Towing a trailer safely

By 1st November 2019Tips and Blogs

Fleet and grey fleet drivers may occasionally find themselves needing to tow a trailer as part of their at-work driving. If they lack experience this can be a daunting prospect, and with an average of 11 road incidents per day¹ involving some kind of trailer, understanding the correct way to tow is vital before setting off:

  • Check the maximum braked and un-braked towing capacity of the vehicle. If the trailer weighs more than 750kg or more than half the vehicle’s kerb weight (the weight of the vehicle with no luggage or people) it must be fitted with brakes.
  • Make sure your licence covers the size of the trailer being towed. Not all licences will cover drivers for larger or heavier trailers and might require them to complete a ‘B+E Test’. Click here to find out more about the laws on towing heavier trailers.
  • Load securely. Distribute the load evenly inside the trailer and avoid having too much or too little nose weight. Even a heavy load will need to be strapped down, as gravity itself is not enough to keep it secure.
  • Before setting off, check that all the lights are working correctly and are damage-free. Whilst doing this, also check that the lighting cable and plug are in good condition.
  • Be sure the correct number plate is fitted. This should be the same registration number as your vehicle and needs to conform to DVLA Standards.
  • Be aware of the national speed limit for a vehicle towing a trailer. The maximum speed limit on a single carriageway road is 50mph, and 60mph on a dual carriageway or motorway.

IAM RoadSmart offers on-road and risk management solutions that can help both fleet and grey fleet drivers with advanced driving techniques, helping them to deal with a variety of driving situations including towing trailers. See Driving for Work and Choices for more info.

¹Source: Highways England urging motorists to ‘check it before towing it’, Highways England, 2019

Peter Williams

Author Peter Williams

Marketing Executive at IAM RoadSmart

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