In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Can I tow a caravan with a B licence in Ireland? We will explain the confusing laws when it comes to towing a caravan, and what you need to take into account when towing a trailer or caravan.
Can I tow a caravan with a B licence in Ireland?
You can tow a caravan with a B licence in Ireland if you find yourself in one of the following cases:
- The maximum authorised mass (MAM) of the caravan doesn’t exceed 750kg;
- The MAM of the caravan exceeds 750kg, but the total weight of the car + the loaded caravan isn’t more than 3500 kg.
- If you want to tow a caravan heavier than 3500 kg, you will have to get a BE licence (you will, however, be considered a Learner driver, thus you must display an L-plate on the trailer and be accompanied by a driver with a full BE licence at all times).
Can I tow a horse float with a B licence in Ireland?
You can tow a horse float with a B licence in Ireland, as long as the weight of the car and the weight of the loaded horse float, do not exceed 3500 kg. Which, we have to face it, it’s quite rare. A horse alone weighs around 900 kg. To this, add the saddle, water, food, and so on.
According to the Road Safety Authority, “As a general rule, a category B licence does not entitle the holder to tow a horsebox or a livestock trailer, because the combined Mam would exceed 3,500kg.”
Thus, in most cases, you would need a BE licence to tow a horse float in Ireland.
Is camping legal in Ireland?
Much of Ireland is private property and thus wild camping is illegal without the prior approval of the owner. Some national parks have free camping spots; however, you must respect the rules to leave no trace. To know the regulations of the areas you want to visit, consult the tourist centres.
Ireland has more than 100 campsites and they are all relatively cheap (around €15/night).
Do I need a permit to drive a caravan in Ireland?
You do not need a special permit to drive a caravan in Ireland. In order to rent a vehicle, all drivers must have a full and valid driving license. If you have been licensed in the UK, you will be able to drive category B vehicles weighing up to 3,500 kg.
If the license has been issued in a language other than English, you will need to obtain an international driving permit.
Weights of a caravan explained
If you are considering hitching a trailer to your vehicle because the load capacity of your car is insufficient because you need to transport a bulky item, or because you are excited to live the experience of camping in a caravan it is very important that you make sure that the whole assembly will not exceed the maximum weight allowed to circulate with a trailer attached to the car.
There are several things to keep in mind if you want to hitch a trailer (not self-propelled) to your car, and weight is by far the factor you should pay the most attention to. Correctly calculate the weight, or rather, the mass of the car-trailer assembly.
Not only does it allow you to establish if your vehicle has the necessary power to carry it, but it is also necessary to know if the requirements established by law are met.
Can I tow a trailer with a B licence?
Yes, you can tow a trailer with a B licence, observing certain conditions. You see, in accordance with the Irish Rules of the Road, the class B permit authorizes the following vehicles to be driven:
- Automobiles whose maximum authorized mass does not exceed 3,500 kg and that have been designed and built to transport a maximum of 8 passengers, in addition to the driver; that is, 9 people in total. Said automobiles may have a trailer attached with a maximum authorized mass not exceeding 750 kg.
- If the maximum authorized mass of the trailer exceeds 750 kg, then the maximum authorized mass of the car + loaded trailer should not exceed 4,250 kg.
- But be careful: if the maximum authorized mass of the set exceeds 4,250 kg, you need to obtain the B + E permit. This allows you to drive sets of coupled vehicles, made up of a tractor vehicle authorized by permit B and a trailer or semi-trailer whose maximum authorized mass does not exceed 3,500 kg.
We thus observe that the Rules of the Road distinguish two types of trailers, based on their weight: Light trailers and non-light (or heavier) trailers.
- Light trailers: are those whose maximum authorized mass (MAM) does not exceed 750 kg.
- Heavier trailers: are those whose maximum authorized mass (MAM) exceeds 750 kg, but when calculating the MAM of the coupled set does not exceed 4,250 kg.
Towing concepts that may be useful
As the terminology associated with this topic may not sound very familiar to some, here we bring you a small glossary.
Maximum authorized mass or MAM: refers to the maximum weight that a vehicle is allowed to have to circulate on a public road, once loaded. That is, this figure includes the weight of the vehicle itself with its complete necessary equipment, including fuel, fluids, etc.; plus the weight of the driver, passengers and the load you carry.
Tare: is the weight of the vehicle with its authorized fixed equipment, full supply of fluids, tools and necessary accessories, not including people or cargo. You can find out what this value is by consulting the vehicle’s Technical Data Sheet.
Maximum towable mass refers to the maximum weight that our vehicle can tow. It is usually accompanied by the expressions s / f and c / f that mean “with brakes” and “without brakes”, respectively; that is, considering whether the trailer has brakes or not. You can also get this value in the vehicle’s Technical Data Sheet.
Maximum mass of the set: it refers to the maximum weight that the vehicle-tractor set plus the trailer and the load can reach. The MMC is calculated by adding the MAM of the towing vehicle plus the MAM of the trailer.
What happens if the MAM is exceeded?
Driving on a public road exceeding the maximum authorized load constitutes an infringement of the traffic and transport regulations and, therefore, carries penalties, which vary depending on the severity of the same. The amounts in euros of the sanctions range from €301 to €4000, depending on the seriousness of the violation.
The bottom line
Before travelling to Ireland, or any country for that matter, it is recommended to check with the legislation what the rules of the road are. This way, you will not only be safe on the road but also avoid a “sweet” fine in your name.
Please let us know if you have any questions or comments on the content.
FAQ on Can I tow a caravan with a B licence in Ireland?
What weight can a car tow?
Most cars can tow up to 3,500 kg weight. If the car is towing a trailer whose maximum authorized mass (MAM) is greater than 750 kg, the maximum permitted trailer + car weight will be 3,500 kg.
What is caravan MAM?
A caravan’s MAM is the Maximum Authorized Mass, meaning the total weight of the vehicle with the maximum load inside. That is the sum of the payload plus the tare of the caravan.
How much weight can you drive with the B license?
With the B license, you can take a trailer that does not exceed 750 kg of maximum authorized mass. The set, including the vehicle and the trailer, must not exceed 3,500 kg of maximum authorized mass, which is what the driving license B establishes.