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Trailer Licence Training Blog, Pass from £399, take your B+E test with us!

The licence category for car and trailer is B E, sometimes called B+E. Therefore, the trailer test is often referred to as the B+E test. B being your normal car category, and E being the trailer entitlement. Some people also call it the trailer  towing test, it’s all the same thing!

When you have passed your B+E test you will be allowed to tow any trailer behind your category B vehicle, providing the weight of the trailer and it’s load is within the vehicle manufacturers specifications. The trailer licence test lasts for 90 minutes and is conducted from DVSA vocational test centres. These are test centres that conduct large vehicle tests for lorries, coaches and of course, car and trailers.

The main test centres that we use are at Chelmsford, Enfield and West Thurrock.

The test has four main elements:

Safety questions, the reversing exercise, the uncouple and recouple of the trailer and on road driving. You will need to prove you are competent in each subject to pass your trailer licence test.

The safety questions:

You Will be asked 5/6 questions relating to the safety and maintenance of the vehicle and trailer. These will be a combination of “show me” questions where you will need to actually demonstrate the answer, and “tell me” questions where you will just need to explain. For example: “show me how you would check your horn is working” means actually pressing the horn to operate it. “Tell me how you would check your tyres to ensure they have sufficient tread depth and they are safe to use on the road” means you would just have to explain how you would check the tyres, not actually take the examiner on a trip around the car and trailer whilst you inspect every tyre!

The reversing exercise: 

You need to demonstrate a level of basic competence of trailer reversing. This is done in a special area at the test centre, usually at the start of the test. To pass you need to reverse in an elongated S-shape into a bay made from cones, stopping with the rear of the trailer in a predetermined space. The examiner will be looking at your control of the vehicle and your observations whilst doing the exercise.


There is no need to awkwardly shuffle the wheel whilst reversing. Maneuvering a trailer often requires large steering inputs to be applied quite quickly, shuffling the wheel through your hands slows down your steering (especially if it’s a method you are adopting for the test and you are not used to steering this way), it is completely acceptable to cross your hands on the wheel, or even use the palm of your hand to spin the wheel to quickly apply the required lock. We don’t advise palming the wheel when driving forwards, as your hand could slip off the wheel leading to loss of control, but it’s completely fine at the slow speed used for reversing a trailer. You are allowed to drive forwards up to twice during the reversing exercise. So if the trailer bends too much, or turns the wrong way, you can pull forwards and straighten up.


During the reverse exercise, you should maintain good all round observations. Looking over your shoulder is permitted, but must not be the only place you look. It’s safe to say that there will not be any pedestrians wandering around the reversing area during your test, however the examiner will be expecting you to reverse as though you are in a busy area, so correct observations should be made throughout.

Common faults:

Allowing the trailer to turn so much that it cannot be recovered.

Allowing the vehicle or trailer to go outside the perimeter of the reversing area.

Not driving forwards far enough when taking a corrective shunt, meaning that the combination simply goes back to a poor position. Ensure you drive forwards far enough to ensure the car and trailer are straight.

Hitting a cone or barrier.

Stopping short of the marked box for the rear of the trailer.

Poor observations.

Reversing too quickly leading to a loss of control.

You won’t be asked to do any reversing on the road, this is due to the limited visibility to the rear of the trailer.

Trailer uncouple and recouple:

Often done at the start of the trailer test, however this varies at different test centres or with different examiners. The examiner will always give you clear instructions on exactly what is expected, so don’t worry about the order of the test, just concentrate on performing well. You will be asked to uncouple the trailer from the car and park the car alongside the trailer. You will then be asked to couple the trailer to the car as though it was a different trailer that you have not seen before.

Common faults:

Uncoupling in the wrong order.

Failing to carry out the correct trailer checks before hitching up.

Reversing back too far and colliding with the trailer.

Coupling in the wrong order.

Failure to check the trailer has coupled correctly.

Not checking trailer lights.

On road driving:

You will be driving for about an hour during the towing test. A high standard of driving is required, you will need to demonstrate good anticipation of changing conditions ahead, correct use of the mirror, signal, manoeuvre routine, drive at a safe speed whilst maintaining good progress where possible and give consideration to the weight of the trailer in accelerating, braking and cornering.

Common faults:

Incorrect use of the mirror, signal, manoeuvre routine.

Poor observations when moving away.

Forcing other vehicles to brake at a junction, particularly roundabouts.

Driving too fast or slow for the road.

Approaching junctions too quickly.

Poor lane discipline especially on roundabouts.

Passing Your Trailer Test

The trailer towing test is comprehensive, many people think you will just do some reversing and a pass is pretty much guaranteed, this is not true! However, with our training you will benefit from our years of experience of preparing people for their B+E test, hugely improving your chances of passing the test first time. Don’t worry if any of this sounds daunting, we’re used to seeing nervous people and are experts at preparing even the most nervous to pass first time.

Over 90% of our customers pass first time on a two day course and save themselves time and money by doing so.