FUN ON WHEELS UK founder, Terry Bassingthwaighte has been specialising for many years in coaching car drivers learning to tow trailers. Here’s just some of the questions this DSA Approved Driving Instructor hears frequently from clients learning to tow trailers in Suffolk – together with some of his words of wisdom.
At this time, we also strongly advise you to read our Driving Instruction & COVID-19 FAQs »
What can I tow?
The rules on what you can tow are different depending on when you passed your driving test. You can read about how to check on your eligibility in our dedicated Trailer Towing Courses section here »
If you wish to tow a caravan or trailer combination which exceeds weight limits stipulated by a full driving licence held since a driving test passed on or after 19 January 2013, you will need to take and pass an additional driving test for the B+E classification.
The following section of questions / answers refers to lessons required to take and pass that additional B+E car and trailer towing classification.
How many hours of specific trailer towing lessons with FUN ON WHEELS UK Trailer Towing Academy do I need?
This can vary from one individual to the next. It is entirely dependent on your knowledge and understanding of towing a trailer. This is why we will undertake an assessment before we confirm the anticipated number of lessons you will require. At FUN ON WHEELS UK Trailer Towing Academy we have years of experience in coaching trailer towing and can tailor our courses to specific individual needs.
What does the B+E Car & Trailer Test involve?
You will drive for around 50 - 60 minutes. The whole driving test takes about 1.5 hours and there are 6 parts:
1) Eyesight check
2) ‘Show me, tell me’ vehicle safety questions
3) Reversing your vehicle
4) General driving ability
5) Independent driving
6) Uncoupling and recoupling the trailer
Can you explain more about the different sections of the Car & Trailer Towing Test?
Eyesight check - You will have to read a number plate from a distance of:
• 20 metres for vehicles with a new-style number plate (that’s those which start with 2 letters followed by 2 numbers, for example, AB51 ABC).
• 20.5 metres for vehicles with an old-style number plate
If you fail the eyesight check, you will fail your driving test and the test will end there.
‘Show me, tell me’ questions - These test that you know how to carry out basic safety checks. You’ll be asked 5 vehicle safety questions known as the ‘show me, tell me questions. You can find our more here »
Reversing your vehicle - You will have to show that you can manoeuvre your car and trailer into a restricted space and stop at a certain point. The examiner will show you a diagram of where to reverse your vehicle. You can find our more here »
Your general driving ability - You will drive in various road and traffic conditions, including motorways where possible. The examiner will give you directions that you should follow. Driving test routes are not published, so you cannot check them before your test.
You will be asked to pull over and pull away during your test, including:
• normal stops at the side of the road
• pulling out from behind a parked vehicle
• a hill start
Independent driving - You will have to drive for about 10 minutes by following either:
• traffic signs
• a series of verbal directions
• a combination of both
You cannot use a sat nav. To help you understand where you’re going when following verbal directions, the examiner can show you a simple diagram . You can find our more here »
If you cannot see a traffic sign (for example, because it’s covered by trees), the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next one. You can ask the examiner to confirm the directions if you forget them. It does not matter if you do not remember every direction. The examiner will help you get back on the route if you take a wrong turning.
Your test result will not be affected if you go off the route, unless while doing it you make a fault. You can find our more here »
Uncoupling and recoupling the trailer - You will be asked to:
• uncouple your car from the trailer
• park the car alongside the trailer
• Trailer safety checks
• realign the car with the trailer and recouple them
What happens if I make mistakes during my test?
You can carry on if you make a mistake during your driving test. If you make a ‘major fault’ – a serious or dangerous mistake - your examiner will currently stop the test and direct you back to the driving test centre to minimise the time spent in the car together - this is specifically during the period of COVID-19 restrictions.
What does the test cost?
The DSA week-day B +E Trailer Test fee is £115. This is the fee which we pay to the DSA to secure your test booking.
Do I need to take a trailer towing test to tow legally?
If you passed your driving test after 1st January 1997 and you need to tow a trailer that can carry more than 750 kgs and is braked, then YES.
If I tow illegally and get caught what is the likely penalty?
Possibly 3 points and a fine, but the worst case scenario could be that if you are found to be driving illegally - without a valid driving licence for towing and therefore with no valid car insurance - you could be issued with 9 points. This could in turn lead to you losing your driving licence - and therefore your job. It is just not worth the risk.
What’s the risk if my employees tow without the correct entitlement on their licence?
Firstly, the driver may be taken to court by DVSA/Police. They may be given points as mentioned above. But the employer will be deemed responsible for the actions of his/her employees, whether he/she has knowledge in the subject area or not.
You could end up with a criminal record and think how that might change how the other businesses which you do business with you would look upon that.