If you need a license to drive a trailer you will need to take the car and trailer driving test (B+E). The information in this section explains when you can book a car and trailer test and what happens during the process.
Other key topics include the three faults you can make and getting your result. Review the current rules about the car and the trailer you can use (e.g. a horsebox) to pass a trailer test.
Providing your full car driving licence is valid, you can book your driving test through the online booking service.
The 'B+E car and trailer test' is a practical evaluation. It does not involve having to pass another theory examination. But, you must be able to:
You should only take the test when there is no longer a need for instruction. The DVSA produce guidance notes on the national standard for driving category B vehicles (e.g. cars and light vans).
The national standard explains what skills, knowledge, and understanding you will need to pass the car and trailer test.
Note: There is no minimum number of lessons required to book a car and trailer practical driving test. But, it's worth checking the rules on towing with a car licence to see if you actually need to take it.
You will be allowed to change your driving test appointment up to six (6) times after making the original booking. Provide advance notice of at least three (3) working days to avoid having to pay again. Sundays and public holidays will not count as a working day.
What if you lose the confirmation email sent to you after making a booking? In this case, you can check your driving test appointment details on the driving test booking service.
You would need to book your driving test as a repeat process to rebook it (for example if you fail and want to resit it). You would need to choose a date that is at least three (3) working days later.
You will need to take the right things to the car and trailer test. You must take:
Failing to take the right things means they will cancel your test and will not reimburse your money!
What happens if you lose your drivers licence before taking the test? In this case, you should apply for a replacement driving licence (it could take two weeks to arrive). So, you may need to rearrange the test if you do not get it in time.
The test examiner will ask whether you would like to have someone accompany you. If you take someone with you, such as your driving instructor or a relative, they can:
If you choose to take someone with you they must be over sixteen (16) and must not take any part in the test. The DVSA produce guidance notes for people who sit in and observe driving tests.
Note: You can only sit the car and trailer driving test in English or Welsh language. Likewise, you cannot have a foreign language interpreter accompany you.
It will take around fifty (50) minutes to drive around and complete all six (6) parts of the driving test. The six parts are:
To pass the eye test you will need to read a vehicle number plate from a distance of:
Note: The new-style number plates begin with two (2) letters followed by two (2) numbers (e.g. AB99 ABC). Failing the car and trailer eyesight check means you will also fail the driving test. If this happens, the process would end.
The examiner will ask you five (5) questions about vehicle safety (i.e. the 'show me, tell me' section of the category B+E (car and trailer) driving tests). The main purpose of these tests is to confirm that you know how to carry out some basic safety checks.
You must be able to manoeuvre the combination of your car and the trailer into a restricted space and be able to stop at a certain point. The examiner will have a reversing exercise diagram that will show:
As a rule, the car and trailer test involves driving in a variety of road and traffic conditions. It may also include driving on motorways, where practical.
The DVSA do not publish any driving test routes. So, there is no way to check the route before you take the test. Instead, the examiner will provide you with clear directions for you to follow.
At some point, the tester will ask you to pull over the vehicle and then pull it away, such as:
This is a section of independent driving (around 10 minutes), following:
Note: You can see an independent driving route diagram example on the GOV.UK website (similar to one the examiner might show you). It will help you understand how to follow verbal directions - because you cannot use a sat nav on the car and trailer driving test.
It may be difficult to see a traffic sign (for example if trees are covering it). If this happens, the examiner will provide you with further directions to follow until you can see the next traffic sign.
The car and trailer practical driving test is not an assessment on your memory. So, you will not fail if you do not remember every direction given to you. Instead, stay calm and ask the examiner to confirm the directions for you.
As a general rule, going off the route will not affect your test result (unless taking a wrong turning causes you to make a fault). The examiner will be aware that it may happen, and will help you to get back on track if it does.
During this final part of the evaluation, the examiner will ask you to:
Only serious blunders are likely to affect the result even if you make a mistake. So, stay under control and continue with the test, if you feel you made an error of judgement.
Note: DVSA examiners only stop car and trailer tests if they assess the driving to be dangerous for other road users.
The three kinds of car and trailer test faults that drivers can make are:
You will pass the car and trailer practical driving test providing you DO NOT make:
If you reach the pass mark, the examiner who tested you will:
Note: You only have two (2) years to apply for your full driving licence if you choose not to have it sent 'automatically'. You would need to retake the test if you do not apply within the two year period.
There is no need to wait for the full licence to arrive before you start towing trailers. So, you can use your car to tow a trailer straight after passing the test. Allow up to three (3) weeks for the new licence to arrive before contacting the DVLA.
If you do not pass, the examiner will tell you which particular faults you made. You would need to book your driving test again (and pay again) to resit the test. You would need to choose a date that is at least three (3) working days later.
DVSA examiner guidance provides information on the regulations for carrying out driving tests. You can make an appeal if you believe the examiner failed to follow the regulations during your test.
You would need to make your appeal to either a magistrate's court or to a sheriff's court (depending on where you took your test). So, appeal to:
Note: A successful appeal would not get the test result changed, but it could get you a free retest.
Strict rules apply to all cars used for towing trailers in the driving test. So for example, you must be using a car that:
Note: The Lorry and bus section explains the definition of MAM in more detail. In simple terms, it refers to the weight limit of a vehicle when loaded.
