Getting going with towing – opportunities at the upcoming NEC show


  • Last year’s driving licence changes give caravanners more choice
  • One-to-one towing tuition for first-timers at the Motorhome & Caravan Show in Birmingham
  • Updated Towing Guide tells caravanners all they need to know about towing safely
  • Free TowCheck to find out what you can safely and legally tow.

The National Caravan Council (NCC) reports that, when Government changed the Category B car driving licence in December 2021, they granted the B+E category to those with a full driving licence in England, Scotland and Wales and removed the requirement to take a further test.  This entitles licence holders to drive any practical combination of car and caravan, with a generous combined maximum allowable mass (MAM) of the combination of 7,500kg regardless of when they passed their driving test.  This will cover the majority of large cars/4x4s towing most caravans.

The NCC said: “This definitely offers greater choice when choosing a tow car and touring caravan.  However, we realise that drivers new to towing will benefit from the opportunity to undertake practical training and there are several opportunities at the upcoming Motorhome & Caravan Show at the NEC show to help with this. 

“The Camping and Caravanning Club will be offering free one-to-one towing sessions with Jeep as this year’s tow car partner. These sessions are a must for first-timers looking to try their hand at towing in a safe and monitored environment, with specially trained instructors on hand.”

Following the driving licence change, the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) launched a new Trailer Training Accredited Scheme with low-cost courses designed for drivers at every level of ability to learn and improve the skills they need to safely tow, or to tow a larger trailer.

If you have not towed before, or even if you feel in need of a refresher course, the Caravan and Motorhome Club and The Camping and Caravanning Club both also offer training sessions – more details from their stands.

The NCC continues: “If choosing a new tourer – or indeed a new tow car – you will want to make sure the car: caravan combination is safe.  It is recommended that, for inexperienced towers, the caravan should not exceed 85% of the car’s kerb weight. Visit the TowCheck stand at the show for a free assessment of what your current car can tow.

“There is a lot to think about it you are driving a combination up to 7,500kg especially if you are new to towing.  In addition to the practical courses through the Trailer Training Scheme, we have updated our Towing Guide which is packed full of information on the safest way to tow.   This vital ‘how to do it’ manual shows you how to protect your family and other road users.  Pick up a free copy at the TowCheck stand.” 

“So head on down to the Motorhome & Caravan show to see the latest models of touring caravans and to find out much of what you’ll need to know about towing and enjoying your touring caravan.”


Editors’ notes:

What driving licence do I need?

On a Category B licence, you can now drive a motor vehicle with a MAM of up to 3,500 kg and tow a trailer with that vehicle up to a maximum combined mass of 7,500kg in England, Scotland and Wales.  Different rules apply in Northern Ireland.

Check your car’s handbook to find out its gross train weight (GTW). This is the total allowable weight of the car plus the trailer plus the load.

DVLA will update your driving licence record to show that you’re allowed to tow trailers. You do not need to contact DVLA for this to happen. It will be done automatically. You’ll get category BE added to your driving licence when you next apply to get a new driving licence.  Read more here.

Note: When the initial licence expires at age 70, you must make sure that you tick all of the Categories which you are currently entitled to, and wish to continue with – if you don’t, then the entitlement will be lost, and can only be re-instated by the holder taking a new test under current qualification rules.

How large a caravan can be towed legally in the UK?

A touring caravan with: a maximum laden weight not exceeding 3,500 kg, overall width not exceeding 2.55 metres and overall body length not exceeding 7 metres (excluding drawbar and coupling) is the maximum size that can be legally towed by a motor vehicle whose maximum gross vehicle weight is less than 3,500 kg (so most 4x4s and even small/medium sized commercial vanare not allowed to tow caravans that exceed the above dimensions).