Government considering doing away with trailer test

ycbm

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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 suspect it's the same testing station and probably even the same testers. I don't know though, I just assumed that when I read about it.,
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rabatsa

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I am pre 1997. Two days after passing my car test I was out with horse and trailer. I did make a balls up with reversing for a bus. The driver got out and talked me through it. When I thanked him and said I was ok now he said no. He made me do it all again with him watching. What the bus passengers thought I have no idea.

I have had a lot of practice since then.
 

PapaverFollis

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I would love them to scrap the test for entirely selfish reasons. I'm not sure I can go through another driving test experience but obviously really want to he able to tow. I'm sure having a test helps a bit but I also know that if I could tow legally would become competent at it in as short order as I possibly could.

I'd actually much prefer a 3.5T to 7.5T weight limit shift though if the gods could arrange that.

Just a mildly irrelevant aside... I've had people, often, on the road in front of me who can't even reverse their tiny little car to the last passing place... and presumably they passed their driving test. 😂
 

ycbm

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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 😉

Reversing is in the driving test and has been for at least 50 years, but anyone who lives on narrow lanes knows how poor the reversing skills are of most drivers. I think it's lack of constant practice that causes poor reversing in drivers whether they have a trailer on or not, and the test doesn't change that.
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Rowreach

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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...?
Ooh *winces* as I think back to when I taught people (mostly women) to drive 7.5t horse boxes in the days before the test. Possibly the most terrifying experiences of my life, mostly sent to me by the local horse box builder who was traumatised by taking them out on test drives 😳🙈
 

Goldenstar

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Scrapping the 7.5 ton test won’t stop people getting training if they choose .
I learnt from a friend with a haulage company if I had not known him I would have paid someone .He was wonderful he had me doing three point turns in the centre of towns and doing all sorts in three sessions .
I have been in a situation on a country road where I met a a huge tractor and trailer with my truck I had to reverse 100 yards in difficult visibility we where stuck for forty minutes because the car behind me refused to reverse another driver had to do it !
That refusenik would have had a test .
I frequently meet drivers who expect the driver of much larger heavier things to take to the verge ,reverse ,what ever because they won’t or can’t it’s perplexing .
 

milliepops

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I think that most reversing problems in cars is that people do not use their mirrors, they look back over a shoulder and have a blind side.
yep agreed. i've often been forced to reverse a long way in a horsebox because someone driving a teeny car looks over their shoulder and starts turning the steering wheel at random so they bump into the sides of the road and get their hair off about it.

I am well aware that reversing is in the car driving test and yet people get flustered about it and forget what to do in a car, but I don't see that as an argument to say, oh well, have at it, it's just the same with a trailer on so crack on and don't give a thought to what the consequences may be of being in "control" of twice the amount of wheels :eek:

I live in the arse end of nowhere with narrow winding roads too, being able to reverse is an essential but I encounter so many horseboxes (trailers and 3.5t) where the drivers can't safely manoeuvre their vehicles. with precious cargo on, it boggles my brain. We're already at the mercy of other drivers at times, why add to the problem?
 

Goldenstar

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One son has a trailer test the other not. Both tow a 24 ft low-loader, fully- loaded with machiner, with JD 6920, quite legally on the highway. Makes no sense one can't drive my horse outfit.
I agree the current rules are mad fit young friend has a trailer test now but until he did he could drive huge tractors towing all sort of huge things but could not drive the horse trailer .
 
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milliepops

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it's not just the test for a 7.5t either is it, you need a medical for that too. Most places do that training in a van which is why i did my HGV instead as i wanted to be sure I knew how to handle a vehicle of similar dimensions to the lorry i had sitting on the drive. I don't think anyone should be able to just hop into a 7.5t lorry with no additional training. i think people who are used to driving horses around possibly have an advantage in terms of being used to reading the road ahead. but you still need to be aware of the corners of the vehicle when passing pedestrians or cyclists, and additional highway code stuff etc ... Other than the inconvenience factor i can't see any downsides to the individual of learning and proving they know how to handle a big truck safely.
 

leflynn

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Having just passed my trailer test about 3 weeks ago (I am am old but didnt pass my test in time) I am now learning how to reverse, the trailer training was good for learning how to hitch and pointers to get you confident reversing but essentially you learn to pass the test and then learn how to drive a trailer esp with a horse in. Glad I did the training as it gave me confidence and a bit of knowledge but I would probably have ended up getting my OH to teach me what I needed to know. Ironically a lad OH works with that tows trailers with tractors has just failed his - all good on the reversing and hitching just his driving wasn't up to scratch so I'm a bit on the fence about getting rid of the test
 

