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I also greatly favour weighbridges.  If you can find one near your holiday route then go over it while you are fully laden heading for your destination and then again when you are on the way home.  They are very quick and simple to use.

I've posted previously that I drive at or close to the car gross vehicle weight and the caravan MTPLM and I use weighbridges a couple of times a year.

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I have sympathy for the OP, I have none for the members castigating him for failing the test and, effectively, trying to force him not to tow a caravan. How many people on here ever had driving lesson

Strong comments from someone who didn’t have to take any test (I’m assuming). The OP has already done far more than most of us did/have done.   He’s had professional lesson(s). He’s tak

Great (genuine praise) BUT that’s you and is a very small percentage of folks. The OP has had professional advice, a test and now knows his (one) area where he needs to improve yet it’s being suggeste

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17 minutes ago, GaryB1969 said:

He’s already WAY ahead of where most of us were when we started towing

Totally agree - I'd watched my Dad tow for 10 years then had 12 years camping and then started towing myself once marriage and family happened. Driving test, Advanced course/test and competitive driving were one thing (and the latter involved trailers) but caravans, whole different thing again.

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Lives near Cheltenham, drives a Jaguar XF-S Sportbrake (2018) towing a Coachman VIP575 (2018).

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I would imagine that once the OP has his car and caravan and has been away a few times he will be able to reverse adequately. Reversing on to a pitch you can take all day and entertain others but with practice it will become quicker. I have watched professional wagon drivers reverse in to the smallest of spaces with great skill but do not expect this to be necessary for caravanning. I might have seen on here that towing a caravan is quite different to the trailers used for the B+E test so practice with a caravan may be more beneficial than taking more lessons and another test.

 

Our caravan is kept in storage so everything has to go in the car but when the caravan is hooked up bulky things like bedding are transferred to the caravan. Doing this there is no possibility of overloading the caravan and when first starting out I weighed the few things additional to the caravan as it was supplied by the manufacturer so I knew how much above the MIRO it would be. For food we take enough to get us through the first day so no need to rush to a shop as soon as we get there.

Edited by Paul1957
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A large advantage of passing the towing test is that, with some outfits, it might be the difference between a decent payload or not. Our van MPTLM allows for 145kg user payload but upgraded by 100kg upgrade to 245kg. 

Alan

 

2005 Nissan X-trail 4WD diesel and Swift Charisma 540 2012 Lunar Clubman ES  2018 Lunar Clubman ES

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8 hours ago, Mickyjb said:

I'm very strongly with Gary on this. The OP knows their limitations and are aiming to tow within them. It's illogical that they should have to 'demonstrate the competencIes required'  irrespective of a (weight & date driven) piece of legislation. 

 

And anyway:-

rather undermines the requirement for a towing-test then.

 

Why, having taken the BE test he has fallen short of the standard and failed.

 

If you can't pass this test why should you be allowed to tow any caravan.  it is irrelevant what the weight combination is, if you can't reverse a 20' long caravan, you can't reverse a 20' long caravan.

 

What if theposter had failed because of poor spacial awareness and judgement of length, cutting corners, clipping kerbs etc, not allowing sufficient distance to brake safely, poor mirror use resulting in dangerous overtaking, all of these apply equally to any caravan you tow, not just a heavier combination.

 

Sorry, too many people do things because they can, and not because they are competent to do so.

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Jaguar E-Pace 180D HSE R Dynamic - 2008 Swift Conqueror 540

 

"Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan Talk"

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I have a full licence due to age but when I got a caravan I did a course using my car and caravan.  Towards the end of the training I was starting to  loose concentration, I told the trainer and he said it was best to stop.  I had no pressure about having to pass a test and was using my caravan,  so I have a lot of sympathy with the OP who likely had the pressure and fatigue towards the  end of the test.  The first time I had to reverse onto a pitch I needed 2 goes,  but at no time was it unsafe,  so a fail for taking too long, while  under huge pressure is in my opinion,  unfair. 

