Caravan law changes: Drivers warned over safety issues, may lead to 'all sorts of trouble'


Changes are being made to the weight limits drivers can tow as the Government scrapped the need for a B+E car and trailer test. When the change occurs later in 2021, drivers who passed their car driving test from January 1, 1997, will be allowed to tow trailers or caravans up to 3,500kg maximum authorised mass (MAM) when the law changes.

“When the tail weighs more than the dog, if it starts to wag, you could soon be in all sorts of trouble.”

It is also extremely crucial that drivers do not exceed the van’s Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass (MTPLM), which is the most it is permitted to weigh when fully loaded.

Motorists also need to take into account the way in which they load the van.

In the caravan, they advise drivers to make sure the heavy items are low down and above the axle or axles.

“It might seem like overkill to some, but having a checklist that you tick off at the start of every journey will make sure nothing important is missed.”

By law, drivers must be able to see four metres out from the side of the caravan at a distance of 20 metres behind.

Having a clear view behind the vehicle is essential to stay safe, with towing mirrors being a vital piece of equipment for any caravan journey.

Inexperienced caravan owners are advised to practice beforehand as towing doesn’t feel the same as regular driving.

Practical Caravan recommend: “You will notice some pushing and shoving from the caravan, and you can see it moving slightly in your mirrors.

“If you chase every slight movement with agitated steering corrections, you’ll only make things worse.

“Instead, keep your steering, braking, and accelerating smooth and relaxed. The car is always trying to pull the caravan straight, so let it do the hard work for you.

“If your car and van are well matched, sensibly loaded, and driven at an appropriate speed, small corrections with the wheel should be all you need.”


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