Government considering doing away with trailer test

humblepie

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I am an old person so didn't have to do any additional tests for towing or a 7.5 tonne lorry - although I did actually go and have one lesson more out of interest to see what they thought of my driving (!). I think tests or at least some signed off training is not a bad thing but some of it is a little random. Friend can drive a combine on the road but had to a test for a 4 tonne horse box.
 

humblepie

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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.
I worked with a girl who didn't learn to drive until she was in her thirties and never really mastered the art of reversing her car - she would come into work really early to ensure she had a parking space she could drive in and out of frontwards. If she was a bit later we would watch out of the window. Hasten to add she was a friend and she totally acknowledged her inability to reverse. Fortunately no camels anywhere near.
 

Annagain

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I have grandfather rights but can reverse far better than many who have passed a test. The test requires a certain set of skills - the number of people who can't adapt those skills for real life is scary. I have a friend who had to pass a test, she gave me and my old boy a lift once. The competition was delayed, she wanted to stay for her class and I took the opportunity to come home with someone else, saying I had to get back. I've made excuses never to go with her ever again.

I've also had to reverse my trailer a fair distance because drivers can't reverse their cars and I've reversed trailers for those pony club mums mentioned. The best one was when I met someone leaving a riding club lesson as I was arriving for the next. She had to go back 10m, I'd have had to go about 60m so I reversed hers. The whole time I was doing it, I was muttering to myself (in probably very agricultural language) how you shouldn't have a trailer if you can't reverse it and how terrible some drivers are. The next day I bumped into her and her son in Tesco. She asked if I'd noticed he was in the back as he mentioned I didn't say hello and thought it was odd. I hadn't, as I was using the mirrors so never looked over my shoulder. The problem is, I don't to this day remember whether I actually said those things out loud or just muttered to myself in my head!
 

Snow Falcon

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I remember going shopping once and reversing in the parking space. Some chap congratulated me on my skills, after thanking him, I just told him that was a standard reverse as everyone driving should be able to do!

Took the trailer to get the tyres checked recently. The chaps said we'll see you out so you don't hit anything. They got short shrift, am a regular customer, so could give a bit back. On successfully completing the reverse they turned round and said you've done that before!!

To put my trailer on the driveway at home I had to avoid hitting the neighbours 3 cars, my husbands and go up and dow the awkward lip.

I can't understand why anyone would drive/tow a vehicle they can't manage. They are dangerous in their ignorance and as View pointed out the potential to cause serious damage or even death.

I am all in favour of having a skills test particularly at 70 when licences expire.
 

milliepops

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I have grandfather rights but can reverse far better than many who have passed a test. The test requires a certain set of skills - the number of people who can't adapt those skills for real life is scary. I have a friend who had to pass a test, she gave me and my old boy a lift once. The competition was delayed, she wanted to stay for her class and I took the opportunity to come home with someone else, saying I had to get back. I've made excuses never to go with her ever again.

I've also had to reverse my trailer a fair distance because drivers can't reverse their cars and I've reversed trailers for those pony club mums mentioned. The best one was when I met someone leaving a riding club lesson as I was arriving for the next. She had to go back 10m, I'd have had to go about 60m so I reversed hers. The whole time I was doing it, I was muttering to myself (in probably very agricultural language) how you shouldn't have a trailer if you can't reverse it and how terrible some drivers are. The next day I bumped into her and her son in Tesco. She asked if I'd noticed he was in the back as he mentioned I didn't say hello and thought it was odd. I hadn't, as I was using the mirrors so never looked over my shoulder. The problem is, I don't to this day remember whether I actually said those things out loud or just muttered to myself in my head!
hahahahahah

that's priceless. I for one hope those home truths were relayed in full!
 

Caol Ila

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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.
This was my point as well. Everyone with a B license can already tow. I would argue that there is little appreciable difference between reversing or handling a pick-up or large SUV attached to trailer versus an estate or small SUV attached to a trailer. However, the large SUV/truck is a much safer tow vehicle. Like WhispyBec has observed, you get all sorts of interesting and slightly terrifying vehicle-trailer combinations as people find ways to tow within the B license limits. We don't need to go full US and allow everyone to drive what's almost an HGV, but raising the weight limit so anyone can drive 2-ish horse trailer behind a pick-up is not stupid.

