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Get Towing Trailer training… The Trailer Test Explained

Category B+E Trailer Test Explained

Aims for the Trailer Test.

A course with Get Towing Trailer Training should enable a qualified Category B driver to raise their standard of driving so that they become sufficiently competent to pass the
DVSA Category B+E Trailer Driving Test.

Objective of the Trailer Test.

The driver should be able to demonstrate that they can consistently drive skilfully, safely and competently at all times during their trailer training course and trailer test.
The driver should be able to demonstrate that they know the principles of good trailer towing driving and road safety, and then apply them in practice to the following subjects as a basis for the test:
• Expert handling of controls.
• Use of correct road procedure.
• Anticipation of the actions of other road users and taking appropriate action.
• Sound judgment of speed, distance, timing and general road positioning.
• Consideration for the convenience and safety of other road users.
• Safety precautions on entering the vehicle and expert use of the controls.
• Move away straight ahead or at an angle and making normal stops.
• Approaching and turning right hand and left hand corners.
• Dealing with road junctions.
• Dealing with crossroads.
• Meeting, crossing the path of, overtaking other vehicles, allowing adequate clearance for other road users and anticipation.
• Dealing with pedestrian crossings. Giving appropriate signals in a clear and non-confusing manner.
Preparing for Cat B+E trailer test
You may be uninsured during your trailer training if you do not abide by the licensing regulations, even if you are insured to drive the vehicle ‘without’ a trailer.
Anyone allowing or asking someone to commit these offences can also be prosecuted.
Most vehicle insurance companies give at least third party cover for the trailer training course, but may not pay for repairs to the trailer.
You should only get trailer training from fully registered DVSA Driving Instructors, there are many amateur groups out there who think they can teach trailer training but are only just amateurs who might not be good enough to pass the stringent tests set by the DVSA, if you pay anything for your trailer training the Instructor must be DVSA registered or they are breaking the law. If they are Observers, that’s exactly what you get, someone to sit next to you who observes, get a fully qualified DVSA Instructor who is a professional at trailer test teaching.
The trailer test
The test takes place at the same test centres for drivers of Lorries and buses. The test is longer than a Cat B; about 90 min, (the on road part 60 min,) and has a higher fee.
Practical test type Weekday price Weekday evening and weekend price

Cat B+E
Vehicle and trailer
(correct at 2019)
(correct at 2019)

You can take your trailer test in either a manual or an automatic towing vehicle, however; taking the Cat B+E test in an automatic means you will only be allowed to tow trailers in an automatic vehicle, even if your ordinary Cat B licence covers you for manuals. If you pass your test in a manual you can also tow with an automatic.
The minimum test vehicle standards for a Cat B car test also apply to a vehicle and trailer test, with additional requirements for the trailer.
Vehicles that do not meet the minimum test vehicle standards are not suitable for the purpose of taking a test, and your test may be cancelled with the loss of fee.
Cat B+E is the Driving Standards Agency test for vehicle and trailer. You will be expected to show a good degree of skill in the use of all controls.
Cat B towing vehicle
Vehicles presented for test must be:
• A four wheeled vehicle of no more than 3,500kg MAM.
• Capable of a speed of at least 62.5 mph (100 km/h).
• Legally road worthy, insured, display a valid tax disc, and if it is over three years old must have a valid MoT certificate.
Be fitted with:
• A seatbelt for the examiner.
• A passenger head restraint, this need not be adjustable but must be fitted as an integral part of the seat. Slip on type head restraint is not permissible.
• L-plates displayed on the front of the vehicle and at the rear of the trailer, but not interfering with the driver or examiner’s view.
• An audible or visual warning device to confirm that the trailer indicator lights are operating.
• Have a speedometer that measures speed in miles per hour and kilometers per hour.
• Have no warning lights showing i.e. the airbag warning light, or engine management light.
• Have the same number plate as the trailer.
• Externally mounted, nearside and offside mirrors must be fitted for use by the examiner or any person supervising the test.