GinaGeo

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My mum was one of those Pony Club Mums who would get out and wave her keys at people when the trailer needed reversing 🙈 she would really have benefitted from some training that wasn’t my dad shouting nonsensical instructions. At 9 I didn’t care. I got to go to Pony Club. But looking back it would have been much safer for everybody involved if she’d needed to do a test. She was fine driving forwards, but reversing was something she mastered much later 🙈

As a consequence I did get my trailer test ASAP, which at the time was 21. And did spend the years in between reversing said trailer for her 🤣

I also did my HGV Test similarly to MP. I most likely will never need to drive one, but didn’t want to learn in an oversized van.
 

WispyBec

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In my opinion, I actually think this would be a good thing for the government to implement!

As of right now - there is a huge amount of people I know who tow with the lightest combination possible to be within the limits. These combinations are not always safe due to the heavy horse boxes being pulled with cars not designed to be pulling such weights…. If anything it would allow these drivers to make safer decisions regarding their combinations.

I do think people also forget that anyone who has a B license can automatically tow upto a trailer upto 750kg or a combination with a max gross weight of 3500kg legally anyway so technically everyone already has the right to tow - just not the heavier weights.
 

Rowreach

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My mum was one of those Pony Club Mums who would get out and wave her keys at people when the trailer needed reversing 🙈 she would really have benefitted from some training that wasn’t my dad shouting nonsensical instructions. At 9 I didn’t care. I got to go to Pony Club. But looking back it would have been much safer for everybody involved if she’d needed to do a test. She was fine driving forwards, but reversing was something she mastered much later 🙈

As a consequence I did get my trailer test ASAP, which at the time was 21. And did spend the years in between reversing said trailer for her 🤣

I also did my HGV Test similarly to MP. I most likely will never need to drive one, but didn’t want to learn in an oversized van.
My mum always used to check if there was a field at the venue that she could drive into, so she could just swing the thing round and go back out again. But then this was a woman who learned to drive in the desert and still managed to nearly crash into the only camel within several miles.
 

scruffyponies

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Reversing is in the driving test and has been for at least 50 years, but anyone who lives on narrow lanes knows how poor the reversing skills are of most drivers. I think it's lack of constant practice that causes poor reversing in drivers whether they have a trailer on or not, and the test doesn't change that.
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This is the truest thing I ever read on the internet. Lots of single lanes with passing places around here, and I can't count the times I have had to reverse a trailer down the road because the guy in the shiny new car coming the other way can't find reverse, or won't go far enough over because he doesn't know the width of his vehicle (or won't lean it on a bush).

Perhaps townies should have to do a test before they're allowed to use lanes.
 

scruffyponies

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I would never have been able to justify the price of taking a test. I learned borrowing the RDA trailer for £10 a time, friends generously letting me borrow theirs, and then buying the cheapest one I could find... which was definitely less than the cost of a test.

No substitute for practice, and the current rules just mean that those who haven't done the test are doomed to tow overloaded small trailers with cars which are underpowered and far too light for the trailer... something which I would argue takes more skill to avoid an accident than towing something suitable with a big enough truck.
 

DirectorFury

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Selfishly I'd welcome this change, I can reverse a trailer pretty well after figuring out the 'trick' (hands together at 6 o'clock on the steering wheel, and move them towards the mirror you want to see more of the trailer in) but haven't found the time/money/enthusiasm to actually book my test plus the hire car + trailer.

Just a mildly irrelevant aside... I've had people, often, on the road in front of me who can't even reverse their tiny little car to the last passing place... and presumably they passed their driving test. 😂
Yes! This! The Gower lanes have been murder this summer with people refusing to reverse, or unable to plan beyond the front of their bonnet and not realising that stopping at a passing place to let the oncoming car past would be much quicker than driving up to the front of the oncoming car and then ballsing up reversing back to the passing place they trundled straight past :rolleyes:.

I know a couple of people who tow that definitely haven’t passed the test. Never heard of the police checking.
The DVSA and VOSA pull people regularly down here, they usually hang about on Pont Abrham (end of M4) and pull trailers/vans/lorries/normal cars into the services for spot checks at random. They'll usually pull every single 3.5ton horsebox that they see to check the weight, and I've seen quite a few people towing horse trailers pulled in too.
 

