The Legal Requirements For Caravanning In The UK
There's nothing better than caravanning. It's not just a hobby; it's a way of life. If you're new to the delights of caravanning, or considering buying a caravan, there are lots of things to consider. Foremost among these are the legal requirements for caravanning on UK roads. Here are the things to remember that will keep you legal, and safe.
Keep To The Speed Limits
Towing a caravan will have a significant effect on the handling of your car. That's why it can be a good idea to undertake caravan towing training courses offered by caravan clubs across the country. Because a car may be less stable, and slower to react, when towing a caravan, the legal speed limits are reduced on some roads and carriageways. You will be restricted to 60MPH on motorways and dual carriageways that carry a central barrier, and 50MPH on single carriageways that would usually have a 60MPH limit. On all other roads, the same speed limit applies as if you were driving without a caravan.
Is Your Caravan The Right Size?
Caravans come in a variety of styles and sizes, but UK law stipulates that they can be a maximum of 7 metres long, not including the hitch, and 2.3 metres wide. If you buy a caravan that was manufactured in the United Kingdom you'll have nothing to worry about, but problems could occur if you buy a caravan that's been imported from the United States. The wide open freeways of the USA allow bigger caravans to be manufactured there, but attempting to drive one on our roads would invalidate your insurance, and could see you gain points on your license.
Display The Required Information
There are strict requirements about what must be displayed at the rear of a caravan, so it's important that you comply with them. A number plate, of legal dimensions and matching that of the car, must be displayed. This plate must also be illuminated at night. The caravan must feature brake lights and indicators that are connected to those of the towing vehicle. It must also have a fog light, as well as having light reflectors to improve the visibility of the caravan at night time. The tow bar itself must also meet legal requirements. It must have a mark showing that it is EC 94/20 approved, and the details of the car that it's fitted to.
Car And Nose Weight Restrictions
Every car has a maximum recommended towing weight. You'll find this in your car's handbook, or printed on the VIN plate. There are also nose weight restrictions which will vary depending upon the weight of both your vehicle and the caravan. If you exceed these restrictions, your car may become unsafe, and you could be liable to prosecution.
The law is very clear that passengers can't be carried in a moving caravan. Pets can be, but it makes much more sense to keep them in the car with you. By complying with the above rules and regulations, you'll have a safer journey, and not have to worry about being stopped by the authorities.