Vehicle/Trailer Dimensions must be provided at the time of booking.
When walking to and from the manoeuvring area at the test centre you have to wear a High Visibility jacket.
It is important that the vehicles cab is cleaned inside so the examiner does not get dirty. If necessary place a sheet or cover over the seating. If the vehicle is too dirty the examiner may cancel the test at your expense.
Cat B + E (Vehicle and trailer test)
Vehicles presented for test must be a Cat B vehicle, towing a suitably braked, unladen trailer of at least 1,000kg MAM. The examiner may ask for evidence of the trailer MAM, e.g. manufacturers plate.
All vehicle combinations must operate on appropriate brakes and utilise a coupling arrangement suitable for the weight.
A combination used for Cat B+E on or after the 1 October 2003 the following additional standards will apply:
Cargo compartment
The cargo compartment of the trailer must consist of a closed box body which is at least as wide and as high as the towing vehicle; the closed box body may also be slightly less wide than the towing vehicle provided that the view to the rear is only possible by use of the external rear-view mirrors of the towing vehicle.
Combination Requirements
There have been some changes to the type of trailer that can be used on test:
Before October 2003
If you are using a towing vehicle that was registered before October 2003 then you can use any trailer that is plated at 1,000kg gross weight or over. (NB: This is the plated gross weight, which is the weight of the trailer and the load combined). The trailer can be any dimension within the rules of construction and use regulations and any type; which includes boat trailers, horse boxes, flatbeds etc.
After October 2003
Towing vehicles registered after October 2003 must only use trailers that are plated at 1,000kg gross weight or over and be constructed so that the driver cannot see through or over the top, i.e. Horseboxes, Van trailers, Tilt-cover trailers etc. This is so only the side mirrors can be used for the reversing exercise.
Pre-Test check list, the vehicle and trailer must be:
Displaying L-plates to the front of the vehicle and the rear of the trailer.
Accompanied by a person who is at least 21 years old and holds a full driving licence for towing a trailer Cat B+E, they must have held this for at least 3 years. (not to be confused with ‘Grandfather Rights’)
Fitted with externally mounted, nearside and offside mirrors for use by any person supervising the training.
Fitted with an audible or visual device to indicate correct operation of the trailer indicators.
The combination must be legally roadworthy.
Trailer must show 2 white side lights to the front.
The same rear lights as a car, except for reversing lights.
Two triangular red reflectors.
Vehicle and trailer tyres for wear and pressures.
Coolant, windscreen wash, oil and brake fluid.

Matching number plates. (It is an offence to allow the number plate to be obscured. This is now a fixed penalty offence, and therefore more likely to be policed.)

Jockey wheel correctly stowed.
The breakaway cable and electrical plug properly connected.
Check the vehicle and trailer lights.
Trailer handbrake off.
Proof of trailers’ weight.
Keys and locking handles for security devices.
Wheel brace and jack for trailer.
All vehicle combinations must operate on appropriate brakes and utilise a coupling arrangement suitable for the weight.
An emergency breakaway cable must be fitted to the parking brake linkage and the other end clipped or fixed round some fixture on the towing vehicle so that, in the event of the trailer becoming detached from the towing vehicle, the cable will apply the parking brake automatically, before snapping itself. It is not recommended to loop the cable round the towball. (But do so if there is no alternative attachment point.) It is a separate offence not to use the breakaway cable provided.
It is your responsibility as the driver to know whether your vehicle/trailer combination needs a Tachograph.
Ask yourself the following questions:
• Is the vehicle used for hire or reward or for the commercial carriage of goods?
• Is the maximum permissible weight more than 3,500kg?
• Does the trailer consist only of plant or fixed equipment?
• Is the trailer only used for carrying equipment for the drivers own use?
In the view of VOSA a Tachograph would not be required.
As a result of a recent appeal court case, it might well be that the vehicle and trailer would have to be taken to a weighbridge and weighed at over 3,500kg before prosecution could proceed.
At the Test Centre
Make sure you have your full driving licence and counterpart with you and that it is correctly signed. The examiner cannot conduct your test if you cannot produce the correct documentation, your test will be cancelled and you will lose your fee.

good luck!