Frequently Asked Questions – Trailer FAQ
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What is the B+E entitlement?
Category B+E allows vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes MAM to be combined with trailers in excess of 750kgs MAM. In order to gain this entitlement, new category B driving licence holders have to pass a further practical test for B+E. The B+E is the Driving Standards Agency practical driving test for car and trailer. (There is no medical examination or theory test required). The test involves a practical test of 1.5 hours to LGV standards.
Car licences held before 1st January 1997?
Drivers who passed a car driving test before 1st January 1997 retain their existing entitlement to tow trailers until their licence expires. This means they are generally entitled to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8.25 tonnes MAM.
However, if a driver has had to take a retest after the date shown above, they will have lost their automatic entitlement to tow and will need to take the B+E test, if they wish to tow larger trailer combinations.
Car licences first obtained since 1st January 1997?
Drivers who passed a car driving test on or after 1st January 1997, are limited to vehicles up to 3.5tonnes MAM towing a trailer up to 750kgs, or a vehicle and trailer combination up to 3.5 tonnes MAM providing the MAM of the trailer doesn’t exceed the unladen mass of the towing vehicle. You will need to pass an additional B+E driving test if you wish to tow a caravan or other trailer combination which exceeds these weight limits.
What does the 1.5 hour test consists of:
What happens during the test?
- Before you start the driving ability part of the test you will be asked 5 vehicle safety questions also known as ‘show me, tell me’ questions. These will be 5 questions from a possible 20. All of which will be covered/ demonstrated throughout the training courses.
- You will then be asked to read a number plate from 20.5 metre.
- You will then be required to perform a reverse manoeuvre in a designated area. You would have to guide your way around cones into a loading bay keeping within the yellow marked areas and stop at a certain point.
- You will be asked to uncouple the trailer and reposition your towing vehicle alongside the trailer in question.
- You will then demonstrate the checks to the trailer, (safety checks). This will be as though you haven’t seen the trailer before. You will therefore need to carry out a complete check of the trailer. The trailer should be checked for its overall structural integrity:
- No sharp edges or lose parts.
- Secure jokey wheel and handbrake.
- The light socket and brake away attached and stowed correctly both in good condition (visually inspecting).
- All the tyres need to be checked for their overall condition checking tread levels exceed the legal tread depth of 1.6mm over ¾ of the tyre depth over the whole circumference. Checking for any bulges or cracks.
- Lights working and in good condition.
- Check the load in the trailer is tied down and secure, closing the doors of the trailer making sure they are firmly closed.
- Make sure both the trailer and towing vehicles number plates match.
- The trailer can then be recoupled in the correct sequence, (please see Uncoupling and Recoupling page) checking the lights are all working by asking the examiner to check the trailers lights.
After these aspects of the test have been performed in the off road test facility you will then begin the drive, for a duration of roughly 1 hour. This will consist of rural roads, City driving, Dual Carriageway, Motorway and a mixture of A and B roads. Driving techniques to Light Goods Vehicle standards will need to be adopted including the physics of towing (braking, steering and accelerating). Maintain speed limits, lane discipline to include box junctions and roundabouts are all aspects which will be covered during the courses.
What is MAM?
MAM of vehicles and Trailers is referred to throughout the site. This should be taken to mean the permissible maximum weight, also known as the gross vehicle weight or maximum authorised mass.
Can the test be taken in an automatic vehicle?
Yes it can be taken in an automatic although this will restrict you to only being able to tow using an automatic vehicle and not a manual.
Towing without the entitlement to do so? Is it worth the risk?
Although the test has been around for a number of years now, a huge number of people are completely unaware of it. This involves drivers in driving when unlicensed and therefore are uninsured. Many choose to ignore the law and make a decision to drive unlicensed and tow illegally. The fine for towing illegally is up to £5,000 and up to 9 points on your licence.
Your insurance will also be void and should an accident occur this can lead to more serious convictions and fines!
With Devon Trailer Training intensive short course you can make sure you’re towing safely and legally.
What can I legally tow once I pass my B+E test?
Once you have the B+E entitlement you can legally drive a vehicle and trailer with a combination of up to 8,250kg. This covers most outfits and you will generally find to exceed the combination of 8,250KG you would be exceeding the MAM of both the towing vehicle and trailer.