer.


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