All drivers who passed a car test before 1 January 1997 retain their existing entitlement to tow trailers until their licence expires. This means they are generally entitled to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8.25 tonnes MAM.
Drivers who passed a car test on or after 1 January 1997 are required to pass an additional driving test in order to gain entitlement to category B+E which allows them to tow large caravans and trailers. The car and trailer test is based on the lorry driving test and lasts for approximately 1.5 hours. Please note that B+E tests are conducted at vocational bus and lorry driving test centres.
The towing test (B+E) includes an off-road reverse manoeuvre, uncoupling and re-coupling and driving on the road.
These are basic safety checks that a driver should carry out to ensure the vehicle is safe for use. Although some checks may involve the candidate in opening the bonnet to identify where fluid levels would be checked, pupils will not be asked to touch a hot engine or physically check fluid levels.
As vehicle technology advances, more and more vehicles are being equipped with electronic diagnostic systems, which inform the driver of the state of the engine fluid levels and tyre pressures. It will be acceptable for a candidate to refer to the vehicle information system (if fitted) when answering questions on fluid levels or tyre pressures.
Candidates will be asked five questions, which will be a combination of 'show me' and 'tell me'. A driving fault will be recorded for each incorrect answer to a maximum of four driving faults. If the candidate answers all five questions incorrectly, a serious fault will be recorded.