You can either use a manual car (with 3 pedals) or an automatic car (with 2 pedals) to take the B+E trailer towing test in the United Kingdom. But, after passing the test, the type of car and trailer you can drive will depend on:
|Your Car Licence||Car Use for the Test||Cars You Can Drive (not towing)||Cars You Can Drive for Towing|
|Manual||Manual||Manual and automatic||Manual and automatic|
|Automatic||Manual||Manual and automatic||Manual and automatic|
|Manual||Automatic||Manual and automatic||Automatic|
Providing it meets all the rules, and is fitted with dual controls, there is nothing to stop you taking your test in a hire car.
As a rule, you will not be able to use any of the cars shown in this table of known vehicle safety faults. These cars have been recalled for reasons of safety.
|Car Model||Reason for the Recall||List of Vehicles Affected||Recall Issue Date|
|Citroen C1||Steering failure||Vehicles built between 9th of September 2014 and 15th of October 2014, with vehicle identification numbers (VINs) between wF7xxxxxxER516105 and VF7xxxxxxER523367||28th of June 2016|
|Peugeot 108||Steering failure||Vehicles built between 9th of June 2014 and 15th of October 2014, with VINs between VF3xxxxxxER256527 and F3xxxxxxER017078||28th of June 2016|
|Toyota Aygo||Steering failure||Build dates between 9th of September 2014 and 15th of October 2014, with VINs between JTDJGNEC#0N022080 and 0N026438, JTDJPNEC#0N002099 and 0N002100, JTDKGNEC#0N022186 and 0N031372, and JTDKPNEC#0N002083 and 0N002102||28th of June 2016|
|Toyota Yaris||Potentially defective seat rail track and/or steering column mounting||Some models built between Jun 2005 and May 2010 (‘05’ to ‘10’ registration plates)||9th of April 2014|
|Vauxhall ADAM||Potential steering problem||VINs with last 8 digits between E6077301 to E6113446, and F6000001 to F6006544||29th of September 2014|
|Vauxhall Corsa D||Potential steering problem||VINs with last 8 digits between E6071016 and E6118738, and E4181031 and E4308122||29th of September 2014|
In some cases, you may use one of the cars listed in the table by providing proof that the car (either):
The proof you provide to the car and trailer testing facility must be (either):
Note: The facility will cancel the test, and you may lose your test fee, if your car fails to meet the rules or you don't take appropriate proof.
Car and trailer test rules also apply to the actual trailer that you use and the load that it is carrying. The trailer used in the practical assessment must:
Note: You must not be able to see to the back of the vehicle through the rear window. Instead, you must need to use the external mirrors to get a view of the rear.
The trailer that you use must be carrying a load of not less than 600kg. The combined weight of the trailer and the load must not be less than 800kg. For the load itself, you can use (either):
As a rule, intermediate bulk containers are made from semi-transparent plastic, often reinforced with a wire frame. They are industrial containers used for transporting liquids.
Note: The examiner will cancel the test if the load is not secured safely to the trailer. Likewise, you would also need to pay the test fee again if the trailer or the load fail to meet the rules.
There are several valid reasons for cancelling a driving test. It may be stopped because of bad weather, because of health problems, or due to issues with the vehicle setup.
DVSA will not conduct car and trailer practical driving tests in dangerous or in adverse weather conditions. So, they will cancel it if there is thick fog, high winds, or if the roads are flooded or icy.
It is best to phone the test centre if there are any bad weather conditions in force on examination day. You will find the phone number on the booking confirmation email.
If the test cannot go ahead the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will:
Note: Drivers cannot claim out-of-pocket expenses if the DVSA cancels the test because of bad weather.
You would have to book your practical driving test again, and pay the exam fee once more, if the problem that causes the cancellation is (either):
There may be another reason why the DVSA needs to cancel the schedule (e.g. the examiner is not feeling well). In this case, they would send you a new date.
Note: You can apply for a refund of out-of-pocket expenses for a cancelled driving test at a short notice (less than 3 clear working days).
At the time you book the car and trailer driving test you should let the testing centre know if you have:
Note: Even though you would need to drive to the same standard to get a pass, the examiner can make some adjustments to help the situation.
Before the test begins, the examiner will talk to a driver with a disability about:
Note: Some disabled drivers may be physically unable to uncouple and recouple the car and trailer. In this case, the examiner may ask you questions about the exercise to check your understanding.
The examiner would start the test using written notes for drivers who are deaf or for those with a hearing impairment. The notes will make it easier to understand what is involved in a car and trailer test.
They will also face you when they speak, and may give directions as hand signals. Thus, anyone who can lip read will find it easier to understand what they are saying.
If you take a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter along with you they need to be at least sixteen (16) years old. It can be your driving instructor.
You would need to arrange your own interpreter and pay for any fees that they charge you. But, you can apply for a refund for using a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter at a driving test.
There are no trailer test rules that stop a pregnant woman taking part at any stage of the pregnancy. Even so, you would need to be able (and willing) to carry out an emergency stop in the vehicle.
Anyone with a reading difficulty can still perform the eyesight check at the beginning of the driving test. You can achieve it by writing down the number plate instead of reading it out aloud to the examiner.
If you have some learning difficulties, the examiner can make adjustments for the independent driving segment of the test. For example, you might prefer to follow traffic signs instead of the examiner's verbal directions.
Another alternative is to follow a set of directions given to you on a diagram. As a rule, examiners would ask drivers to follow up to three (3) directions at a time. But, they can reduce it to two (2) directions for someone with a learning difficulty.
Note: The short video [4:01 seconds] explains more about the B+E trailer towing test and the reversing manoeuvre.
What the Car and Trailer Driving Test Involves in United kingdom