If you are new to the world of caravaning and have recently been thinking about renting or buying a caravan to take on holiday then you may have some questions when trying to figure out if you can tow a caravan, in particular the confusing laws around towing licencing. Learn about the rules and regulations before you hitch up your vehicle and caravan and hit the open road.
Do I need a licence to tow a caravan?
Yes, you need a licence to tow a caravan—but in many cases your standard B driving licence will suffice. When you are looking to tow a caravan or trailer usually your typical driving licence will be enough to allow you to haul loads up to specified weight limits, which vary depending on when you passed your test.
If you passed your driving test before January 1st 1997 you may tow a combined load of no more than 8250kg MAM (maximum authorised mass); if you passed your test after 1997 you may tow a caravan behind your car but the MAM must not exceed 3500kg. Those wishing to drive a combination that exceeds this weight limit will need to take an additional test.
Can I tow a caravan on my standard UK driving licence?
Yes, you can tow a caravan behind your vehicle on a standard UK driving licence, providing you remain within the specified weight limits. Other than the weight requirements specified in the prior section UK driving licences generally allow operators to pull a caravan or trailer behind your vehicle. Make sure you verify the restrictions by checking the date you passed your driving test.
Can I tow a caravan without a special towing licence?
Generally yes, you can tow a caravan without a special towing licence unless you wish to drive a combination that exceeds the MAM (maximum authorised mass) that's allowed for your licence—depending on when you passed your test.
If you are driving a car and vehicle that exceeds the specified weight limits then you may need to take an additional test. A B+E or C1+E endorsement may be required that are not included automatically on a standard car licence. You are more likely to need to obtain these endorsements if you passed your test after 1997.
Can I tow a caravan with an AB licence?
With an AB licence you can drive a car and caravan up to a maximum of 3500kg MAM. The standard UK driver's licence is a category B which as specified earlier allows the bearer to drive a caravan and car combination.
Can I tow a caravan with an automatic car?
An automatic car is permitted for towing a caravan.
If you happen to have a B auto licence and drive an automatic vehicle then you can tow a caravan but there are some things to consider. Check the towing limit for the vehicle—the maximum weight for automatics can often be lower than on their manual counterparts.
The automatic gearbox can actually assist drivers when towing loads as they only have the accelerator and brake pedals. Less juggling of gears on hills or in built-up areas. An automatic gearbox often includes a "towing" mode which can make the overall driving experience smoother especially when pulling a load.
Other towing considerations
Once you've figured out if you can drive a caravan on your licence, make sure you pay for the caravan insurance you need to protect you and your asset and for ideas on where to go, check out our article on the Top 10 Caravan Sites in the UK.