Experts are warning drivers that not all caravans fall into the category, and that they should double check the weight of their model to ensure they can tow it on a standard licence.
Only those who passed their test before January 1, 1997 are eligible to tow a larger caravan without an additional driving qualification.
This is generally a combined vehicle and caravan weight of up to 8.25 tonnes MAM.
Drivers can check this by looking on the reverse side of their driving licence.
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“But small checks, planning ahead, and simple maintenance can save a lot of heartache – and stop potential fines.”
Caravan owners are also being warned of other potential dangers, including warning lights.
When a bulb needs replacing on a car, the visual cue is noticeable, but it isn’t always as clear when it comes to caravans.
As they’re generally used less often than our cars, faults with a caravan’s lights are not always noticeable and may not be checked as regularly.
But driving with a light out on a vehicle can constitute driving it in a dangerous condition resulting in a fine of up to £2,500, be banned from driving, and get three penalty points for using a vehicle in a dangerous condition.
Similarly, caravan tyres aren’t always checked because they are not constantly used, but after a couple of months of sitting on a driveway, the tyres can lose pressure and even crack.
It’s always advised to check all the tyres before a long journey for air pressure and any signs of damage.
Drivers also need to ensure the tread depth is above the legal limit of 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tread – and around the entire circumference of the tyre.
Towing any vehicle with tyres that don’t meet the legal limit can result in any insurance being invalidated – as well as a £2,500 fine per tyre – and three penalty points.
Speed limits are also different for caravans, with drivers not being able to exceed 60mph on a motorway, nor are they able to enter the right-hand lane when there are three or more lanes.
When driving on a single carriageway, the maximum speed limit for those towing a caravan is 50mph to ensure vehicle stability.
Failure to follow these rules can result in a £100 fine and three penalty points.
Rhiannon Philips added: “Although it’s not the law, it’s always worth getting caravan breakdown cover in place – just in case anything happens.
“Should you break down in the middle of a motorway, your car breakdown cover is likely to only cover your car – not your caravan, leaving you footing an expensive call out bill.”
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