SMMT Issues Latest Guide For Towing
The SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) has issued an updated version of its guide on towing best practises and laws, amidst a surge in the sales of caravans.
The upturn in sales of new caravans and motorhomes
has been largely attributed to COVID travelling restrictions and people choosing staycations over holidays abroad.
Here are some of the key points to consider when towing:
The tread, condition and tyre pressure of your trailer or caravan needs to meet the same legal standards as your car.
You should always keep to the speed limit and while on a single carriageway the maximum towing speed is 50mph, on dual carriageways and motorways the maximum speed is 60mph.
Your caravan, horsebox, trailer etc must display a rear number plate that matches the towing vehicle’s plate, the trailers number plate must also be illuminated at night.
Make sure you are fully covered; standard car insurance may not cover you adequately for towing, you may only have third party, fire, and theft cover. Check your policy and contact your insurance provider to check you are fully insured.
If you have full driving license issued before 19th January 2013 you may be allowed to tow up to 8.25 tonnes Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) - MAM is the fully load weight of the vehicle including fuel, passengers, and any luggage/cargo etc. *Note you should always make the relevant checks to make sure license is sufficient, get full details of your license here.
If you have a full UK driving licence for a car issued after 19th January 2013, you can tow trailers up to 750kg. You are also permitted to tow heavier trailers/caravans as long as the combined Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) of the vehicle and trailer/caravan does not exceed 3,500KG.
To tow over 3,500KG MAM you will need to get take a test/get a category B+E driving license.
Vehicle Towing Limits
The maximum weight your car can tow (a fully loaded car with passengers plus a fully loaded caravan/trailer) should be listed in your owner’s handbook and will likely be on the vehicles VIN plate.
On the vehicle's VIN Plate you may see up to 4 weights these are usually:
1) The Maximum Allowable Mass (MAM) – The total allowable weight of the vehicle including occupants, fuel, luggage, payload etc
2) The Gross Train Weight – This is The Maximum Allowable Mass (MAM) of the vehicle and trailer/caravan combined.
3) Two additional weights will signify maximum loads for the front and rear axles respectively.
Often when researching vehicles towing capacities, you will see braked and unbraked towing weights. Braked is the maximum weight of the trailer/caravan/horsebox etc that has its own brakes. Unbraked towing weight is the maximum weight of a trailer/caravan/ horsebox etc that is not capable of independent braking.
You may also see the term unladen weight, which means the weight of the vehicle when it is empty i.e. not carrying any passengers, fuel, luggage, or any other additional weight.
You can order/purchase a hard copy of the full towing guide from the SMMT here.
- It's an essential guide for towing anything up to 3,500KG.