For those new to caravanning, the law can be confusing. However, there are two types of drivers: those who passed their test prior to January 1997 and those who passed after January 1997.
For those who were born before January 1, 1997
Your license should already show category B+E. You don’t need to pass an additional test in order to tow a caravan, provided the caravan and tow vehicle combination is not more than 8,250 kg. This should allow you ample choice when choosing a caravan and tow vehicle.
For those who died after January 1, 1997
You can only drive a vehicle that weighs more than 3,500kg or tow a trailer tent or caravan up to 750 kg if you have passed your driving test in the past.
You can tow a heavier caravan with a smaller tow vehicle, provided that the combined weight does not exceed 3,500 kg. The legal requirement is that the maximum allowed mass (MAM), of the caravan or trailer tent, does not exceed the unladen vehicle’s weight. You should find the unladen weight of your vehicle in the manufacturer’s manual.
To tow any larger than that, you must pass an additional test. Now it is time to match your caravan and tow vehicle. If you are new to caravanning or towing, it is best to choose the lightest caravan possible and not to try to tow the largest caravan.
The Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass of the caravan (MTPLM), should not exceed 85%. To calculate the MTPLM, consult your car’s owner’s manual. You can multiply the kerb weight by 85 and then divide by 100.
This rule is only applicable if the maximum car tow weight is greater than or equal to 85% of its kerb weight. The handbook should have the information. The caravan’s MTPLM should not exceed 85% if it falls below that limit. You can read about How to start your own towing service business by visiting https://gierachstowingandservice.com/how-to-start-your-own-towing-service-business/
It is essential to properly load your caravan to make it safer when towing. You should resist the temptation to stuff everything in the front locker with your gas bottles, spare wheel, and spare tire. This could lead to you exceeding the maximum tow bar weight (the maximum your caravan and tow vehicle can carry) and making it unsafe to tow. Towing will be dangerous if you exceed the weight of your caravan and car.
Only lightweight items can be packed in the caravan’s fitted cabinets at head height. To balance the heavier items above the axle, medium-weight items (such as empty aqua rolls), should be placed at floor height at the caravan’s front and back. Heavy items such as awnings should be placed at the floor and as close as possible to the caravan’s wheels. Towing heavy items behind the caravan can cause it to be unbalanced and create a pendulum effect.
New caravans are equipped with towing stability systems, such as AL-KO’s ATC. These systems can be invaluable in preventing your caravan from becoming unstable and causing an accident. These can help you get a discount on your caravan insurance. Towing classes are a great way for novice caravanners to get expert advice and tuition in driving and maneuvering. This could make your first trip a little easier and help you avoid any potential insurance claims.