As for the test, the UK driving test was a horrible experience. If the trailer test only required you to tow it around some cones, I would do it, but I have been told that you have to go through the whole 40 minute torture session and also maneuver the rig around some cones. Nope.
 

Fern007

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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 😅
Ah sorry got wring end of stick. I can tow as passed early enough but don't consider I'm towing on grandfather rights. We have an external health and safety officer come in to work and the old chaps had to do a tractor test, as even tho they had driven one for years they were no longer allowed to drive on grandfather rights so had to do a competency test x
 

tda

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I have grandfather rights, and got myself into some scrapes when I first started towing, so I just decided to learn how to do it properly, honestly it's not that hard, and it's just practice practice practice until it becomes easy.
It's also much harder reversing with a small trailer on , a horse trailer is easy after that.
How much is the actual test cost? Is it expensive because of the associated training?
 

milliepops

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test fee is £115 i think, same as lorry test (tho you need theory for that as well).
so in the grand scheme of horse ownership, not that huge.

training costs will depend on the ability of the driver so harder to quantify i guess. i did 3 days of 1: 1 training for the HGV and that totted up to about £1k all in, felt like a huge amount at the time but not when you put it against the cost of buying and maintaining the box :eek:
 

Old school

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How does Brexit impact your driving licence? Do you need an international license now to drive a car in EU, or does UK one still suffice? Sorry for going off topic. But am guessing it would play out down the road, and to tow a box in EU you will need to be legal and have the correct licence. A small single axle trailer that is not enclosed can still be towed without a trailer license in IRE. But anything beyond needs the relevant license. I sat the B+E and 7.5ton truck ones. Certainly refreshed my rules of the road for me. And was relieved to have them sorted as opposed to feeling illegal when towing.
 

teddypops

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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 😅
I think it’s still ok for towing, just not for driving a lorry.
 

sherry90

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Like any test it’s a moment in time. I’d like to see how many pre-1997 posters who are all for the test remaining would feel if they were not told that they need to take a test!
This issue for me (and I’ve failed three times now so I can be a good judge) is that they are effectively re-doing your driving test with a trailer on the back. That seems really simple as I’ve been driving X number of years but it’s nerve wracking. I failed first on a driving fault totally unrelated to having a trailer attached and yet I can walk away with my licence and continue to drive but have failed a driving element of a test 😣
The second and third time were failures due to nerves. Nothing more nothing less, one was hitching up and the other was the reverse (of which the previous test I was told was the best reverse the examiner had seen in many years, demonstrating I CAN reverse!)

From a selfish point of view they can do away with it! I also know many pre1997 people towing who cannot reverse a trailer for love nor money. It’s the practice not test that provides the experience to be competent.
 

teddypops

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Like any test it’s a moment in time. I’d like to see how many pre-1997 posters who are all for the test remaining would feel if they were not told that they need to take a test!
This issue for me (and I’ve failed three times now so I can be a good judge) is that they are effectively re-doing your driving test with a trailer on the back. That seems really simple as I’ve been driving X number of years but it’s nerve wracking. I failed first on a driving fault totally unrelated to having a trailer attached and yet I can walk away with my licence and continue to drive but have failed a driving element of a test 😣
The second and third time were failures due to nerves. Nothing more nothing less, one was hitching up and the other was the reverse (of which the previous test I was told was the best reverse the examiner had seen in many years, demonstrating I CAN reverse!)

From a selfish point of view they can do away with it! I also know many pre1997 people towing who cannot reverse a trailer for love nor money. It’s the practice not test that provides the experience to be competent.
I agree that there are many people towing and diving legally who cannot reverse. However, doing away with the test will just mean that there are even more people on the road unable to reverse, so I think the test should stay. Eventually all the ‘oldies’ will stop towing/ driving so there will only be people with a test that are left. I didn’t have to take a test but I am very competent at reversing.
 

crazyandme

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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.
I only passed my driving test 2 years ago, and the only reversing they asked me to do was to prove I could reverse backwards in a straight line when I was parked on the RHS of the road.
I was taught parallel parking and reverse parking, but was not asked to demonstrate those in my test!
 

