Caravan and trailer towing legislation and restrictions

Published in Caravanning Top Tips, Industry News on   - 24 Comments

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  1. Dave Troughton says:

    I am concidering changing my motor home for a 5th wheel set up. I know I am covered as far as my driving licence is concerned with regards to groups covered. I do need advice however with regards to age restrictions and weights. I will be 70 at the end of the year and have been told that over 70 there are weight restrictions on what I can drive and tow. Is this correct. Thanks

    • Hi Dave. In response to your question, you’re correct that weight restrictions do apply from aged 70. However, these restrictions apply only to the weight of the towing vehicle – not the train / combination weight. So, providing that the ‘tow vehicle’ is less than 3,500kgs MTPLM then you will be fine. Hope this helps? Liz

  2. simon says:

    I have a B licence and drive a volvo v50 2.0D se and tow a bailey 530 max weight 1377. I Am under the 3500 limit but i am confused with cars max weights as i want to change my tow car for somthing abit heavier if i buy a car that can tow more weight but stay under the 3500kg is it legal please explane if not as i am confused with it all.

    • Hi Simon,

      Many thanks for getting in touch.

      Gov.Uk states that drivers with a category B licence who passed their test before 1997 are entitled to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8.25 tonnes MAM. This is the weight of a vehicle or trailer including the maximum load that can be carried safely when it’s being used on the road. You also have entitlement to drive a minibus with a trailer over 750kg MAM.

      If you passed your test after 1997 however, you can:

      – Drive a vehicle up to 3.5 tonnes or 3,500kg MAM towing a trailer of up to 750kg MAM
      – Tow a trailer over 750kg MAM as long as the combined weight of the trailer and towing vehicle is no more than 3,500kg

      I hope this helps, let me know if you need anything else.
      Kind regards,


      • Simon says:

        Thanks for your reply thats the bit i understand but have been informed that i can legaly drive a car with a greater gross vehicle mass i.e a car that can have a greater mam than 3500kg providing i keep the weight under 3500

  3. robert burgess says:

    If the nose weight of a caravan is greater than the the cars recommended
    weight would this Invalidate the insurance.
    Also when buying a caravan whose responsible to make sure that your car/caravan is compatilble.

  4. Timi says:

    Thank you for the quick answer. You are the first person who knows what are you talking about.
    You say that once we are in Europe their enforcement agencies may take different views. Any idea where can I find out about their views?
    where can I get the CRiS reg document?
    Thank you again

    • Hi Timi,

      I’ve spoken to Tim again, he say that it’s really difficult to locate information on law enforcement agencies in Europe.

      The French authorities are notoriously stringent when it comes to law enforcement, and the German authorities have a very strict regime when it comes to stopping drivers and carrying out checks at the roadside.

      The easiest way to make sure you’ll pass inspection in each country is to carry ALL your documentation with you, so that’s your personal ID, vehicle registration document, insurance documents and caravan registration document.

      You can get a CRiS Registration document online, simply click here and follow the instructions on screen.

      If you do need more information, click here to read our recent article on towing in Europe,

      I hope this helps – enjoy your trip!

      Caravan Guard

  5. Timi says:

    Hi, I have a Hungarian reg numbered minibus. I want to buy a caravan and tow it to hungary. Driving trough France, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Hungary. Can I put my Hungarian number plate onto the rare of the caravan and drive it through Europe? I am definite that in Hungary all caravans has their own number plate but I am not sure about rest of Europe. Do you know anything about this?
    Thank you very much for your help

    • Hi Timi,

      Many thanks for getting in touch. I passed your details onto safety and security expert, Tim Booth, who works for the AVCIS (see here for details).

      Tim admits that this is ‘an interesting one’ and had this to say in response to your query:

      “I would suggest that the only answer is yes – subject to conditions – i.e.. can you obtain a registration plate that carries the Hungarian mark in the UK? – If not then you may choose to take the plate from the minibus and display on the rear of the caravan as the whole combination becomes one vehicle ( for the UK) – once into Europe their Enforcement Agencies may take a different view as they register independently.

      If you buy a caravan in the UK I would strongly advise that you obtains a CRiS registration document for the caravan – this can be issued in your name.

      Once you have this document then you must ensure that you have insurance cover for the caravan – in the UK this insurance is provided by the vehicle towing the caravan’s insurance but this may not be the case for Hungary and so not when in Europe either.

      Most minibuses will require extension mirrors to allow for the caravan to be towed.

      The driver will need to hold the relevant licence – and be able to produce this for inspection – along with the documents for the caravan – this is a requirement in Europe.

      Once you are back in Hungary your registration authorities will need to inspect the caravan and see the CRiS document to prove ownership, once these have been confirmed then the Hungarian Registration Authorities will issue a registration specific to the caravan.”

