What kind of vehicles can I drive on a normal driving licence? (Category B+E)
We are often approached by people who want to tow a caravan, or start driving a van for a living but end up convincing themselves they need to spend thousands of pounds on training to get a specialist licence before they are allowed to.
We aim to bring some clarity to the licence categories for you and we are here to help with all your driving questions so if you are not sure, do get in touch with our training advisors. We can tell you what you need to do and can help you every step of the way.
What does driving category B+E mean?
If you have a normal full driving licence then there are some Light Goods Vehicles you can drive without taking any further training – it does depend on when you passed your test as to what your licence will show.
- Before 19 January 1997
You can drive a vehicle and trailer combination which weighs up to 8,250kg (8.2 tonnes). You will see category B+E on your licence. You can also drive a minibus, with a trailer over 750kg maximum weight.
- After 19 January 1997
You can drive a vehicle with a maximum weight of 3.5 tonnes, with a trailer which has a maximum weight of 750kg. Or, you can drive a vehicle towing a trailer, as long as their combined weight is no greater than 3.5 tonnes.
One of the things you do need to note is that the weight limit doesn’t just apply to the vehicles you are driving, it also includes all of the load you are carrying, so if you are pulling a trailer loaded up with furniture, it’s the total weight you have to be aware of and clearly the load will make it heavier.
So what does this mean to you?
It allows you to drive a car towing a trailer, a small caravan or a small horse box behind your vehicle, so it’s ideal for leisure use really. It does not allow you to drive a self-contained horsebox – for this you’d need a more advanced licence and would need further training.
In terms of professional driving, it also allows you to drive Light Goods Vehicles weighing no more than 3.5 tonnes, so this could be for example, a small van if you want to become a courier or run some kind of light delivery business. Remember the weight limit applies once the van is fully loaded.
It would also allow you to drive other smaller commercial vehicles, for example, pick-up trucks if you run an auto-recovery service or work for a garage, and some other three-wheeled commercial vehicles.
What if I want to tow something heavier?
If you want to tow anything heavier then you will need to pass the car and trailer test, or perhaps achieve another category of licence altogether, and that’s where we come in so please do call us if you are concerned that perhaps your horsebox or caravan is not within the appropriate weight limit and you might need more advanced driving support.
The car and trailer test
The car and trailer driving licence test lasts for around an hour and is based on a lorry driving test. It will take place at a lorry and bus driving training centre and does include an off-road reverse manoeuvre, a controlled stop, uncoupling and coupling and driving on the road.
Next steps for towing
If you want to advance to driving heavier vehicles such as a larger horsebox, or towing a larger caravan outside of the weight limits then you will need to go to the next driving licence category and will require driving training to do this.
If you want to drive a medium-sized lorry and trailer, then you need to apply for a Category C1+E licence. To pass it you will need to pass the lorry theory test and the practical driving test as well.
If you are planning to drive this size of vehicle as part of your job, then you will also be required to take the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) tests as well, which are required by law for all drivers who are paid to drive.
Once you have passed these you can drive vehicles and trailers with a combined weight of up to 12,000 kg and we can help you with all of that training to make sure you are safe, competent and legally qualified to drive whichever type of vehicle you require.