Caravan Guard special report: A beginner’s guide to towing

Published in Caravanning Top Tips on   - 22 Comments

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  1. Gary Sneath says:

    The most important thing when towing is to enjoy it. relax,drive smoothly,the caravan will follow you wherever you go like little dog.Make every manoeuvre giving yourself plenty of time and space.
    I tow in Europe ,and in making the journey part of the holiday I have found it to be a most enjoyable pastime

  2. wendy broadley says:

    You detail what you can legally tow if you passed your test AFTER January 1997 but don’t say what you can legally tow if you passed your test BEFORE January 1997 so could you please advise

  3. Vaughan says:

    Lucie, I notice you didn’t attempt to explain reversing round a corner to the left or right in your article. That would have made interesting reading. 🙂

  4. P Garratt says:

    Great article, cleared up a number of misconceptions.
    On your reply to Peter followed the “click here” to go to gov web site, more good info. Concerned by max. Towing length 7metres with tow vehicles up to 3500kg as many caravans total length now exceed the 7metres. The latest adriana are over 8 metres . What can you use to tow these caravans with or have I misunderstood the 7metres ?

    • I’ll double-check with Stephen and get back to you as soon as I can.

      Caravan Guard

    • Hi there,

      I’ve spoken to Stephen regarding your query and can confirm that the maximum length of 7 metres (and max width of 2.3 metres) does not include the coupling or drawbar. It refers only to the caravan’s body. Bigger caravans are available (e.g. showman’s types) but these cannot be towed by a category B (3500kgs) vehicle, “You’d need a small lorry for that”, Stephen says.

      Let me know if you need anything else.


      Caravan Guard

  5. Ruth says:

    Before I towed for the first time I did the same as you and had a short lesson. One thing I do remember is that when reversing in a straight line, watch the caravan in your mirrors and if it starts to appear more in your passenger mirror then turn your wheel to that side to straighten up, or vice versa. You need to remember to do things backwards so that and going slowly helps.

  6. Tony says:

    “You can use the inside lane of two lane motorway to overtake but not a three or a four lane motorway”. I’d call that undertaking and towing or not is frowned upon, perhaps you meant you can use the outside lane of a two lane motorway. Perhaps a proof reader would be useful before you publish beginners advice?

  7. Raymond Kot says:

    In Getting started section5 you say reverse the caravan up to the tow car.

    Should it not read reverse the tow car up to the caravan ??

  8. Peter gough says:

    I drive a Motorhome 3500kg ,what weight trailer can I tow ? I’ve had a driving licence since 1976.

    • Hi Peter,

      According to, if you passed your driving test before January 1997 you are allowed to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8.25 tonnes MAM.

      Click here for details.

      I’ve run your query passed Stephen who may have further details.

      Caravan Guard

    • Hi Peter,

      Stephen has got back to me with further details in response to your query:

      “Anyone with BE on their licence (pre-’97 acquired rights, or post ’97 after a test pass), can tow a trailer up to 3500kgs PROVIDED the trailer is within the towing capacity of the tow vehicle. Best practice is never to tow anything greater than 85% than the kerbside (lightest) weight of the towing vehicle, by the way.

      I strongly suspect the a motorhome’s towing capacity will be restricted due to the majority of the weight being built-in to the motorhome itself, leaving only a small capacity for the extra stuck on the back.

      A vehicles’ towing capacity is all about what spare engine power and braking ability is available.”

      I hope this helps.

      Caravan Guard

  9. Paul B says:

    article says ‘require extra acceleration ‘ – no ! more accelerator perhaps to move off but not more acceleration unless you want to go faster than normal

    • Hi Paul,
      It states that extra acceleration is needed especially on hill starts and when moving off. We don’t advise accelerating at any other point.

      Many thanks
      Caravan Guard

  10. Martin white says:

    Hi, very good article, i hope lots of people read this and realise they are ilegal!
    You state that the trailer you are using wieghs less than a tonne so can be towed on normal licence! But i thought it was the maximum authorised mass wieght that the rules go by? Ie your trailer to me looks like it weighs about 550kgs but would probably carry 2 tonnes making it about 2.6 tonnes which doesn’t leave much wieght for the car up to 3.5 tonnes. Am i wrong?

    • Hi Martin,

      The trailer’s MAM is 1.4 tonne (1400 Kgs) and the car’s MAM is 2.0 tonne (2000 Kgs). So the total MAM is 3.4 which is therefore under the 3500 Kgs ‘allowance’ and so legal for me, with a cat B licence, to tow.

      Many thanks

      Caravan Guard

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