Government considering doing away with trailer test

Ceifer

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Much as its inconvenient, you see so many people towing trailers who aren't competent at manoeuvring them 🙈 I support the test and if I was looking to tow I'd be glad to have been through the process. This seems like a silly shortcut to me.
Agreed. It is an art form to manoeuvre a trailer. I can’t reverse a trailer for toffee so did my HGV instead 😂
 

milliepops

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Agreed. It is an art form to manoeuvre a trailer. I can’t reverse a trailer for toffee so did my HGV instead 😂
Haha!
I did my hgv as well, I figured with the ridiculous number of horses I have it was a better option 🙃 OH has grandfather rights to tow (and is very good, used to reverse his mother's trailer when he was a kid 😆) so between us we've got most things covered 😉

The other suggestions I can understand a bit better.
 

holeymoley

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I understand both ways but, the worst reversing I’ve seen has been from the ‘older’ horse community- no offence intended to anyone, no proof they passed before 1997 either but it’s definitely in my experience been from people that because they ‘can’ they think they just hook up and go. I tow a smaller combination within 3.5t so haven’t done the test but I practiced and practised reversing an empty trailer before I went anywhere! So yes I can see pros and cons to having it and not having it, I suppose it’s all down to the person 🤷🏼‍♀️
 

Old school

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Apart from not learning the necessary skills re towing, what would be the implication re insurance? If you are not signed off as being competent, do you pay extortionate insurance? Is the trailer something small for bringing goods behind a car, and not necessarily for hauling stock. Just some thoughts....
 

Caol Ila

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Oh, praise the Lord and God willing this happens. I will take up religion if it comes to pass. Any religion. If Boris said "I will get rid of the B&E test and you can tow any trailer with any vehicle," I might vote Tory. That's how stupid I think the current legislation is. And how self-interested I am, which says lots of terrible things about me. I guess we all have a price.

The US does not require a test to tow a bloody six horse gooseneck on a 5 ton Ford F-350, and people are handy trailer drivers. I have never taken a test, and I could parallel park my horse trailer -- a big two horse slant loading one attached to an F-250 -- in Manhattan. Man, I loved that rig.

The current regs are nonsensical. You can tow a small trailer with a small vehicle on a B license anyway, up to 3.5t. The skills for backing, maneuvering, etc. don't change regardless of size and weight. And you need to not be an idiot and tow with a vehicle that can handle your trailer weight, and your stopping distance will be pants, but that's true on a B license as well. The laws of physics are the laws of physics. I honestly don't understand the difference between towing with a Skoda Yeti or a Toyota Hilux, and why one is kosher, but not the other on my B license. Other than the Hilux being way less sketchy and better equipped for the job. I understand that very well. Maybe it's cultural. When people on the COTH forum post about towing vehicles, the answers are usually along the lines of, "The biggest f*cking truck you can stomach." You can take the girl out of Colorado, etc. etc.
 
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SBJT

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Oh, praise the Lord and God willing this happens. I will take up religion if it comes to pass. Any religion. If Boris said "I will get rid of the B&E test and you can tow any trailer with any vehicle," I might vote Tory. That's how stupid I think the current legislation is. And how self-interested I am, which says lots of terrible things about me. I guess we all have a price.

The US does not require a test to tow a bloody six horse gooseneck on a 5 ton Ford F-350, and people are handy trailer drivers. I have never taken a test, and I could parallel park my horse trailer -- a big two horse slant loading one attached to an F-250 -- in Manhattan. Man, I loved that rig.

The current regs are nonsensical. You can tow a small trailer with a small vehicle on a B license anyway, up to 3.5t. The skills for backing, maneuvering, etc. don't change regardless of size and weight. And you need to not be an idiot and tow with a vehicle that can handle your trailer weight, and your stopping distance will be pants, but that's true on a B license as well. The laws of physics are the laws of physics. I honestly don't understand the difference between towing with a Skoda Yeti or a Toyota Hilux, and why one is kosher, but not the other on my B license. Other than the Hilux being way less sketchy and better equipped for the job. I understand that very well. Maybe it's cultural. When people on the COTH forum post about towing vehicles, the answers are usually along the lines of, "The biggest f*cking truck you can stomach." You can take the girl out of Colorado, etc. etc.
I’m with you. Never took a trailer test and ive got a Chevy 1t I tow with camper on the back and a 2H straight load. Never had issues backing up, parking. There was one incident with a rock but I’d had a long day…
 

