In this article, we will answer the following question: Can a learner tow a caravan? We will discuss the U.S rules of the road and give you a few tips to successfully buy and tow a caravan/trailer.
Can a learner tow a caravan?
In the US, a learner cannot tow a caravan or trailer of any size and weight. A learner cannot drive a vehicle that tows a trailer or any vehicle that is being towed.
To tow a trailer, the B category on your driver’s licence is sufficient in two cases:
- For all trailers with a GVWR of less than 750 kg.
- If the GVWR of the trailer is greater than or equal to 750 kg then the empty weight of the towing vehicle must be less than the GVWR of the trailer and the sum of the GVWR (towing vehicle + trailer) must be less than 3.5 tonnes.
The E category on your driver’s licence is compulsory in the following two cases:
- If the GVWR of the trailer is greater than 750 kg and greater than the unladen weight of your car.
- Or if the GVWR of the trailer is greater than 750 kg and the total GVWR (car + trailer) is then greater than 3.5 tonnes.
Do I need special insurance to tow a caravan/trailer?
- Trailer with a GVWR of less than 500 kg: Your car’s insurance is usually sufficient. This mention is normally made on the green card of your vehicle.
- Trailer with a GVWR of greater than 500 kg: Make a notice to your insurance company. In all cases, do your research and let your insurer know before setting off.
Do I need a grey card for my caravan/trailer?
- Trailer with a GVWR of less than 500 kg: A trailer with a GVWR of 500 kg or less does not require a specific registration card. It is thus said to be non-registerable. The registration of the trailer will be the same as that of the car.
- Trailer with a GVWR of over 500 kg: A trailer with a GVWR of more than 500 kg must be registered independently and have a grey card, it is therefore said to be registrable. A mining certificate is given to you upon purchase.
This certificate will allow you to register your trailer with the police headquarters. The registration of the trailer will then be different from that of the car.
What speed when towing a caravan?
If you can tow fully loaded trailers at the maximum authorized speed, it is still necessary to adapt your driving due to the alteration of braking distances and road holding and to comply with the specific signs provided by the U.S. Rules of the Road.
If your vehicle’s GVWR is greater than 3.5 tonnes and you tow a trailer, it is mandatory to limit yourself to a speed of 80 km / h on the road and 90 km / h on the motorway. You will need to install the 80 and 90 discs on the back of your trailer.
Is the brake system mandatory for my caravan/trailer?
You must equip your trailer with a braking system if its GVWR is equal to or greater than 750 kg and if the GVWR of the trailer is greater than half of the empty weight of the towing vehicle.
You must equip it with a safety chain if it is an unbraked trailer. A “breaking cable” is compulsory for braked trailers.
States that require a Commercial Driver’s Licence for Towing
In the US, the following states require a commercial driver’s licence for towing any vehicle over 26,000 lbs:
- New Mexico
- Washington, D.C.
States that require a Non-Commercial Special Driver’s License for Towing
In the US, the following states require a non-commercial Special Driver’s licence for towing over 26,000 lb or over 40 feet:
- North Carolina
- New York
- South Carolina
States that Do Not Require a Special Driver’s License for Towing
In the US, the following states do not require a special driver’s licence for Towing a caravan or a trailer.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- West Virginia.
Can all cars tow a caravan?
Small city cars with a gasoline engine are not the most suitable vehicles for towing a caravan. It is best to opt for a caravan vacation when you have a vehicle of sufficient size to tow it. Professionals recommend a car with high engine torque.
As with trailers, it is essential to rely on the maximum load weight the vehicle can tow. It is stated in the manufacturer’s documents provided when purchasing the car.
How to hitch your caravan to the car?
There are several coupling devices for a caravan or trailer. The most common are couplings fitted with a removable ball joint with or without tools. Newer models can be fitted with a retractable ball joint.
It is recommended that your hitching device be installed by a professional so that the whole assembly is securely attached. However, you can remove the ball joint yourself as long as it is removable.
Final tips: The keys to a successful trailer purchase
- Choose your trailer according to its payload: This is the maximum load in kilograms that the trailer axle supports. Those whose GVWR (permissible gross weight) exceeds 500 kg have a grey card, and therefore a registration. Specific insurance is then compulsory.
- Big wheels or small wheels? The larger they are (12 or 13 “), the safer and more stable the trailer will be, but it will cost more, like its tires.
- Single or double axle? Single-axle (2-wheel) trailers are cheaper, lighter and easier to manoeuvre than double-axle (4-wheel) trailers. But the latter is more stable and better suited to transporting heavy loads. Finally, the risk of losing control in the event of a puncture is greatly reduced.
- Braked or not braked? It is compulsory to use a braked trailer if its GVWR is more than half of the unladen weight indicated in box G1 of the vehicle registration document that is towing it.
Note, all trailers with a GVWR of over 750 kg are braked. The system engages automatically when the car brakes or stalls: a plus for safety.
- And the accessories? Some are important: spare wheel, jockey wheel to stabilize and move the trailer when it is not hitched, protective tarpaulin, anti-theft device, tie-down hooks … For a heavy trailer, a coupling head with a stabilizer offers greater security (from 200 to 400 $).
- How to charge it? Place 50 to 80 kg on the boom (ball), and load primarily on the front (especially do not put more weight at the rear) of the trailer to avoid the yaw phenomenon, which leads to loss of control of the trailer and the complete hitch.
Do you have any tips that you’d like to share with our readers? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment or ask a question about the content!
FAQ on Can a learner tow a caravan?
Can an L plater tow a caravan?
An L plater cannot tow a caravan or drive the vehicle that is being towed!
Can I tow a caravan on my Licence UK?
In the UK you can tow a caravan if you have a full licence. However, it will only let you tow a caravan that weighs a maximum of 750 kgs.
Can a learner driver tow a trailer in Qld 2020?
A learner driver can tow a trailer in Queensland in 2020.
What class is a tow truck?
A tow truck is either a Class A or Class B type. You have to check which states require a commercial drivers licence before hitting the road.