trailer towing regulations

Trailer towing law states that you must have a category B (car) driving licence before towing any size of trailer or caravan.

Car Licences Held Before 1 January 1997

You retain your existing entitlement to tow trailers until your licence expires. You may currently drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8.25 tonnes MAM. You are also permitted to drive a minibus + trailer over 750kg MAM. See 'Take the Test Chart'.

Car Licences Obtained On or After 1 January 1997

If you passed your test on or after the above date, you will be required to pass an additional driving test in order to gain entitlement to category B+E and all larger vehicles. There is no category B+E theory test, it is a practical test only. See 'Take the Test Chart'.

Vehicles, Trailers, and Weights

If the trailer you wish to tow exceeds 750kg, you may tow it behind a category B vehicle, provided that the weight of the vehicle and trailer together does not exceed 3.5 tonnes, and the MAM of the trailer does not exceed the unladen weight of the towing vehicle. If you wish to tow a trailer which exceeds the weight mentioned above new category B licence holders will have to pass a further category B+E test.

The size of a trailer recommended for an average family car with an unladen weight of around 1 tonne would be well within the new category B threshold. The existing guidelines also recommend that the laden weight of a caravan does not exceed 85 per cent of the unladen weight of the car.

Practise Rules

When practising for your B+E Test you must clearly display L-plates (or D-plates if preferred in Wales), on both the front and rear of the vehicle.

You must be accompanied by a person aged 21 years or over, and who has held a B+E category licence for three years and who still holds that licence.

Category B

Four-wheeled vehicles with a MAM not exceeding 3.5 tonnes and with up to eight passenger seats.

Category B+E

Four-wheeled vehicles with a MAM not exceeding 3.5 tonnes towing trailers over 750kg MAM

What is MAM?

Maximum Authorised Mass which should, in all cases, be taken to mean the permissible maximum weight, also known as the gross vehicle weight.

More Information

More detailed information about towing trailers can be found on under ‘Towing with a car’.