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Towing trailers or caravans with vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes

On this page reference is made to the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) of vehicles and trailers. This should be taken to mean the permissible maximum weight, also known as the gross vehicle weight. You can watch an information video provided by the Highways Agency below:

Category B: Vehicles up to 3,500kgs MAM and with up to eight passenger seats

A category B vehicle may be coupled with a trailer over 750kgs MAM, provided the combination does not exceed 3,500kgs MAM. Or it could be coupled with a trailer up to 750kgs MAM, provided the combination does not exceed 4,250kgs MAM.

Vehicle manufacturers normally recommend a maximum weight of trailer appropriate to their vehicle, details can usually be found in the vehicle's handbook or obtained from car dealerships.  

An exemption from the above combination weight limits allows a category B licence holder to tow a broken down vehicle from a position where it would otherwise cause danger or obstruction to other road users.

Category B+E: Vehicles up to 3,500kgs MAM, vehicle-trailers combinations not specified within category B entitlement

Category B+E allows vehicles up to 3,500kgs MAM to be combined with trailers in excess of 750kgs MAM, but not exceeding 3,500kgs MAM and the combined weight must not be more than 7,000kgs MAM. Construction and use regulations may also apply.

In order to gain this entitlement category B licence holders, who took their category B test on or after 1 January 1997, have to pass a further practical test for category B+E. Category B licence holders who took their test prior to this date already hold B+E entitlement. There is no category B+E theory test.

Drivers prior to 19 January 2013 – Category B+E

If you passed a category B+E test prior to 19 January 2013 (within the UK) you will retain your existing entitlement where the trailer you tow may be heavier than 3,500kg MAM providing construction and use regulations are not infringed.

Towing caravans

Existing caravanning general guidelines recommend that the laden weight of the caravan does not exceed 85 percent of the unladen weight of the car. Although this is not a requirement by law, this recommendation is designed to help improve stablility when towing a caravan.

Caravans of a greater weight can be towed provided you hold the appropriate licence category. However, vehicle manufacturers normally recommend a maximum weight of trailer appropriate to their vehicle based on construction and use requirements. Details can usually be found in the vehicle's handbook or obtained from car dealership.

Construction and use

This information relates to driver licensing matters only. If you are in doubt about how much your vehicle can legally tow, or the types of trailers it may tow, for details on the construction and use requirements regarding weights and dimensions for vehicles and trailers, please contact Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA), Coleraine BT51 3TA.

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