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18 minutes ago, Ex-Gasman said:

I have a full licence due to age but when I got a caravan I did a course using my car and caravan.  Towards the end of the training I was starting to  loose concentration, I told the trainer and he said it was best to stop.  I had no pressure about having to pass a test and was using my caravan,  so I have a lot of sympathy with the OP who likely had the pressure and fatigue towards the  end of the test.  The first time I had to reverse onto a pitch I needed 2 goes,  but at no time was it unsafe,  so a fail for taking too long, while  under huge pressure is in my opinion,  unfair. 

Fatigue should not have been an issue. The manoeuvring test is normally carried out first, at the test centre, before going out on the road. It certainly is for large goods and passenger vehicle tests.

https://www.gov.uk/car-trailer-driving-test/what-happens-during-test

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Thanks to everyone for their comments. 
 

My plan is to get my caravan coupled up

to my C-Max and make sure I get plenty of practice.  I like the empty car park idea. I’ll be doing that for sure.

 

I can understand what people are saying in regards to failing the B&E and not being competent however, I do have some trailer experience, I drove a large 4x4 for a number of years, had lessons on trailers, learnt all the theory, proved I can correctly couple up and uncouple and even drive comfortably with a large trailer. I even passed my reverse manoeuvre every time I’m practicing but failed it in the test. 


In regards to weight, I am going to take my car and caravan to a weigh bridge, write everything down that we load into the caravan and be very mindful of what we are putting in. 
 

I’ve worked out that my Max payload for my caravan is 230kg (MTPLM-MIRO) and I can load almost 640kg into my car (Gross weight - Kerb Weight) before hitting the gross weight and even with them figures I will still be under the 3.5t weight limit.
 

I am now looking forward to getting into this and I’ll be sure to seek advice on here again. I’ll update the weigh bridge figures if anyone is interested. Let me know! :) 

 

I wish I had grandad rights lol!

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Well done. At the end of the day you failed because you shunted back/forwards too many times for the examiner, you didn’t park the trailer in a shop window! Now get out there & enjoy yourself.

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2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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Fair play for coming back fella. A few posts on here, mine included, have been fairly hostile to a newcomer. Sorry. 

 

Youre doing the the right thing re. weights. When you do start towing, a caravan behaves differently to any other trailer I’ve pulled, they’re far more affected by passing vehicles and crosswinds. Take it steady and enjoy. 

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You don't need to prove yourself to the grumpies on here. You're legal, clearly sensible about towing - time to enjoy great holidays with your kids. 

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2018 Octavia vRS 245 TSI Estate & 2016 Adria Altea 552 DT Tamar

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38 minutes ago, swirly182 said:

You don't need to prove yourself to the grumpies on here. You're legal, clearly sensible about towing - time to enjoy great holidays with your kids. 

 

There's a big difference to being legal and competent!

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Jaguar E-Pace 180D HSE R Dynamic - 2008 Swift Conqueror 540

 

"Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan Talk"

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Going back to the OP, sadly the 526 Xplore isn't in the current Elddis range so it's not possible to see whether the van's quoted MTPLM is the standard allocated weight, or the upgraded weight that matches the axle limit. The car/van combo gives some leeway on the 3500kg limit, so if it was possible to upgrade the MTPLM that would help in reducing the risk of overloading the van.

 

Another thought is that the CMax rear seats will obviously be occupied which reduces the space for loading to just the boot and you'd really have to pack in some seriously heavy stuff to overload the rear axle. 

 

However overloading the caravan, with the silly payload allowances UK manufacturers provide, is a real risk, though doing without the 30kg of a mover will help. Don't forget though that the battery is part of payload, as is any gas load above whatever Elddis use in their MIRO calculation. 

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I've got nothing to do on this hot afternoon

but to settle down and write you a line.

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Correct Steve but as we all know only passing a test doesn’t get you competent, experience is required.

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He is competent to tow under B licence conditions but not competent to meet B and E pass criteria.

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2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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2 minutes ago, Steamdrivenandy said:

Going back to the OP, sadly the 526 Xplore isn't in the current Elddis range so it's not possible to see whether the van's quoted MTPLM is the standard allocated weight, or the upgraded weight that matches the axle limit. The car/van combo gives some leeway on the 3500kg limit, so if it was possible to upgrade the MTPLM that would help in reducing the risk of overloading the van.

