Staying Safe & Legal

Staying Safe & Legal

At Coventry Trailer Hire, the biggest west midlands based trailer rental centre, our friendly staff are always on hand to assist. With every car transporter trailer hire, our staff will take the customer through the ins and outs of the trailer’s functionalities, give a quick and easy demonstration on how to properly secure a vehicle to the trailer bed using the wheel straps provided and answer any questions you may have as a customer. We stock a larger range of rental trailers than any other company so it is important for us to make sure our customers are confident on how to use our equipment competently, safely and legally.

With the new licence changes at the tail end of last year, any persons with a Full UK Driving Licence is eligible to tow a braked trailer up to 3500KG (the maximum weight of braked trailers in the UK). This is obviously dependable on your towing vehicle’s own towing capacity, which could be a lot less. The 3500KG is based on the trailer’s gross permitted weight, regardless of whether there is a load on the back. So in the eyes of the law, the trailer may only weigh 1000KG empty but is still classed as the full 3500KG if plated as such. A 2700KG trailer may weigh 700KG empty but is still classed as a 2700KG load and so on. Always check your towing vehicle’s towing capacity and the gross weight of the trailer before towing.

Unbraked trailers (smaller trailers without brakes) have a maximum gross weight of 750KG or half the towing vehicle’s kerb weight – whichever is less. Smaller trailers may have a smaller gross weight. Ensure your trailer isn’t overloaded by checking the trailer’s load rating plate, usually found by the hitch.

Once you’ve ensure you’re eligible to tow, you should then ensure you’re towing legally. All trailer lights must be present and functional. This means two amber indicators, two red brake lights, two red side lights, two red triangle reflectors, number plate light(s), at least one fog lamp on trailers wider than 1.3m, front markers on trailers wider than 1.6m and orange side markers on trailers over a certain length. A full guide can be found here.

The UK legal towing speed limits must be adhered to regardless of the size and weight of the trailer in question. 50mph applies on single carriageway national speed limit roads and 60mph on dual carriageway national speed limit roads; effectively 10mph below the normal speed limit. These are limits not targets, it is recommended that you always drive at a speed that is well within your capabilities, and to the road and weather conditions that prevail at the time. It should also be remembered that you must not travel in the outside lane of a three lane motorway whilst you are towing; you must only use the first two lanes.

If loads are not correctly balanced on the trailer, or you are driving too fast for the conditions, the trailer can begin to swerve (or snake) behind you. It is crucial that you slow your speed down gently by easing off the accelerator and not by braking. Applying the brakes in this situation could cause a serious accident.

Ensure not to brake sharply on a bend as this could cause the trailer to “jack-knife” into your vehicle. Reduce speed before the bend and take the appropriate gear for the speed you are doing, then gently accelerate out of the bend. You wouldn’t drive a lorry in the same manor you drive your car, so stay safe and respect the trailer’s added weight and length.

For more guides on towing trailers please feel free to read up on our guides:

For more information please refer to the official UK Government website or the National Trailer & Towing Association (NTTA) guide here.

For affordable quality Trailer Hire in the West Midlands call our friendly team at Coventry Trailer Hire on 02476 666 304 (Option 2). Our Coventry site is just minutes away from the M6, M69 and A444; ideal for customers across Birmingham, Leicester and the surrounding areas.