There is no special trailer driving licence or permit. The driving permit you must have, depends on the type of the towing vehicle, the gross weight of the trailer and the total gross weight of the towing vehicle + trailer.
Usually, there are no issues about identifying whether you need a driving licence of category A, B, C, or D. They depend on the type of vehicle you will drive.
However, when you tow a trailer, some misunderstanding appears. In some cases, to tow a caravan, you need just a category A, B, C, or D open. In other cases, you must additionally pass a course and a test for a category E.
The key to the understanding of the difference is the gross weight of the trailer and the trailer + the towing vehicle.
The weight indicated above is a so-called maximum authorized mass. In other sources, it can be referred to as permissible maximum weight, or gross vehicle weight.
This number includes the weight of the trailer and the towing vehicle with a maximum load providing it can be carried on the road safely.
B group categories
Category B applies to cars and allows you:
- Towing a trailer that weighs not more than 750 kg. The limit is calculated as following – the 750 kg trailer+3,500 kg car = 4,250 kg MAM.
- Towing a trailer that can weigh more providing that the total weight of the vehicle and the caravan does not exceed 3,500 kg. The limit calculation – 1,000 kg trailer + 2,500 kg car = 3,500 kg MAM.
To drive a vehicle and a trailer with gross vehicle weight over 3,500 kg, you need to make sure that you have obtained categories B+E or other.
The category B+E entitles to drive a car and trailer.
This is when you must get this licence:
- The MAM of the trailer is over 750 kg, but not more than 3,500 kg.
- The MAM of the towing vehicle and a trailer is over 4,250 kg.
The maximum authorized mass of the train cannot exceed 7,000 kg.
C group categories
Category C means that you may drive a large goods vehicle or a van. You need to open this category if you drive a van and tow a trailer with a maximum mass of 750 kg. The gross weight of this combination starts from 3,500 kg.
Category C1 is required when the combined MAM is not more than 7,500 kg. The gross weight of the caravan still must be less than 750 kg.
If the MAM is more than 3,500 kg or the caravan weighs over 750 kg, you have to think of getting a C+E trailer driving licence.
Having got entitled to C1 and E, you will be able to drive the 8,250 kg car + trailer combination. In some cases you will be allowed to tow the trailer whose weight along with the weight of the vehicle will result in up to 12 t.
Note that to get a C1+E or a higher level trailer driving licence, you may be required to pass an additional theory and practical tests, and to meet higher medical standards.
Category of D group
Category D means that you may drive a bus or a minibus.
There are 2 combinations available:
- The combination D+E entitles you to tow a trailer up to 750 kg.
- The category D1+E allows driving minibuses towing trailers over 750 kg. The MAM of both vehicles can’t exceed 12,000 kg.
In some countries, for example, in the UK, if your driving licence was issued before 1 January 1997, you are allowed to drive a towing vehicle and van with maximum authorized mass up to 8,250 kg. This is dues to the fact that the driving licence includes different categories. However, you need to check this in the competitive body of your country.