The Legal Requirements for Towing a Trailer

Before you set out on a trip with your Foldy Trailer or another trailer, you want to ensure that you are meeting the legal requirements to do so. That’s why we at Foldy have compiled the information for you to see whether you are travelling safely and legally.

Driving Licence Rules for Towing

Before we start, we would like to answer a commonly asked question:

Can I tow a Foldy Trailer with a standard (category B) car driver’s licence?

Yes, because the Foldy Trailer is a class O1 trailer certified up to 750kg, it means anyone with a standard category B licence can purchase and drive one legally.

The rules on what you can tow are different depending on when you passed your driving test.

Firstly, regardless of when you passed your driving test, anyone with a full driving licence (category B) can tow trailers weighing no more than 750kg.

You can also tow heavier trailers with a car as long as the total weight of the trailer (including its cargo load) is no more than the unladen weight of the towing vehicle.

For a combined driving weight (for both vehicle and trailer) in excess of 3,500kg one of the two following scenarios may apply to you.

I Passed Before 1997

If you passed before 1997 you’re entitled to drive a vehicle and trailer that altogether weigh a maximum of 8.25 tonnes (8,250kg). The Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) means you can also drive a minibus with a trailer more than 0.75 tonnes (750kg MAM).

However, we strongly recommend you take lessons for the B+E licence even though it is not legally required, should you be new to towing or have not towed a vehicle in many years.

I Passed After 1997

If you passed your test after 1997 you can drive a car or van up to 3.5 tonnes (3,500 kg MAM) towing a trailoer over 750kg MAM as long as the combined MAM of the trailer and towing vehicle is no more than 3,500kg and provided the weight of the trailer (including its cargo load) is no more than the unladen weight of the towing vehicle.

If you want to pull anything heavier, you can upgrade your trade entitlement via an additional car and trailer test which can either be taken during the normal working week or during an evening or weekend. It is known as the B+E test and run through the DVSA bus and lorry test centres.

To help you determine which drivers licence you require for the trailer you wish to tow, we have provided the following decision tree:

Drivers Licence options

UK Towing and Trailer Regulations

There are several different rules and regulations that need to be followed when towing a trailer, and they are as follows:

Trailer Width and Length

The maximum width for any trailer is 2.55 m and the maximum length for a trailer towed by a sub- 3.5 tonne vehicle is 7 m. The same size applies whatever the type of your car.

Approved Tow Bars

All tow bars fitted to vehicles registered after 1998 must be Type Approved to meet EU regulations and be a suitable design for your vehicle. Approved tow bars will have labels or a plate with an approval number and details of the vehicles it is approved for.

Towing Mirrors

The law states that you must have an adequate view of the road behind you so if your trailer obscures your view, then you need to fit extendable mirrors.

Trailer Brakes

If your trailer weighs more than 750 kgs when loaded, the law states a braking system must be fitted and in good working order.

Number Plates

Your trailer must have the same number plate as that on your car. The number plate must be illuminated if driving at night. If you are towing multiple trailersfix the licence plate at the back.

What If I Don’t Follow the Requirements?

To start with, you shouldn’t be looking to cut corners and should look to follow the government’s legal requirements. These regulations have been formulated with your safety in mind and that of other road users.

The Gov.UK towing with cars pages state that if your trailer does not meet certain safety standards and is not used correctly, then you can be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving and get 3 penalty points for using a vehicle in a dangerous condition. Furthermore, the traffic officer may prohibit you from driving any further and you will be responsible for the costs associated to having a third party vehicle recovery service remove your vehicle and/or your trailer from the public roads.

If your trailer is wider than the rear of your car, then you should purchase a pair of adequate towing mirrors. This will provide you with a view of the road behind you. Should you not purchase mirrors when you should, you could be fined up to £1,000 and get 3 penalty points for towing without proper towing mirrors.

Our advice would be to always follow and check the towing requirements in order to check that your trailer is safe for travel. If you’re unsure on the requirements, visit the Gov.UK website or you can visit our product safety page.