• Home
  • Advice
  • Brands
  • Partners
  • News
  • Reviews
  • Forum
  • New car ratings

Our all-new and unique Expert Rating system analyses new cars based on dozens of UK media reviews to give you the best possible car buying advice. Check it out now!

Trailer safety checklist

Stay up to date with the latest from The Car Expert

Latest articles

All-electric Volvo XC40 Recharge revealed

Volvo’s first vehicle in its all-electric offensive has been revealed in the form of the Volvo XC40 Recharge compact SUV.

All-new 2020 Toyota Yaris revealed

The next-generation Toyota Yaris has been unveiled ahead of its arrival in the UK next year.

New car finance rules set to save customers millions

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced stricter new car finance rules, which it says will save car buyers of the UK £165 million each year.

Back pain caused by car seats has caused more than a third of drivers to take a day off work

Uncomfortable and poor-quality car seats are costing the UK economy billions annually due to burden on the NHS and employees taking sick leave.
 

On average there are 4,809 towing incidents annually in the UK, which most commonly occur on motorways and major A-roads. To help motorists stay safe on the road, IAM RoadSmart and the National Trailer and Towing Association have issued the following checklist for drivers to work through before setting off.

Towing a vehicle

The trailer operator or the driver of the towing vehicle has the responsibility for the safe operation of the trailer and needs to carry out the following checks:

  • Be sure to check that your driving licence entitles you to tow the combination of a vehicle and trailer.
  • Have you checked the weight? Remember to ensure that the load you intend to carry is within the trailer’s official payload.
  • Bear in mind that the actual gross weight being towed needs to be within the towing vehicle manufacturer’s recommended maximum towing limit (whether braked or unbraked).

Volkswagen Passat towing a caravan

Trailer checks before each journey

  • If the trailer is laden, is the load correctly distributed and secure? To stop your trailer from being unstable, spread the load across the board and avoid having too much or too little nose weight. Even a heavy load will need to be strapped down, as gravity itself is not enough.
  • Before you set off, check that your lights are working correctly and are damage-free. Whilst doing this, also check that the lighting cable and plug are in good condition.
  • Be sure the correct number plate is fitted. This should be the same registration number as your vehicle and needs to conform to DVLA standards.
  • Check that your breakaway cable or secondary coupling is undamaged and connected correctly to a suitable point on the tow bar or towing vehicle. As well as inspecting for damage, make sure that the trailer is correctly coupled to the towball or pin.
  • The tyre pressure must be correct and all tyres free from cuts, bulges and with adequate tread (including the spare). Remember, tyres must have a continuous tread depth of at least 1.6mm on cars, light vans and trailers, across the centre three-quarters of the width.
  • It’s crucial that the wheel nuts and bolts are tightened to the correct torque for safety and for a smooth journey.
  • If required, are the mudguards secure and in satisfactory condition?
  • Take into consideration the size of your vehicle and the trailer. Is the coupling height correct? Check that your trailer is not excessively nose down or nose up. If your vehicle and trailer don’t align, get an adjustment plate to accommodate this issue.
  • Be aware of the national speed limit for a vehicle towing a trailer. The maximum speed limit on a single carriageway road is 50mph, and 60mph on a dual carriageway or motorway.

National Trailer and Towing Association trailer

   

For the best independent and impartial car buying advice on the internet, always check with The Car Expert:

  • Subscribe to our newsletter for weekly tips and the latest offers from car manufacturers
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see our latest articles as soon as we publish them
  • Bookmark our site so you can check back regularly
Michael Dalton
Michael Daltonhttp://thevanexpert.co.uk
Michael graduated from university in 2016 with a degree in Human, Social, and Political Sciences. He contributes to both The Car Expert and The Van Expert.

The Car Expert partners

Our commercial partners. Click on the logos for more information and special offers

Trailer safety checklist 1
Trailer safety checklist 2
Trailer safety checklist 3
Trailer safety checklist 4
Trailer safety checklist 5
Trailer safety checklist 6

Latest articles

All-electric Volvo XC40 Recharge revealed

Volvo’s first vehicle in its all-electric offensive has been revealed in the form of the Volvo XC40 Recharge compact SUV.

All-new 2020 Toyota Yaris revealed

The next-generation Toyota Yaris has been unveiled ahead of its arrival in the UK next year.

New car finance rules set to save customers millions

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced stricter new car finance rules, which it says will save car buyers of the UK £165 million each year.

Back pain caused by car seats has caused more than a...

Uncomfortable and poor-quality car seats are costing the UK economy billions annually due to burden on the NHS and employees taking sick leave.

What are your thoughts? Let us know below.

Be the first to know

Would you like to stay up to date with The Car Expert?