Additional driver training for towing trailers will be required. If a trailer is being towed, no passengers may be carried behind the front row of seats unless there is a side door that is easily accessible to passengers. Before towing a trailer, the following checks must be carried out to ensure:
- that the vehicle being used is appropriate for this use (seek professional advice through the Safety Office if any doubt)
- that the gross weight of the vehicle plus the trailer is within the vehicle’s gross weight limit
- that the kerbside weight of the towing vehicle is clearly marked on the front nearside of the vehicle
- that the downward force from the loaded trailer on the towing ball is within the limits imposed by the towing vehicle manufacturer
- that the axle loads of the towing vehicle are not exceeded
- that a breakaway chain is in use, which will activate the handbrake should the coupling break. Advice on this matter should be sought from the trailer manufacturer or approved dealer
- that the unladen weight of the trailer and trailer tyre pressures are clearly marked on the trailer
- that the total gross weight (trailer weight plus maximum load to be carried) is clearly marked on the front of the trailer
- that the trailer handbrake/overrun brake functions properly
- that the trailer lights and indicators work
- that the load is securely lashed to the trailer body or frame
- that there is suitable marking of any rear overhang greater than one metre by using a 'Long Vehicle" sign or other approved method (e.g. warning tape) or an approved light in hours of darkness or bad weather.
When towing a trailer, the driver must be very cautious about how fast they drive. Vehicle/trailer combinations can become unstable at speeds below the legal maximum, particularly when being passed by fast moving large vehicles, in windy conditions, or when manoeuvring. On long journeys the trailer and vehicle should be checked at least once every two hours of travel.
Users of boat trailers are strongly advised to refer to the Amateur Rowing Association's booklet "Towing of Boat Trailers".