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If you’re about to take your trailer test, or even just thinking about booking it or starting your training, you may be wondering what happens. It won’t be anything like your driving test, of course, because you already know how to drive a car and don’t need to learn that again.

Instead, you need to somehow be assessed for the task of driving your car with a trailer attached to it. It’s hard to imagine how that might be examined, but luckily we’ve broken the whole test down for you so you can see what will happen.


How Long Is The Trailer Test?

The test lasts for around 50 minutes

What Are The Trailer Test Sections?

The exam is broken into six main sections.

These are:

What Does Each Of The Sections Involve?

Eyesight check

To complete this part of the exam successfully, you need to be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away – if you have a new style number plate.  If your number plate is one of the older style versions, you need to be able to read it from 20.5 metres away instead.

If you’re not sure whether you have an old or new number plate, here’s how to check: the newer ones start with two letters and then two numbers (Example: BA61 ABC). The eyesight test is very important and if you fail this part you won’t be able to complete the rest of the exam.

‘Show me, tell me’ questions

This part of the ‘Show me, tell me’ test is a series of 5 questions, along with demonstrations, that show the examiner you know how to check your vehicle for safety.


You need to demonstrate that you can steer your car – with its trailer – into a tight space and stop when needed.  You’ll do this by following a Trailer reversing diagram which shows exactly where the examiner wants you to reverse your vehicle.

trailer driving test

General Driving Ability

To prove you have the right general driving skills, you’ll need to drive in different types of traffic and on different types of roads, including motorways.

Following the examiner’s directions, you need to drive around until the examiner is satisfied you’ve been tested fully. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to find out the route before you set off, so you can’t check out the route in advance.

Pulling Over

Your examiner will ask you to pull over at some point during your test, and then to set off again.  You’ll be asked to do this at regular bus stops, behind parked vehicles, and on hills.

Driving Independently

During your test, you’ll need to drive for a few minutes just following traffic signs and the verbal instructions of your examiner.  This tests your ability to drive independently. A diagram provided by your examiner will show you where they want you to go while you’re driving in this way. You won’t be able to use a sat nav, and if you have any problems seeing traffic signs because of obstacles you’ll be given more directions until you get to the one you can see.

If you’re having problems remembering the directions, you can always ask the examiner again, but don’t worry if you go off route because it won’t affect your test unless you make a fault as you’re doing it.

Detaching and reattaching the trailer

Detaching And Reattaching The Trailer

Your examiner will ask you to uncouple your car from your trailer, park next to your trailer, and then realign your car with your trailer to reattach them again.

Making Mistakes

Don’t worry too much if you make a mistake during your test, just carry on anyway. Not all mistakes will mean you fail your exam because some are less serious than others. The only time your examiner will stop your exam is if they think your driving is a danger to other road users.

Cancelled Tests

If the weather is too bad, or there is a serious problem with your car/ trailer, your trailer test can be cancelled. There may be other reasons too.  If the cause of the cancellation is bad weather, this will be because the roads are too dangerous to drive safely. This could be because it’s icy, there’s flooding, or the wind is too high. You should call your test centre in the morning to check that your trailer test is still due to go ahead if you think the weather may be too bad to drive.

If your trailer test is cancelled, call us on 08000315765  we will book the next date available and will send you the renewed date within three working days. If the new date isn’t good for you, you can change it yourself. If your test is cancelled because of a problem with your car/trailer or because of a personal problem such as illness, you’ll need to book another test and pay a second time.

You can sometimes claim out of pocket expenses if the test is cancelled by the DVSA rather than by you. For more information, please get in touch.


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