Caravan owners beware: improper towing can now cost you up to £2,500 thanks to recent changes in driving laws.
UK drivers are being cautioned about potential driving fines related to towing caravans this winter, as experts are concerned that a recent law change may have gone unnoticed.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) made changes last December to the rules surrounding the need for drivers to take additional tests or training before towing caravans. Originally set to take effect in the summer of 2021, the changes have been delayed. Experts are now warning that drivers may not be aware of the revised regulations.
As of January 1997, motorists who have passed their driving tests are permitted to tow heavier trailers, weighing up to 3,500kg MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass). Prior to this change, drivers were required to pass an additional driving test before being allowed to operate larger vehicles or tow trailers.
Despite no longer being a legal requirement, road safety experts have suggested that drivers be strongly encouraged to undergo additional training or testing to ensure their competence when towing. This, they argue, would allow drivers to familiarize themselves with the rules of the road before towing a weight they are not accustomed to.
The DVLA announced plans to update driving license records to reflect the ability to tow trailers, including the BE category which will be included when applying for a new photocard license. Those planning to tow a caravan are advised to conduct thorough safety checks on both the caravan and towing vehicle before setting out on the road.
Penalties for operating a vehicle in a "dangerous condition" can include fines of up to £2,500, penalty points, or a full driving ban in extreme cases.
John Woosey, founder of Ripe Insurance, said: "Many people towing caravans this winter may well be doing so for the very first time."
2So, I’d urge everyone to brush up on the rules before going any further. The last thing anybody wants right now is a fine - especially when it’s so easily avoidable."
"Towing a caravan can be challenging all year round, but winter certainly throws up additional challenges when the roads are typically more treacherous.2
John Woosey, founder of Ripe Insurance, advises drivers to choose a towbar based on power and weight, as these are likely the most crucial factors.