Those eagle eyed people on our social media channels may have noticed recently that I (Lewis) sat my trailer test, also known as B+E and it has sparked some conversation with pupils about what it is and why it could be important to have on your licence.
What can you do without it?
Category B – if you passed your test before 1 January 1997
You’re usually allowed to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8,250kg maximum authorised mass (MAM). View your driving licence information to check.
You’re also allowed to drive a minibus with a trailer over 750kg MAM.
Category B – if you passed your test on or after 1 January 1997
You can drive vehicles up to 3,500kg MAM with up to 8 passenger seats (with a trailer up to 750kg).
You can also tow heavier trailers if the total MAM of the vehicle and trailer isn’t more than 3,500kg.
You can drive motor tricycles with a power output higher than 15kW if you are over 21 years old.
Physically disabled drivers with provisional category B entitlement will also have provisional entitlement to ride category A1 or A motor tricycles.
Able-bodied drivers can no longer ride motor tricycles with a provisional category B licence.
Category B auto
You can drive a category B vehicle – but only an automatic one.
What it entitles?
You can drive a vehicle with a MAM of 3,500kg with a trailer.
The size of the trailer depends on the BE ‘valid from’ date shown on your licence. If the date is:
• before 19 January 2013, you can tow any size trailer
• on or after 19 January 2013, you can tow a trailer with a MAM of up to 3,500kg
There are 6 parts to the driving test:
• an eyesight check
• ‘show me, tell me’ vehicle safety questions
• reversing your vehicle
• general driving ability
• independent driving
• uncoupling and recoupling the trailer
You’ll drive for around 50 minutes.
You’ll have to read a number plate from a distance of:
• 20 metres for vehicles with a new-style number plate
• 20.5 metres for vehicles with an old-style number plate
New-style number plates start with 2 letters followed by 2 numbers, for example, AB51 ABC.
You’ll fail your driving test if you fail the eyesight check. The test will end.
‘Show me, tell me’ questions
You’ll be asked 5 vehicle safety questions known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions. These test that you know how to carry out basic safety checks.
Reversing your vehicle
You’ll have to show that you can manoeuvre your car and trailer into a restricted space and stop at a certain point.
The examiner will show you a diagram of where to reverse your vehicle.
Your general driving ability
You’ll drive in various road and traffic conditions, including motorways where possible.
The examiner will give you directions that you should follow. Driving test routes aren’t published, so you can’t check them before your test.
Pulling over at the side of the road
You’ll be asked to pull over and pull away during your test, including:
• normal stops at the side of the road
• pulling out from behind a parked vehicle
• a hill start
You’ll have to drive for about 10 minutes by following either:
• traffic signs
• a series of verbal directions
• a combination of both
The examiner can show you a simple diagram to help you understand where you’re going when following verbal directions.
You can’t use a sat nav.
If you can’t see traffic signs
If you can’t see a traffic sign (eg because it’s covered by trees), the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next one.
Forgetting the directions
You can ask the examiner to confirm the directions if you forget them. It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember every direction.
Going off the route
Your test result won’t be affected if you go off the route, unless you make a fault while doing it.
The examiner will help you get back on the route if you take a wrong turning.
Uncoupling and recoupling the trailer
You’ll be asked to:
• uncouple your car from the trailer
• park the car alongside the trailer
• realign the car with the trailer and recouple them
If you make mistakes during your test
You can carry on if you make a mistake. It might not affect your result if it’s not serious.
The examiner will only stop your test if they think your driving is a danger to other road users.
Why did I do it?
At present it isn’t something I currently need, however as we have many trailers in the family (caravan, car trailer, boats, motorbike trailer etc) then it is something I may need to utilise at some point. You never know when it could come in useful.
Where can I do it?
I did my trailer training with a local company (Feet2Wheels) and top ADI, Kate Fennelly. She is a great instructor and very local to Derby, if your looking to do your training/test, check out her website here.