Abi90

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I honestly don’t think the test changes this .
At least you have to demonstrate that you understand which way the trailer goes if you reverse by performing a reverse parking manoeuvre. If you can pass that then reversing 50 metres in a straight line should be a total doddle… the half a mile back up a winding road perhaps not so much, but I guess that because she had never had to take the test she had avoided doing any reversing or practising it which is why she then refused to reverse in a straight line
 

EventingMum

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I have grandfather rights as does Mr EM so we didn't have to bother with tests for either our 7.5t lorry or trailers, however, our son had to do his Cat C and then as he had that did his C1+E which were fairly expensive. To be fair he was pretty competent anyway as he had started driving our lorry with us supervising before they introduced the rule that those with grandfather rights couldn't supervise.

However, I do totally agree with those who say some people with grandfather rights could really do with at least doing some training if not a test, as someone else said, the number of Pony Club mums who have a meltdown if they have to reverse is ridiculous, I have often found myself reversing trailers for them. I also clearly remember having to reverse a caravan downhill round a hairpin bend (Grogport, Mull of Kintyre for anyone who knows it) because it had met the milk tanker half way up and neither of the couple in the car could reverse! In general, the younger people I have seen who have done the test do seem fairly competent so I think it's a good thing.

The worrying thing I found is that some people don't realise they have to do a test. We sold a lorry and I asked the lady buying it if she had the correct license, she assured me she did as she'd "passed her test a million years ago", a few months later the lorry was for sale as she had passed her test a few months too late to have grandfather rights. Two of my liveries in their 30s are also looking at getting trailers and seemed very surprised when I said they would have to do a test, they will be very glad if the law changes!

One other point is there will be a few businesses badly affected if the law changes, currently those training B+E up here have long waiting lists, partly due to high demand for test spaces following covid, their business could disappear overnight.
 

humblepie

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To get really good at reversing, I suggest buying random large things from ebay / facebook. These inevitably have to be collected in a pony trailer from an unfamiliar housing estate somewhere; parked cars everywhere and it will take 3 or 4 u-turns to find the place. Before you know it you'll be a pro.
My other half took our 7.5 lorry (a big 7.5 tonne as in long) to pick up some furniture for a family member. He spoke to the seller on the phone checked the access etc and when he got there it was a really narrow Cotswold village lane - he had to temporarily relocate a drain pipe to get down there and then the seller said thought he had a van.... We were out the same way a while after and he showed me the lane - I did have to admit to being impressed.
 

GoldenWillow

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I would not like to see the trailer test scrapped, I think it's important it stays.

I passed pre 1997 so have grandfather rights and at 17 was happily driving and reversing a 7.5t wagon along tiny country lanes and only drove horses in a wagon until due to cost we bought a trailer in 2000. I then discovered I cannot reverse a trailer, despite hours from OH, friend who can reverse any combination anywhere, 2 half days training at trailer centre purely based round reversing, and a farmer friend all trying to help me and also many times spent in the field on my own trying. I can however reverse cars and up to 7.5t wagons along narrow country roads and into parking spaces that only have inches to spare. Legally I can take trailer out but have never done so as I do not consider it safe if I cannot reverse.

Scapping the test means there is the potential for a lot more people like me to be out on the roads with a trailer!
 

Sossigpoker

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Personally I'd be delighted if they did away with the test as the training and test seems to be about £600 which i don't currently have to spare. When it comes to it , I'd still take some lessons and my partner would teach me to reverse it (he's done Army driver training, he can drive and reverse anything !) but I'd rather not spend £600 on it.
 

Kat

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I would not like to see the trailer test scrapped, I think it's important it stays.

I passed pre 1997 so have grandfather rights and at 17 was happily driving and reversing a 7.5t wagon along tiny country lanes and only drove horses in a wagon until due to cost we bought a trailer in 2000. I then discovered I cannot reverse a trailer, despite hours from OH, friend who can reverse any combination anywhere, 2 half days training at trailer centre purely based round reversing, and a farmer friend all trying to help me and also many times spent in the field on my own trying. I can however reverse cars and up to 7.5t wagons along narrow country roads and into parking spaces that only have inches to spare. Legally I can take trailer out but have never done so as I do not consider it safe if I cannot reverse.

Scapping the test means there is the potential for a lot more people like me to be out on the roads with a trailer!
Those people can all be on the road with a trailer now, they will just be attempting it with the smallest tow car possible due to the current law.
 
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