Government considering doing away with trailer test

Caol Ila

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The moment I passed my test in the US, I could haul my large two horse trailer with my Ford F-250. On my own. I did, a few weeks later. Took myself to a horse show solo. All fine but I got into a muddle trying to park it at my barn — you had to back on a curve while avoiding other trailers and a round pen— and had to phone my dad and ask him to come to the barn and help. I was 17 and mortified. Practiced after that and I could manoeuvre that thing into any space it would fit.

So much flapping. Maybe it’s very American of me to think, cool.
 

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CI, you took responsibility for yourself and went and practised. I see far too many drivers who don’t take responsibility and it becomes everyone else’s problem to sort out.

The eejit I met yesterday lost me 7 minutes. That 7 minutes meant I met the dustcart in the next village. Lost me another 4 minutes.

That meant when I got onto the main road I joined a long queue of traffic that I am scheduled to be in front of. That caused the year 7s on the bus to become stressed.

I was late off the run, and was chasing my tail for the rest of the day.

All because somebody chose to accept a task that he knew he was not competent to do!

(And he had the cheek to moan about me to his boss, who has sent us a complaint. I’m currently waiting for the CCTV from my bus to download to send as our response).
 

Kat

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But I don't see how the changes to the towing license will make a great deal of difference when it comes to people like that. The regs haven't changed yet, for a start, and everyone can already tow something.
Plus plenty of people can't/won't reverse their car even when not towing.

I have two friends who have been victims of road rage assaults because they have refused to back up and the other driver has become aggressive. I can think of numerous other examples where car drivers have just refused to back up even when they are closer to a layby, nothing to do with towing at all.
 

milliepops

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But I don't see how the changes to the towing license will make a great deal of difference when it comes to people like that. The regs haven't changed yet, for a start, and everyone can already tow something.
it won't make any difference to someone like that, but for me it does suggest that removing compulsory assessment of basic skills is a bit of a daft move, it's potentially just going to make this more common.
 

PapaverFollis

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So many people can't reverse full stop. It's quite ridiculous. And all these people can already tow small trailers that are harder to reverse!

Honestly I think you either can or you can't. And if you can't you either practice or you don't. And if you don't practice a test makes little difference because you practice for the test then stop and it seems to be a skill that fades over time given the general competence of car drivers on single track roads.

The only answer would be more testing of everyone, all the time. Which is kind of untenable.
 

Caol Ila

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Plus plenty of people can't/won't reverse their car even when not towing.

I have two friends who have been victims of road rage assaults because they have refused to back up and the other driver has become aggressive. I can think of numerous other examples where car drivers have just refused to back up even when they are closer to a layby, nothing to do with towing at all.
Hah. Yeah. Had to call the police on two guys having a Mexican stand-off in front of my flat some years ago. The road is only wide enough for one car at a time when there are parked cars on the sides, and 99.999999999% of people are very polite about it. But not these guys. Sat for about 10 minutes honking and swearing at one another, and pissing everyone else off because they'd blocked the road.

it won't make any difference to someone like that, but for me it does suggest that removing compulsory assessment of basic skills is a bit of a daft move, it's potentially just going to make this more common.
But there isn't a compulsory assessment of basic skills for everyone who wants to tow. There are just some arbitrary rules. I could go out and buy a trailer tomorrow, then tow it perfectly legally with my Skoda Yeti. If I had a Toyota Hilux, I could not. If I'd gotten my UK license ten years before I did, I could have towed with any vehicle I fancied.
 

TPO

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I don't understand the argument.

Everyone towing now is (hopefully!) doing it legally. Either they passed their test pre 97 or have since passed a b+e test.

I fail to see how using examples of how badly some people tow just now, while the test is still required, is a reason why it shouldn't be scrapped 🤔

The young woman used in the example sounds like they work in agriculture and a lot of kids are reversing tractors and trailers around the farm before they are even close to the legal ago for driving lessons. It's doesn't read like an equal comparison or a reason to keep the test
 

milliepops

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well there was a compulsory assessment of basic skills if you wanted to tow a heavy trailer and now there isn't. I'd imagine the damage you can do with a big heavy trailer if you don't know what you're doing is quite a lot more than a small light one o_O
 
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milliepops

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why do we have to pass a test to drive a big lorry? why not send everyone out in artics untested? would solve the problem of lorry driver shortages. presumably there was some kind of competency rationale behind it in the first place and it just seems short sighted to abandon the test when the problem of testing capacity lies with a different sector.
 

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I’d rather keep the test, but that argument is lost - the older bloke who couldn’t reverse had grandfather rights, the younger girl did not. She became so competent through practise, which the older bloke has not done.

In place of a test, I would prefer to see compulsory training and instructor sign off.

But as always, who is going to enforce this.

Sigh.

We are back to people needing to take responsibility for their own actions - a strange concept to some :)
 
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So many people can't reverse full stop. It's quite ridiculous. And all these people can already tow small trailers that are harder to reverse!

Honestly I think you either can or you can't. And if you can't you either practice or you don't. And if you don't practice a test makes little difference because you practice for the test then stop and it seems to be a skill that fades over time given the general competence of car drivers on single track roads.

The only answer would be more testing of everyone, all the time. Which is kind of untenable.

I can't parallel park to save my life. Even my instructor told me to hope i dont get asked to do in my test. It just doenst lock into my head.
 

Annagain

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well there was a compulsory assessment of basic skills if you wanted to tow a heavy trailer and now there isn't. I'd imagine the damage you can do with a big heavy trailer if you don't know what you're doing is quite a lot more than a small light one o_O
Except it's not always a big heavy trailer v a small light one - it could be 1kg difference in the overall weight. I know there has to be a cut off somewhere but can't help feeling it should be lower now.

Also, because people are trying to get within the 3500kg limit they could well be towing with a less suitable car. A Defender (for example) towing 751kg is going to be a safer, more appropriate set up than a Freelander towing 1420kg but the latter would be legal on a B licence while the former wouldn't.

I don't think the current system is perfect but I do think there should be some sort of mandatory training / assessment of competence for everybody who wants to tow.
 

milliepops

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I agree AA and as with everything you can fall 1g to the side of the licence one way or the other. but to me when you want to drive any kind of significantly different vehicle there ought to be some sort of check that you're actually competent to do so. Like I say otherwise we may as well say have at it with a 40t truck, if "common sense" is all that.... ;) but we don't..... what's the difference?
 

Annagain

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I agree AA and as with everything you can fall 1g to the side of the licence one way or the other. but to me when you want to drive any kind of significantly different vehicle there ought to be some sort of check that you're actually competent to do so. Like I say otherwise we may as well say have at it with a 40t truck, if "common sense" is all that.... ;) but we don't..... what's the difference?
I agree, I'm just not sure the test achieves that. People are often taught the short cuts to complete the manoeuvres in the test rather than how to apply those skills to real life. You could argue the same for the standard driving test, I suppose, the number of people who have passed their test but can't actually reverse shows that.

I do understand the predicament the government is in and think a mandatory training course signed off by a registered person would probably solve the problem without compromising standards.
 
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