If you’re a keen caravanner, or if you’re thinking about buying your first caravan, you might have heard about the B+E test! At The Insurance Emporium, we know how confusing the different licenses and requirements for towing a caravan can get confusing. That’s why we’ve put together our guide to the B+E licence, and whether or not you need to take the B+E test to tow a caravan.
What is a B+E licence?
Otherwise known as the car and trailer driving test, passing a B+E test will give you a B+E licence, allowing you to tow heavier trailers. Most standard driving licences obtained after 1st January 1997, known as a category B licence, will allow you to tow trailers up to 750kg with a car weighing no more than 3,500kg. Alternatively, the combined mass of the trailer and towing vehicle must not exceed 3,500kg with a category B licence.
If you passed your driving test before 1st January 1997 however, you can drive and tow combinations of vehicles where the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) of both vehicles combined is no more than 8,250kg. The B+E licence will allow you to drive a vehicle and trailer combination with a combined MAM of 7,500kg, allowing you to drive heavier vehicles and tow larger trailers than a standard category B licence.
Do I need to take a B+E test?
With a category B licence, you’ll be able to tow a trailer with a maximum authorised mass of 750kg or a vehicle and trailer combination with an MAM of 3,500kg. A smaller car like a Nissan Micra weighs around 1,200kg, but only has a towing capacity of 600kg You’ll probably need a larger vehicle to tow a caravan, which can weigh up to around 1,300kg for a smaller two-berth or four-berth caravan, with larger trailers exceeding 1,800kg.
Obviously, all this mass adds up, and can easily exceed the total 3,500kg mass which is covered by a category B licence. Chances are, if you passed your driving test on or after 1st January 1997, you’ll need to pass a B+E test to tow a caravan!
Tips for taking your B+E test
So, chances are you’ll need to take a B+E test if you want to tow a caravan. Here are some things you’ll want to look out for on your B+E test!
Be aware on the roads
It’s important to be alert and aware when driving one vehicle, let alone two! Make sure to keep plenty of distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you, and allow plenty of room for braking. Keeping at a steady pace, without harsh braking or acceleration, will help you maintain a smooth tow.
Don’t fall into bad habits
If it’s been a while since you passed your category B driving test, you might have fallen into some bad habits while driving, with or without a caravan! Keep in mind the importance of checking your mirrors and your blind spots. And remember the golden rule for your hand position on the steering wheel; keep them at ten-to-two!
Practise the reverse
It’s the part that even seasoned caravanners can get nervous about… Which is why it’s so important to practise the reversing manoeuvre! One of the most important things to remember is you don’t have a time limit to complete the manoeuvre. It’s much more important to do it right rather than quickly!
When backing into the bay, you’re also only allowed to get out of your car a maximum of twice to see where you are; once for the reverse around the cone and once when you’re backing into the bay. The general rule of thumb when trying to reverse in a straight line is to use your mirrors effectively. If the caravan starts appearing larger in one mirror, move the steering wheel down towards that position to straighten up.
Insuring your caravan
Whether you’re thinking of buying a caravan for the first time or you’re a seasoned caravanner, it could be a good idea to think about taking out insurance for your caravan! At The Insurance Emporium, our Touring Caravan Insurance can provide up to 10 years* New For Old cover. Head on down to The Insurance Emporium to find out more!
* 10 years new for old cover available on Touring Caravan Quest policies.
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