      I hope this answers your query. Let me know if there’s anything else I can help with.

      Caravan Guard

  6. Cheryl Loney says:

    Really helpful, thanks again Lucie! 🙂

  7. Cheryl Loney says:

    I’m just getting quotes on getting a tow bar fitted. I feel I have learnt so much in the last 24 hours, thank you all.

    May I ask, am I correct in understanding that ‘twin electrics’ is just to power the caravan’s fridge, is that worth paying extra for?

    Also, should I see if my insurance will be effected by getting a tow bar and towing a caravan? I’m guessing that falls under car modifications.


    • Hi Cheryl,

      Twin Towbar wiring kits are used on vehicles which require a charge to the caravan that has a fridge or battery. There are two sockets in twin electric kits: the 12N (black socket) and the 12S (grey/white socket).
      The 12N socket is used to power the vehicle road lights and the 12S socket is used to a charge the caravan’s fridge and battery.

      If you want to tow a caravan which has a battery or fridge that need charging whilst you’re towing, you need an 12s socket. It’s your decision really, suppose it depends on whether you want the contents of your fridge to be cool when you arrive! 🙂

      With regards to fitting a tow ball I’d advise that you speak to your car insurance provider as it effects the car not the caravan.

      I hope this helps.

      Caravan Guard

  8. Cheryl Loney says:

    Oh how very exciting Lucie!

    Thank you so much for getting back so quickly.

    Best wishes,


  9. Cheryl Loney says:

    I am getting a little confused, your website has been really useful thank you.

    I passed in 2001, I have a full clean UK Class B licence and I am looking at towing a 820kg caravan.

    My car is a Ford Fiesta ZTECH 2006.

    Am I required to take another test to be able to tow it?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Cheryl,

      Thanks for getting in touch. You are fine to tow the caravan if both the car and the caravan weigh less than 3500 kilos.

      From the caravan weight you’ve given here, your car could weigh up to 2680 kg and be suitable to tow.

      I’ve had a look at the Parkers website here which states that the 2005 Zetec (1.4 engine) weighs 1102 kg.

      From this I would say that you’re absolutely fine to tow on your current B licence (passed your driving test after January 2001) without the need for an additional test.

      I can’t imagine your car would way much more than the 2005 version although you may want to check your paperwork for details.

      If you did want to tow over 3500 kg (3.5 tonne) you would need to take the B&E drivers test – details here.

      I hope this helps.


      Caravan Guard

  10. alan says:

    if you have passed your test after 1997 and need to do a test to tow a caravan or trailer how much does this cost

    • Hi Alan,

      Thanks for getting in touch. If you’ve held a licence from 1 January 1997 you can tow a vehicle up to 3.5 tonnes or 3,500 kilograms (kg) Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) towing a trailer of up to 750kg MAM (with a combined weight of up to 4,250kg in total) AND/OR a trailer over 750kg MAM as long as it is no more than the unladen or ‘kerb’ weight of the towing vehicle (with a combined weight of up to 3,500kg in total). See here for details.

      For anything else you will need to take a category B+E driving test. It costs £115 to take the test on a weekday and £141 during evenings, weekends or bank holidays. There’s more on the test on the website, including details on how to book – click here for information.



  11. maureen says:

    what is the law in northern ireland with parking on street wit a caravan on tow?Also Wot is the law with blue badge n have caravan on tow? do U need to pay for the space the caravan takes up thanks

    • Craig says:

      Basically the Road Traffic Laws that apply in the rest of the UK apply to Northern Ireland, as it is part of the UK.
      Both of the questions leave a lot to be desired, and common sense really would apply.

      You can park a Car and Caravan at the side of the road, as long as it dosen’t cause an obstruction, or block a field of view.
      (I.e. Park close to a road junction, Zebra crossing etc. Single and Double Yellow lines apply here just the same as on the mainland )
      This site would possibly answer your question on the Blue Badge, the telephone number is shown on it.
      But would assume that the same rules apply at this office as they do in the mainland UK, as where the Badge Holder applied for the Badge on the Mainland.

      The Blue Badge scheme does not apply to off-street car parks, private roads or at most airports.

      Hopefully this will help to solve your query.

      Kindest Regards

  12. Keith Wilde says:

    I am considering towing a trailer with my motorhome. Do you need to be notified of the details?

    • Heather says:

      Dear Mr Wilde,

      Thank you for your enquiry regarding trailer cover.

      Please accept this as confirmation that trailer cover is automatically provided as standard within the benefits of our insurance. We provide £1000 trailer cover (for additional information see your policy booklet).

      However, we would need a hitchlock, wheelclamp or for it to be locked away when not in use.

      If you have any further queries, then please feel free to contact our friendly and knowledgeable team any day of the week on 0800 14 88 429.

      Kind Regards,
      Caravan Guard

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