PapaverFollis

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I think reversing a trailer is something that takes practice, so even if you have passed a test there's no guarantee that you're going to be able to do it when required if you don't do it often. And if you do it often then having passed a test or not makes no odds. It is also one of those things that is waaay easier for some people than others to start with.

I have a bet going with MrPF that I can do it better than him despite never having done it before. I don't think it is any coincidence that as soon as we got our own space at home in which I could conceivably prove myself and win the bet that the Landrover broke down and has yet to be fixed...

On the whole the test is probably a good idea really but selfishly I would benefit from it not being necessary so... woop woop. And I'll present the arguments for not having it quite happily. 🙃😉😂
 

LEC

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I had to do my trailer test - I think it made me a much better driver and I never get into trouble. You only have to look at caravans on the motorway to realise the dangers of untrained drivers.

Personally I do not understand why they don't just let anyone drive a 7.5t instead as would shore up the issues quicker.
 
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Reversing is in the driving test and has been for at least 50 years, but anyone who lives on narrow lanes knows how poor the reversing skills are of most drivers. I think it's lack of constant practice that causes poor reversing in drivers whether they have a trailer on or not, and the test doesn't change that.
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Only reversing around a corner, parallel parking or reversing into a parking space. Most driving instructors just teach tricks to pass those elements. Arguably it should feature more significantly in the driving test.
 

CanteringCarrot

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I actually like that there is a test in place. We have a similar system in Germany. In America, I felt like I could attach whatever to my hitch and away we go 😅 I don't recall seeing that many bad drivers with trailers either 🤔 but it's been awhile.

I had to back up a friend's light 2 horse trailer with her SUV the other day, and it took me a few attempts, but the space it had to go in, had little to no room for error. Literally centimeters on each side. I decided I may practice this a bit more, because I felt like I should've gotten it on the first try.

That's my thing too, if you have or have access to the vehicle and trailer, just practice. "Play" with reversing a bit in an appropriate space. Get to know the vehicle and trailer and how they move/influence each other.

I hate the feeling of a "test" but I think this one is worthwhile and not a bad thing to have in place.
 

View

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Oh wow.

I do not support removing the trailer test, nor do I agree with going back to the dark ages and letting anyone with a car test drive a 7.5 ton lorry.

I've been there dealing with the aftermath of far too many collisions/incidents. Tests aren’t the magic answer, but they do weed out some of those who will just never be able to driver safely. And it's not PC mums who scare the pants off me, it's School Run Mum!

What I would support is dropping the requirement for a C before doing C+E, and if they won't do that, recognise a D and allow a D to go straight to C+E.

Personally, I'd like to see come form of compulsory refreshers introduced for every licence holder. Go on, be honest, if you hadn't had to take another test and don't hold a Driver CPC, when was the last time that you opened a copy of the highway code without having your interest piqued by something on here?

And as for reversing - most people can only reverse for what they are taught on test. When I'm driving a bus or the tow lorry with a bus on the back, I'd much rather meet something big round tight country lanes - at least the drivers of big vehicles can reverse because it's a skill they use every day.
 
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yep agreed. i've often been forced to reverse a long way in a horsebox because someone driving a teeny car looks over their shoulder and starts turning the steering wheel at random so they bump into the sides of the road and get their hair off about it.

I am well aware that reversing is in the car driving test and yet people get flustered about it and forget what to do in a car, but I don't see that as an argument to say, oh well, have at it, it's just the same with a trailer on so crack on and don't give a thought to what the consequences may be of being in "control" of twice the amount of wheels :eek:

I live in the arse end of nowhere with narrow winding roads too, being able to reverse is an essential but I encounter so many horseboxes (trailers and 3.5t) where the drivers can't safely manoeuvre their vehicles. with precious cargo on, it boggles my brain. We're already at the mercy of other drivers at times, why add to the problem?
A few weeks back I had to reverse back up a hill, round a bend and stick my van-lorry with horse on board up a bank on one side because I was met by a Vectra driver who couldn't possibly reverse. Now stuck in this precarious position next to the drive that the Vectra driver was trying to get into they still sat there with plenty of space shunting the front of their car around helplessly. They then got out of the car and came to my window to explain (with some level of distress) that they had a wedding cake in the back.

I resisted the urge to point out that if we are playing cargo top trumps then I think mine probably wins over a feckin cake, and managed to squeeze past them once they had half wedged themselves into their drive entrance.
 
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