Caravan owners warned of £2,500 fine for not checking crucial detail

Caravan owners are being warned they risk penalties of up to £2,500 for breaking important rules. Many caravan owners are preparing to head out on trips across the UK as the summer weather hits.

But experts at Swansway Motor Group are urging caravan owners to make sure they are aware of the rules they must follow when out on the roads. Breaking the rules could lead to huge fines.

There are a number of things caravan owners should be checking before they set out on holiday - including making a crucial check on their driving licence. Here we look at the rules caravan owners must stick to.

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Towing a caravan

A change in the law in 2021 means anyone with a full driving licence can tow a caravan without additional qualifications, providing the vehicle and caravan meet requirements. But owners need to check the weight of their caravan to make sure they do not get into trouble , The Sun reports.

Swansway Motor Group said: "Following a change in law in 2021, anyone holding a full driving licence can now tow a caravan as long as the combined maximum authorised mass (MAM) of both the vehicle and the caravan does not exceed 3,500kg, with no additional qualifications. However, since not all caravans fit within this category, be sure to check the weight of your caravan to confirm you are permitted to tow it with a standard licence.

"If you got your driving licence before January 1, 1997, you can tow a larger caravan with a combined vehicle and caravan weight limit of up to 8.25 tonnes MAM, without needing an extra driving qualification. We recommend you check the details on the back of your driving licence; if it lists category B or BE, you are authorised to drive caravans up to 3,500kg.

"If you find Category C1E(107) on your licence, you can tow larger trailers."

Check your rear light panel

You should check the rear light panel on your caravan before driving. Swansway Motor Group said: "Caravan lights are less frequently used than car lights and are checked much less as a result.

"This makes it much easier to overlook faults but driving with a faulty light can lead to fines up to £2,500, a driving ban, and 3 points on your licence for operating a vehicle in a dangerous condition.”

Check your tyres

Caravan owners should also make sure they check their tyres. Swansway Motor Group said: "Caravan tyres may also not get inspections as often as they should.

"Tyres can lose pressure over time, especially if the caravan has been stationary for months. Before setting off on a particularly long journey, be sure to check tyres for air pressure, signs of damage, and tread depth of at least 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tread and around the entire circumference.

"Having any of these below the legal limit can invalidate insurance, and result in a fine of up to £2,500 per tyre, and three points on your licence.”"

Stick to speed limits and lane laws

You could end up with a fine and penalty points if you do not stick to regulations. Swansway Motor Group said: "When towing a caravan, specific speed limits and lane usage rules apply.

"On motorways, the speed limit for a caravan is 60 mph. The right-hand lane is also off-limits for caravans if the road has three or more lanes.

"On single carriageways, the speed limit is 50 mph to maintain vehicle stability. Not adhering to these regulations can result in a £100 fine and three points."

Do I need to take a special test to tow a caravan or trailer?

You do not need to take a test to tow a caravan trailer as long as you have a valid category B (car and small vehicle) driving licence. But the weight you can legally tow depends on the date you originally passed your driving test.

If your licence was issued before January 1, 1997: You are allowed to drive a combined vehicle and trailer weight of 8,250 kg MAM (maximum authorised mass).

If your license was issued between January 1, 1997 and January 19, 2013: You can drive a car or van of up to 3,500 kg MAM towing a caravan of up to 750 kg MAM. You can also tow a trailer over this weight providing that the combined MAM of both vehicles does not exceed 3,500 kg.

If your license was issued after January 19, 2013: You are permitted to tow trailers under 750 kg MAM, or trailers heavier than that if the two vehicles' combined weight is no more than 3,500 kg MAM.