DVSA warns drivers to be aware of speed limit changes when towing or risk hefty punishments

DVSA warns drivers to be aware of speed limit changes when towing or risk hefty punishments

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Hemma Visavadia

By Hemma Visavadia

Published: 21/04/2024

- 08:00

The average stopping distance when towing is twice as long as a regular vehicle

The DVSA has warned drivers to ensure they stick to the correct speed limits when towing a caravan or trailer or they could risk hefty fines.

The current speed limit for driving in built-up areas in England and Scotland is 30mph, while drivers in Wales have to stick to a 20mph limit. Speed limits then increase to 50mph on single carriageways and 60mph on dual carriageways, with the DVSA taking to social media to remind drivers of the rules.

However, the DVSA has warned drivers that speed limits can be different from speeds shown on road signs which may not be updated to reflect the current changes.

Previously drivers used to be able to sit specific tests for towing an add-on vehicle, although these have been scrapped, meaning many might not know the most up-to-date rules.

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Speed limits

Drivers towing a caravan could face fines if they are found to be speeding


Drivers can be hit with up to six penalty points on their licence if they exceed the speed limits while towing a caravan or trailer.

Vehicles towing heavy weights may not be able to slow down as quickly as normal vehicles, making it more of a hazard on the road.

The average stopping distance when driving a car at 60mph is 73 metres, but according to research, when towing a caravan, the stopping distance can be more than twice that.

The rules for towing a vehicle were changed in 2021 with the Department for Transport now allowing drivers who passed their test in 1997 to tow trailers up to 3,500kg.

In order to tow a caravan or trailer, drivers must be able to demonstrate they have the correct licence and that the trailer or caravan is suitable and legal for use on the road.

Drivers must also be insured to drive the combination of vehicle and trailer or caravan as some insurers won’t cover drivers towing vehicles.

Motorists also need to be able to prove that their vehicle is capable of towing the added weight, which could catch people out.

Compare the Market issued guidance to drivers, saying: “Pulling a trailer, caravan or motorhome can take some getting used to, and reversing one is an art form.

“If you’ve never done it before, you might want to practice in a quiet field first.

“Never overload your vehicle or trailer/caravan/motorhome. Make sure loads are spread out safely and fastened down securely, and that nothing can fly out.

“Make sure that all doors and catches are secured properly. Check any cables and make them secure.”

Drivers are encouraged to make appropriate safety checks before setting off, including checking the pressure in all the tyres.


Car towing caravan

Drivers can face up to six penalty points for breaching DVSA rules


Drive Safe and Legal detailed how, if vehicle tyres have a tread below the legal limit the stopping distance will be much greater. For every tyre on a caravan that does not meet the tread depth of 1.6mm drivers could be fined £2,500.

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