SOS

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Apart from not learning the necessary skills re towing, what would be the implication re insurance? If you are not signed off as being competent, do you pay extortionate insurance? Is the trailer something small for bringing goods behind a car, and not necessarily for hauling stock. Just some thoughts....
I suppose it could put insurance prices up in general, but when I passed my trailer test I rang my insurance to add that onto my file and they were very much ‘so what? It says in your policy if you pass a test or passed prior to 1997 you can tow’. This is with a fairly mainstream insurance and not a countryside/more towing steered car insurance.
 

milliepops

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Oh, praise the Lord and God willing this happens. I will take up religion if it comes to pass. Any religion. If Boris said "I will get rid of the B&E test and you can tow any trailer with any vehicle," I might vote Tory. That's how stupid I think the current legislation is. And how self-interested I am, which says lots of terrible things about me. I guess we all have a price.

The US does not require a test to tow a bloody six horse gooseneck on a 5 ton Ford F-350, and people are handy trailer drivers. I have never taken a test, and I could parallel park my horse trailer -- a big two horse slant loading one attached to an F-250 -- in Manhattan. Man, I loved that rig.

The current regs are nonsensical. You can tow a small trailer with a small vehicle on a B license anyway, up to 3.5t. The skills for backing, maneuvering, etc. don't change regardless of size and weight. And you need to not be an idiot and tow with a vehicle that can handle your trailer weight, and your stopping distance will be pants, but that's true on a B license as well. The laws of physics are the laws of physics. I honestly don't understand the difference between towing with a Skoda Yeti or a Toyota Hilux, and why one is kosher, but not the other on my B license. Other than the Hilux being way less sketchy and better equipped for the job. I understand that very well. Maybe it's cultural. When people on the COTH forum post about towing vehicles, the answers are usually along the lines of, "The biggest f*cking truck you can stomach." You can take the girl out of Colorado, etc. etc.
Ok so making huge generalisations, have you never come across "PC mum types" * of a certain age who can drive a trailer forwards but go to bits if they have to reverse it? I don't think they're safe, and that's why I supported the test when it was introduced as it meant they were slowly phasing out over time.

If you are proficient towing then the test should be a formality shouldn't it, rather than a huge barrier? It's not that expensive even.

*if you're a PC mum type who can reverse your trailer then you don't need to feel insulted because I'm clearly not talking about you 😉
 

Fern007

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Haha!
I did my hgv as well, I figured with the ridiculous number of horses I have it was a better option 🙃 OH has grandfather rights to tow (and is very good, used to reverse his mother's trailer when he was a kid 😆) so between us we've got most things covered 😉

The other suggestions I can understand a bit better.

Don't think grandfather rights exist anymore??
 

wills_91

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It's early - someone please explain point 2 to me 😂😂

Also not having to pass a test to tow would be a godsend for someone like me who go's to pieces in an exam situation!
 

milliepops

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Don't think grandfather rights exist anymore??
They do for people who passed their tests early enough. They just can't sit in with people learning. So if I wanted to do my trailer test OH couldn't teach me. But he can tow because he has a pre-1997 license. Likewise he can drive my horsebox. But not if I got an hgv one 😅
 

COldNag

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Ok so making huge generalisations, have you never come across "PC mum types" * of a certain age who can drive a trailer forwards but go to bits if they have to reverse it? I don't think they're safe, and that's why I supported the test when it was introduced as it meant they were slowly phasing out over time.

If you are proficient towing then the test should be a formality shouldn't it, rather than a huge barrier? It's not that expensive even.

*if you're a PC mum type who can reverse your trailer then you don't need to feel insulted because I'm clearly not talking about you 😉
I am an ancient PC Mum , as are most of the other PC Mums I know. I can only think of one who I have seen struggle to reverse (she bought a lorry in the end). Everyone else is fine and tows competently. I am not sure there are as many out there as you think . Funnily enough the one person I know who really cannot reverse a trailer (and is also not a horse person) is male.