 

Another thought is that the CMax rear seats will obviously be occupied which reduces the space for loading to just the boot and you'd really have to pack in some seriously heavy stuff to overload the rear axle. 

 

However overloading the caravan, with the silly payload allowances UK manufacturers provide, is a real risk, though doing without the 30kg of a mover will help. Don't forget though that the battery is part of payload, as is any gas load above whatever Elddis use in their MIRO calculation. 

Thanks Andy :) 

 

I’ll be doing exactly that :) 

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I suspect that relatively few non B+E licence holders with under 3500kg combo's could be considered as 'competent' if using Steve's yardstick, but the government allows them to use the roads.

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I've got nothing to do on this hot afternoon

but to settle down and write you a line.

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Weighing absolutely everything when loading a new caravan for the first time can be an eye opener! It’s also tempting to add gadgets/accessories over the years which all eat into the payload.

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2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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9 minutes ago, Thomson1991 said:

Correct Steve but as we all know only passing a test doesn’t get you competent, experience is required.

 

I agree, but you have said you have experience !

 

Quote

 I do have some trailer experience, I drove a large 4x4 for a number of years, had lessons on trailers, learnt all the theory, proved I can correctly couple up and uncouple and even drive comfortably with a large trailer. I even passed my reverse manoeuvre every time I’m practicing but failed it in the test.

                                                      *********************************************************

 

9 minutes ago, GaryB1969 said:

He is competent to tow under B licence conditions but not competent to meet B and E pass criteria.

 

No Gary he is legally entitled to tow under his B category, but having failed the BE test he has shown he is not competent.

 

A caravan is a caravan, is a caravan and if you can't demonstrate competency to reverse one you can't reverse any regardless of the weight, unfortunately the examiner can only evaluate what they see on the day, anything else is irrelevant.

Jaguar E-Pace 180D HSE R Dynamic - 2008 Swift Conqueror 540

 

"Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan Talk"

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2 minutes ago, Grandpa Steve said:

 

I agree, but you have said you have experience !

 

 

 


Some trailer experience however, not a great deal other than my lessons and test. I’m aiming to become competent and I’ll be doing so whilst staying completely safe and legal :) 

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"Grandfather rights" is an interesting topic, because being of a certain aged doesn't automatically make you a more competent driver (allegedly).

 

Logically as the restrictions are added, all current licence holders should have to pass the new test to retain their rights.

 

Practically, I doubt that there is the infrastructure in place to test all the people who have "grandfather rights" within a reasonable time. Much the same reason that people aren't asked to retake the test for every licence category at regular intervals.

 

Hymer Nova 580 2016 and VW Touareg 2009 SE

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6 minutes ago, Grandpa Steve said:

 

No Gary he is legally entitled to tow under his B category, but having failed the BE test he has shown he is not competent.

 


Let’s agree that we don’t agree or we’ll go round & round and it’ll help no-one.

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2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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2 minutes ago, Thomson1991 said:

Some trailer experience however, not a great deal other than my lessons and test. I’m aiming to become competent and I’ll be doing so whilst staying completely safe and legal :) 

I have been towing for over 39 years and have reversed into and out of some very tight spaces but despite this we can all have an off day. So should I say that I am more competent than you? You were tested and failed whereas I was not tested and on a bad day and feeling stressed (not something that I am prone too) would I have passed? Who knows?

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Alan

 

2005 Nissan X-trail 4WD diesel and Swift Charisma 540 2012 Lunar Clubman ES  2018 Lunar Clubman ES

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Regardless of competence, personal views on the testing requirements, or anything else, the law requires that anyone who passed their car test after 1st January 1997 has to pass an additional test to drive anything where the MAM exceeds 3500kg.

 

You can argue/disagree to your hearts content, it will not make a jot of difference to the situation the OP finds himself in. For whatever reason he did not show the required skills at the time of his test. So was not awarded a pass. 

Experience is an awful teacher who ends up sending you simply horrifying bills

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Correct Andy, but after failing he has chosen a car/caravan that doesn’t need B&E entitlement. The disagreements stem from a view of competence rather than legality.

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2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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