First time ‘towers’ warned of fines and licence points

Many drivers towing trailers and caravans this summer may be doing so for the first time since new UK towing rules come into force and are being warned they could face fines and points on their licence if they do not follow the law correctly.

The new rules were unveiled by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in December 2021, after being postponed from the previous summer.

The change mean drivers who passed their test from January 1997 can now tow heavier trailers, up to 3,500kg MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass).

Previously, motorists had to pass an additional driving test to be able to drive large vehicles and tow trailers.

Clare Egan, head of motor at Admiral Insurance, urged drivers to make sure they are confident when driving heavier trailers.

She said: ” With many of us worried about the recent travel chaos, staycations remain a popular choice for holidaymakers this summer.

“We’re expecting to see many people hitting the roads with a caravan in tow.

“For some, this could be their first-time driving with a caravan, so there are a lot of things they need to bear in mind for the benefit of all road users.

“It’s important to make sure motorists feel confident behind the wheel, are clued up on towing regulations and have the right insurance to protect both the car and caravan.

“Before setting off on their journey, motorists will need to double check that their driving licence covers them to tow and they will need to make sure that the vehicle used to pull the trailer is up for the job, so they can have a safe and enjoyable trip.”

Nearly half of road accident claims involving caravans happen in the summer months from June to August.

And more than 20 per cent take place in August alone, due to the large number of people holidaying with their caravans during the summer.

Admiral is therefore warning drivers to check the weight of their vehicles before setting off.

Clare Egan added: ” In late 2021, the driving laws changed which means anyone with a full driving licence can drive tow a caravan without any additional qualifications, but only if the maximum authorised mass (MAM) of the towing vehicle and caravan doesn’t exceed 3,500kg.

“Drivers still need to check the weight of their vehicles as not all caravans fall into this category.

“Remember, you could be fined up to £1,000 and get three penalty points for failing to use suitable towing mirrors, which would put a real dampener on your holiday.

“So make sure you’re fully prepared before you set off.”

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