But - I think for most of us decrepit PC Mums, we were driving for decades before we ended up towing, so maybe that helps.

So I am bit on the fence here. I hope anyone who doesn't feel competent would get themselves some training.... but I think that's probably an unrealistic expectation.

We do need to find a solution to this crisis.... Maybe a half way house would be to keep the current rule but shift the dates to say 2007, so any newer drivers still take the test?
 
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Oh, praise the Lord and God willing this happens. I will take up religion if it comes to pass. Any religion. If Boris said "I will get rid of the B&E test and you can tow any trailer with any vehicle," I might vote Tory. That's how stupid I think the current legislation is. And how self-interested I am, which says lots of terrible things about me. I guess we all have a price.

The US does not require a test to tow a bloody six horse gooseneck on a 5 ton Ford F-350, and people are handy trailer drivers. I have never taken a test, and I could parallel park my horse trailer -- a big two horse slant loading one attached to an F-250 -- in Manhattan. Man, I loved that rig.

The current regs are nonsensical. You can tow a small trailer with a small vehicle on a B license anyway, up to 3.5t. The skills for backing, maneuvering, etc. don't change regardless of size and weight. And you need to not be an idiot and tow with a vehicle that can handle your trailer weight, and your stopping distance will be pants, but that's true on a B license as well. The laws of physics are the laws of physics. I honestly don't understand the difference between towing with a Skoda Yeti or a Toyota Hilux, and why one is kosher, but not the other on my B license. Other than the Hilux being way less sketchy and better equipped for the job. I understand that very well. Maybe it's cultural. When people on the COTH forum post about towing vehicles, the answers are usually along the lines of, "The biggest f*cking truck you can stomach." You can take the girl out of Colorado, etc. etc.
On more than one occasion I have had to reverse someone's car and horse trailer for them on a small country lane because I was coming the other way, had nowhere to reverse into, and they couldn't reverse except to do the set manoeuvres to get into and out of parking slots on showgrounds.

UK country lanes and higgledy piggledy market towns are a far cry in terms of driving experience from even cities in the US.

I grew up working on horse yards and went to agricultural uni so I've spent a lot of time manoeuvring tractor and trailer, but I'm fully supportive of the test, including for people like me. If you handle a trailer easily then the test really isn't that onerous.
 

Roasted Chestnuts

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I could tow before my test and could certainly tow after it, my dad taught me how to manoeuvre a trailer and park correctly but the lessons and test before hand tidied it up.

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve had to jump in someone’s car to park their trailer for them when it’s not been a drive in drive out scenario, or get it out of the mess they have got it in over the years.

I don’t think it’s a good idea.
 

Melody Grey

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My license is after 1997. Whilst I’d ideally prefer not to have to do a test, I’d still want tuition with manoeuvering. As already mentioned above, I wonder how insurance would be affected? Might it become like the pass+ system for normal car driving where you supposedly get an insurance discount if you’ve done the extra test?
 

little_critter

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They do for people who passed their tests early enough. They just can't sit in with people learning. So if I wanted to do my trailer test OH couldn't teach me. But he can tow because he has a pre-1997 license. Likewise he can drive my horsebox. But not if I got an hgv one 😅
Same here. I passed just before 1997 and can tow a trailer or drive a 7.5t lorry. When I bought my 7.5t lorry several years ago it was a fast learning curve driving it home! (But it was all straightforward enough)
 

little_critter

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How will the trailer thing help the lorry driver crisis anyway? Am I being dim?

Surely it would be better to increase the weight of single vehicle allowed to be driven on a standard licence from 3.5t to 7.5t...?
I agree, not sure how more trailer drivers will get supermarket distribution or refuse collection issues sorted. Unless it frees up driving examiners to test more lorry drivers?
 
