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Towing Tips & Laws

Chapter 48

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Towing is difficult and demands more skill and knowledge than regular driving. You should avoid towing in confined spaces or at high speeds until you have gained enough experience to feel confident in your ability to tow.

Before towing

  • Check your vehicle’s towing rating to ensure that it can legally tow the weight of the trailer/caravan
  • Check you are not towing more than your license permits.
  • Check that the couplings can take the weight of the fully loaded trailer
  • Check that safety chains are short enough to prevent the trailer’s front from hitting the ground in case the couplings break.
  • Check your vehicle (e.g. tyres, suspension and brakes)
  • Distribute the bulk of the load over the axles.
  • Ensure your headlights are effective. Carrying a load or pulling a trailer may require you to adjust the headlights.

Restraining the load

The driver is legally responsible to ensure that all loads are securely restrained and positioned correctly in the vehicle. Drive carefully and be prepared for changes in stability, steering and braking capacity due to the additional weight/length. Also ensure that any load overhang is legal.

lesson imageAn unrestrained load can fall off, which is extremely dangerous!

You must periodically check that your trailer/load is safe throughout the trip.

Towing safely

A vehicle including trailer will be much longer than usual. This means you may need additional turning space when making turns. Additionally, you must be careful to avoid swaying of the trailer (particularly important in wet/slippery conditions) as it may behave differently than you are used to. If the trailer starts to sway - ease off the accelerator and reduce speed gently to regain control. 

Try not to hold up traffic - keep to the left. 

In the event of a breakdown, be aware that towing a vehicle on a tow rope is potentially dangerous. You should consider professional recovery.