Lockdown is over, school’s out, and holidays are back on the agenda.
Except the pent-up demand for holidays to the green list countries has forced prices up, meaning many now can’t afford to get away abroad.
As a result, lots of people are turning to the prospect of holidaying within the UK, meaning caravans are proving popular. However, there are some rules that even experienced drivers may not know about when it comes to towing a caravan. We’ve all been stuck behind one but what does the law say when it comes to towing one?
Speed limits when towing caravans
If you’ve a caravan in tow, you’re subject to stricter speed limits than regular cars:
- Single carriageway speed limit is 50mph, rather than 60
- Dual carriageway speed limit is 60mph, rather than 70
Motorway speed limit is 60mph, rather than 70
Built-up areas speed limit remains 30mph
For motorhomes and motor caravans, they’re the same as a car, unless they weigh more than 3.05 tonnes unladen, in which case you’ll be subject to the same limits as towed caravans as above.
Before you travel
The government advises you carry out the following checks before you set off:
- The trailer is correctly coupled to the towball or pin – follow the manufacturer’s advice
- The coupling height is correct
- The 7 or 13 core cable and plug is not damaged
It also says you should use a breakaway cable or secondary coupling, which stops the caravan if it becomes detached from the car.
Further checks include making sure the tyres and lights of both the car and caravan are in working order, ensuring the caravan isn’t overburdened and that the weight is distributed evenly and isn’t too much for your car. If your caravan doesn’t have its own brakes, it must not weigh over 750kg or more than 50% of your car’s weight, the government says.
You also need to have the correct licence. If you passed your car driving test before the end of 1996, you can drive a car/vehicle combination of up to 8.25 tonnes – at least until your 70th birthday. If you passed on or after January 1, 1997, you can drive a car/vehicle combination of up to 3.5 tonnes only, and will need to pass a further test to be legally allowed to drive anything heavier.
The rear of your caravan must be fitted with a number plate showing your car’s registration number. It must be clear and conform to the usual standards, including being illuminated during night driving.
You must ensure you have good visibility over the back of your car/caravan unit, meaning you’ll likely need to buy some extension mirrors.
What are your views on caravans? Do we need to change the rules on the roads? Have your say in the comments below
Rules for driving with a caravan
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