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Trailer and caravan owners throughout the UK take to the roads every day, for recreational purposes and even for work related journeys. We naturally assume that all of these drivers have the right kind of licence necessary to tow legally. To that end, there are certain licencing requirements in place designed to ensure those who own trailers know how to tow safely and properly. If you are a trailer owner, you need to make sure you are following the requirements. Get a towing licence if the law says you need one.

towing licence

Technically speaking, there is no such thing as a ‘towing licence’ in the UK. We just use that term generically when talking about towing things such as utility trailers and caravans. The reality is that driving licences are divided into numerous categories based on weight and size. For example, your typical passenger car is a Category B vehicle while an HGV is classified as a Category C vehicle.

The four most common licences for trailer owners are:

We will briefly explain the differences between these later in this guide. For now, we want you to understand how important professional training is for towing trailers safely. Whether you need a special licence or not, training is key to understanding the basics behind towing a trailer; basics such as weight distribution, how weather affects handling, how to correctly choose the right tow vehicle and trailer combination, and so forth.

If you do need an enhanced driving licence, and most drivers do these days, you will need to take and pass the UK trailer test. This is not an easy test by any stretch of the imagination. It is difficult enough that the Camping and Caravanning Club recommends its new members undergo training before attempting to take the trailer test.

The Specialised Training Services (HGV Training) offers fast, concentrated, ‘crash courses’ for trailer owners preparing to take the trailer test. Utilising our services is the best way to earn your towing licence as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible.

Understanding the Licences

Before undergoing formal trailer training, it is important to understand the four licence categories listed above. In other words, do you need an additional licence above and beyond what you currently have? If you passed your driving test before 1st January 1997, you have a Category B licence that also entitles you to operate Category B+E and Category C1+E vehicles. You do not need any additional entitlements to tow trailers. However, regular training is still a good idea to help keep your skills and knowledge fresh.

As for the other three licences, these are as follows:

Please bear in mind that the weights listed above are based on what is known as maximum authorised mass (MAM). This is the combined weight of the vehicle and its cargo as rated by the manufacturer. By contrast, unladen weight is the weight of a vehicle before cargo and/or passengers are added.

Getting Your Towing Licence

In order to get your towing licence, you will have to take and pass the trailer test at an approved testing facility. The good news is that you do not need to take an additional theory test. Passing the theory test at the time you got your car licence is sufficient for recreational trailer towing. If you plan to drive commercially, however, you will need a commercial driving licence that includes a theory test as part of the CPC training and licencing regimen.

Assuming you intend to tow a trailer or caravan recreationally, you will need to possess both the skills and knowledge necessary to convince the tester that you can handle your tow vehicle and trailer combination. Our intense and focused towing licence courses are designed to prepare you for your eventual test. We teach trailer students:

All three areas will be looked at during the trailer test. Therefore, it is imperative that trailer owners know what they are doing prior to booking a test. That’s what our training is all about. We equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to demonstrate to examiners that they know exactly what they are doing.

Our Crash Course Approach

We often refer to our trailer towing courses as crash courses. We use the term with the understanding that most of us associate crash courses with quick learning. At the Specialised Training Services (HGV Training), quick learning is a priority for us. We do not believe in forcing long and cumbersome classes on our students just to impart a body of knowledge that is unnecessary for obtaining a towing licence. We believe in concentrating our training in short bursts that focus only on those skills and information appropriate to the trailer test.

Our focused, short burst approach makes it possible for completely inexperienced drivers to obtain a towing licence in as little as five days. We also offer a three-day course for experienced drivers who may never have undergone formal training and licencing. We even offer a one-day refresher course for experienced and licenced drivers who simply want to brush up on their skills.

As you can see, it does not take long to get your towing licence when you train with the Specialised Training Services (HGV Training). We work to get you in and out as fast as possible without compromising the quality of our training. We believe this is the best way to take advantage of information retention and short-term memory in preparation for the trailer test. And by the way, we send an instructor with the student on the day of his or her test.

The Specialised Training Services (HGV Training) currently operates more than four dozen facilities throughout the UK. No matter where you live or work, there is likely a training centre near you. We invite you to contact us for more information about working with us to obtain your towing licence. We are one of the most reputable training companies in the UK for both commercial and non-commercial driver training.

Additional Information

To help you get a better understanding of trailer towing in the UK we provide the following extra articles for your perusal:



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