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The best solution to get more towing safely (although I also don't understand why it's beneficial to the wider community to have more people towing?) would be to heavily subsidise the lessons and/or test. But, Tory Govt 😒
 
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QUOTE="little_critter, post: 14698915, member: 62252"]I agree, not sure how more trailer drivers will get supermarket distribution or refuse collection issues sorted. Unless it frees up driving examiners to test more lorry drivers?[/QUOTE]
Ah- I think you're probably right about being able to process more lorry tests.
 

Tiddlypom

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I'm another who thinks that the test should remain, and can't really see what benefit removing it would be to the transport industry.

I'm a self taught tower with a pre 97 licence. I had a head start after being a passenger for years being towed by my mum to PC events and hunting. There weren't too many clueless PC mums in my neck of the woods, probably partly because being in deepest Devon you'd never get anywhere if you couldn't back up :D.

When I got my first horse trailer as an adult in my mid 20s, we took it to the supermarket car park on a Sunday (supermarkets shut on Sundays then so the car park was empty) and practiced and practiced. I took the responsibility very seriously.

I like to think that I'm a competent and safe tower, and whilst I learned on the job I do have a bit of a feel for it. I still would have welcomed taking a test.
 

sunnyone

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I'm sure the caravanners would be very supportive of the removal of a test for towing. I think the test is one of the reasons for the explosion of camping cars on the roads.

Personally I'd been driving for donkeys' years before I needed to tow a horse trailer. Then I had to take one down to Spain (with furniture in the back). My practise run: down the road for 2 miles, turn at roundabout, go home and back onto drive. Next day I was on the ferry. No accidents, no near misses.

As for reversing there are plenty of people who can't do that in a car without a trailer on the back. When a local road had the direction of one-way flow reversed below my workplace the staff spent an entertaining week watching people drive down in the old direction then realise what they were doing. Despite it being a wide road some were so bad they got bus drivers to help them!
 

Abi90

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On more than one occasion I have had to reverse someone's car and horse trailer for them on a small country lane because I was coming the other way, had nowhere to reverse into, and they couldn't reverse except to do the set manoeuvres to get into and out of parking slots on showgrounds.

UK country lanes and higgledy piggledy market towns are a far cry in terms of driving experience from even cities in the US.

I grew up working on horse yards and went to agricultural uni so I've spent a lot of time manoeuvring tractor and trailer, but I'm fully supportive of the test, including for people like me. If you handle a trailer easily then the test really isn't that onerous.
I have reversed half a mile up a road and round several corners because the trailer coming the other way could not reverse in a straight line for 50 metres to a passing place. She refused to reverse because “I can’t reverse” and refused to let me do it for her. So off I went, backwards down a narrow, twisty country Lane for half a mile! Her daughter was mortified
 

Goldenstar

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I see the point of being able to take the artic test without the people having to do the fixed test first .Some of the skills are very different and the ones that are same can be learnt at any time .
I don’t trailer driving has improved since the test was introduced that’s my observation , for most people the more you tow the better you can manoeuvre so I am on the fence with that one .
 

Goldenstar

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I have reversed half a mile up a road and round several corners because the trailer coming the other way could not reverse in a straight line for 50 metres to a passing place. She refused to reverse because “I can’t reverse” and refused to let me do it for her. So off I went, backwards down a narrow, twisty country Lane for half a mile! Her daughter was mortified
I honestly don’t think the test changes this .
 

southerncomfort

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It's early - someone please explain point 2 to me 😂😂

Also not having to pass a test to tow would be a godsend for someone like me who go's to pieces in an exam situation!
I'm with you! I had shingles 3 times while I was learning to drive and leading up to my driving test. My anxiety was absolutely crippling and I won't ever do that myself again.

Also, the cost rules me out. The cost is prohibitive to ordinary not-very-well-off people like me. Even if I could get my exam stress/anxiety under control the cost, especially if I didn't pass initially, would be far in excess of what I could easily afford.

And honestly, and I realise this won't make me popular, but I haven't seen any difference at all in the skills between those who passed a test and those who didn't need to.

So I'm on the side of hoping it's scrapped, for entirely selfish reasons yes, because I would just love the simple pleasure of taking my boy out to better hacking nearby or to the equestrian centre 10 minutes from here (I don't have big ambitions!). And I wouldn't have to ask my husband to take a day off work to achieve it.
 
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