To tow a trailer on a car licence (a Class 1 licence), the weight of your vehicle plus the weight of the trailer must not exceed
4500 kg (including the load you are carrying).
You must take extra care when towing a trailer or another vehicle. This is because, with the extra weight behind it, your vehicle
will feel different to drive.
Follow the safe towing guidelines below whenever you tow a trailer or another vehicle.
Note: the term 'trailer' includes caravans, boat and horse trailers.
If you are towing a trailer or another vehicle, check your rear-view mirror often to make sure you aren't holding up vehicles behind you.
Safe towing guidelines
- Refer to the car manufacturer's recommendations before towing a trailer, in particular the weight limits recommended.
- Refer to the loading limits for the tow bar you are using.
- Be aware that overloading and uneven loading of car trailers can seriously affect a car's handling.
- When driving a light vehicle (for example, a car or light truck), you must not tow more than one trailer or vehicle at a time.
- You must be able to see behind the towed trailer or vehicle. If you can't see behind with your rear-view mirrors, you may need to fit a special mirror.
- There must be no more than 4 metres between your vehicle and the trailer or vehicle it is towing.
- The towing connection and safety chain that holds the trailer/vehicle must be safe and strong.
- The maximum speed for a light vehicle towing a trailer on the open road is 90 km/h.
- The maximum speed for towing a motorcycle is 30 km/h.
- You must not tow a motorcycle unless it is mechanically disabled.
- At night, the back of the trailer/towed vehicle must show a red light.
- If you're towing a disabled vehicle at night, its headlights must light up the towing connection.
- Remember, you will be slower and less stable than other traffic when towing. Check behind often to see if other vehicles are held
up behind you.
- If the road is winding or narrow and vehicles can't pass you, stop at a safe place and let them pass.
- Leave more space than usual between your vehicle and the one in front, so that others can pass you.
- Remember that the added weight behind you means you will need more space to stop. Increase your following distance from two seconds
to four seconds.
When towing a horse trailer, take extra care as the horse may move – especially when you brake or travel around corners – and
this could affect the movement of the trailer.
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