One thing you must bear in mind when towing is that the speed limits for those with a caravan or trailer on the back are different from those that apply for solo cars – on certain roads.
It’s therefore crucial that you consider the speed limits you must abide by before you travel, no matter what kind of car and caravan you have – after all, there are no specific signs on the road to tell you what the towing limits are.
Towing on a motorway
If there are no temporary restrictions (such as from roadworks or alternative speed limits on smart motorways), then the speed limit for cars that aren’t towing a caravan or trailer is 70mph.
But you will need to travel more slowly when you are towing your caravan; in this case, 60mph is your limit.
This is a sensible maximum, helping to keep both you and your outfit safe and stable. Of course, if a temporary lower limit is being applied to all traffic, this must be adhered to.
What’s more, you’re not allowed into the outside lane if the motorway has three lanes or more. If there are only two lanes, it’s fine for you to use the outside lane
for overtaking; as when driving solo, you should pull back into the left as soon as possible after your overtaking manoeuvre.
Towing on a dual carriageway
The maximum speed at which you’re allowed to tow on a dual carriageway (assuming that no other temporary or permanent limits are in place) is 60mph.
Somewhat confusingly, though, if the posted limit is 60mph, you’re also allowed to travel at that speed – you don’t need to drop your speed by 10mph in line with the rest of the traffic.
You must stick to any temporary or posted speed limit below 60mph.
Towing on a single carriageway
If solo cars are allowed to travel at 60mph on a single-carriageway road, the limit when towing a caravan is 50mph.
You’ll be travelling more slowly than some traffic, so it’s advisable (where safe) to pull over and let the queue through. Rule 169 of the Highway Code states that you should “not hold up a long queue of traffic, especially if you are driving a large or slow-moving vehicle. Check your mirrors frequently, and if necessary, pull in where it is safe and let traffic pass.”
Always consider current conditions – just because a speed limit is there, that doesn’t mean it is a safe target.
A speed limit of 30mph (48km/h) applies to all single and dual carriageways with street lights, unless there are signs that indicate otherwise.
For cars, motorcycles, car-derived vans and dual-purpose vehicles when towing caravans or trailers, the following limits apply:
- Built-up areas: 30mph (48km/h)
- Single carriageways: 50mph (80km/h)
- Dual carriageways and motorways: 60mph (96km/h)
Where posted speed limit is 50mph, 40mph, 30mph or 20mph, if a lower limit applies to ‘normal’ traffic, it does to a car towing a van.
Are you looking for more great driving advice and tips? Then head to our Back to Basics: Driving category, where we’re giving you the information you need to tow your caravan with confidence.
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