Caravan law changes: Drivers warned over safety issues, may lead to ‘all sorts of trouble’

RAC shares their guide to towing a caravan

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Changes are being made to the weight limits drivers can tow as the Government scrapped the need for a B+E car and trailer test. When the change occurs later in 2021, drivers who passed their car driving test from January 1, 1997, will be allowed to tow trailers or caravans up to 3,500kg maximum authorised mass (MAM) when the law changes.

Drivers who had their licences issued before January 1, 1997, are able to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8,250kg MAM.

They are also allowed to drive a minibus with a trailer over 750kg MAM.

As part of these changes, car and trailer driving tests were stopped from September 20, 2021.

Drivers are no longer able to book or take a car and trailer driving test from that date, although the law will not change until later in the year.

Practical Caravan have advised drivers to make a number of checks before setting off with their caravans or trailers to ensure they are safe on the road.

The coveted 85 percent rule recommends drivers to tow more than 85 percent of the kerb weight of the tow car, especially if they are new to towing.

It’s a strong recommendation rather than a legal requirement, but the car and caravan will be more stable if the car weighs substantially more than the van.

They advise drivers: “Think of the car as a dog and the caravan as a tail.

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“When the tail weighs more than the dog, if it starts to wag, you could soon be in all sorts of trouble.”

It is also extremely crucial that drivers do not exceed the van’s Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass (MTPLM), which is the most it is permitted to weigh when fully loaded.

Motorists also need to take into account the way in which they load the van.

In the caravan, they advise drivers to make sure the heavy items are low down and above the axle or axles.

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