Frequently Asked Questions


Weight/Size


Before you tow


Towing & Reversing


Brakes


Launching


General


Law



Back to top

Weight/Size

What unbraked trailer can I tow?

You can tow a maximum of 750 Kg with an unbraked trailer but you cannot exceed half the kerb weight of the towing vehicle. You can tow a trailer with a Gross Weight higher than your car's towing limit as long as you only load it up to that limit. It is illegal to exceed the car's towing limit.



Back to top

I am told that I can tow 85% of my car's kerb weight. Surely I can tow up to 100 %?

The 85% figure is a recommendation, not a legal limit, given by all caravan clubs to give good power to weight ratio for successful towing. You can legally tow up to the car manufacturer's towing limit.
This may be in excess of 100% but only if you passed your car driving test before January 1st 1997.

Back to top

Here are some guidelines for towing in the United Kingdom

Size (Towing a vehicle under 3500kg Gross weight)
Maximum length (excluding coupling and drawbar)7 metres
Maximum width2.3 metres
Weight
Check the manufacturers recommended towing limit for your vehicle. This should be in the handbook and on the VIN plate on the chasis. Trailers have a manufacture's recommended pay load, trailers that have a gross weight allowance of over 750kg must be braked. Check your load doesn't exceed the trailers specification.
Trailer Maximum Weights (weight/size)
Type 01: unbraked trailers - max. 750kg gross trailer weight or half the towing vehicle's kerb weight - whichever is less.
Type 02: trailers on overrun brakes - max. 3500kg gross trailer weight
1982 regulations demand that all trailers, including unbraked ones, must be clearly marked with their maximum gross weight in kg. This may be checked at any time by the police at a weighbridge. Since 1st January 1997, all unbraked trailer plates must show the year of manufacture

Loading Your load must be securely tied down.
  • Loads should be evenly distributed and recommended nose weight limit should not be exceeded.
  • Load projections should be avoided to minimise risk to others.
Lighting for Trailers Trailers rear lighting must have two red sidelights, two red stop lights, a numberplate light, two triangular red reflectors and amber indicators which flash between 60 and 120 times per minute. Wide trailers (exceeding 1.3m wide) must have one fog lamp. Front reflectors are required for trailers less than 1.6m wide and front position lights for trailers wider than 1.6m.

Number Plates Trailers are required to have legal number-plates manufactured by a licensed number-plate manufacturer.

Back to top

Before you tow

Do I need to grease my tow hitch?

Yes. grease tow hitch according to your handbook to unsure free movement.

Back to top

How about the cables, do they need oiling?

No. Brake cables are now waterproof and PTFE lined and, apart from routine inspection for damage, are maintenance free.

Back to top

What about any bearings, do they need regular greasing?

No. AL-KO axles are now fitted with waterproof, either taper roller 'type 700' or twin spherical bearings. This means the seals have been upgraded and improve to proved better sealing. They should still not be immersed in water when hot because the 'vacuum effect' of the hubs rapidly cooling will encourage water ingress under pressure.

Back to top

What checks should I do before towing?

The trailer operator or the driver of the towing vehicle, if different, has the responsibility for the safe operation of the trailer and needs to carry out the following checks:
  • If the trailer is laden is the load correctly distributed i.e. not too much or too little nose weight?
  • Is the load within the trailer's official payload? - I.e. not overloaded.
  • Is the actual gross weight being towed within the towing vehicle manufacturer's recommended maximum towing limit (whether braked or unbraked.)?
  • Is the load correctly secured?
  • Are all the lights undamaged and working correctly?
  • Are the 7 core cable and plug undamaged?
  • Is the correct number plate fitted? (both registration number and style)
  • Is the breakaway cable or secondary coupling undamaged and correctly connected, to a suitable point on the tow bar or towing vehicle?
  • Are the tyre pressures correct and all tyres free from cuts, bulges and with adequate tread, (including the spare)? Tyres must have a continuous tread depth of at least 1.60 mm on cars, light vans and trailers, across the centre three-quarters of the width (1mm for other vehicles)
  • Are you satisfied that the wheel nuts/bolts are tightened to the correct torque?
  • If required are the mudguards in satisfactory condition and secure?
  • Is the trailer correctly coupled to the towball or pin?
  • Is the coupling height correct? I.e. not excessively nose down or nose up.
In Summary:
  • Make sure the trailer is level when coupled to the towing vehicle
  • Make sure the nose weight is between 50 and 100kg (unless trailer is very light.)
  • Make sure the tyre pressures are correct.
  • Are the jockey wheel and any corner steadies or prop stands fully wound up and secure?
NB. Check the correct operation of damper and brakes as soon as possible after commencement of journey.

Back to top

What do I need to know about the tyres?

Car and trailer tyres must have at least 1.6mm of tread over the central 75% of their width for their entire circumference, although a tyre with less than 3mm offers little grip in the wet. Tyres must be free from deep cuts and bulges (which indicate they are breaking up) and it is illegal to use cross-ply and radial tyres on the same axle. (Make sure that the tyres you fit to your trailer are of the correct rating.)

Back to top

Towing & Reversing

How do I reverse a trailer?

Before reversing, get out of the vehicle and check that all is clear to the rear before making the manoeuvre. Be on the look out for children and pedestrians. If possible, get someone to watch while the manoeuvre is made.
  1. Start with vehicle and trailer as straight as possible and about a trailers length from the place into which you are reversing.
  2. Watching the trailer out of the driver's window, reverse slowly and start turning the steering to the right.
    It is easier to add more steering than to correct to much.
  3. As soon as the trailers starts to turn, you begin straightening up whilst still reversing.
    If you leave it too late the trailer will jack-knife.
  4. Eventually you start steering the other way whilst still reversing.
    Bring the vehicle's nose round to follow the trailer.
    Keep an eye on where the trailer is in case it needs correction.
  5. Reverse in a straight line using the door mirrors.
    Reverse slowly and carefully.
    When more of the trailer appears in one mirror, steer towards that mirror to start the trailer going the other way.
    Corrections only require small steering movements.
  6. Pulling forward to straighten the trailer is sometimes an easier option before continuing your reverse.
  7. Before reversing, get out of the vehicle and check that all is clear to the rear before making the manoeuvre.
  8. Be on the look out for children and pedestrians. If possible, get someone to watch while the manoeuvre is made.
WARNING!! Never reverse a trailer without checking behind because of the huge blind spot. Ideally, have someone see you back, especially in crowded places. Reversing a trailer is a skill that can be mastered with a little perseverance by anyone who has learned the basic theory. Find somewhere with plenty of space and keep trying until you get it right. It helps to have someone who knows how to do it to tell you where you are going wrong.

Back to top

Are there any specific requirements for trailer brakes?

Trailers should be fitted with 50mm ball coupling to ISO and BSI standards.
Unbraked trailers must have a secondary coupling which is fitted when being towed. The coupling will be tight enough to hold the ball coupling hitting the ground if it becomes uncoupled.

Braked trailers must be fitted with hydraulically damped coupling and auto reverse brakes to give braking efficiencies required by EEC Directive 71/320. All wheels must be braked.

Braked trailers must be fitted with a parking brake that operates on at least two road wheels on the same axle.

An emergency breakaway cable must be fitted to the parking brake linkage and the other end clipped or fixed round some fixture on the towing vehicle so that, in the event of the trailer becoming detached from the towing vehicle, the cable will apply the parking brake automatically, before snapping itself. It is not recommended to loop the cable round the towball. (But do so if there is no alternative attachment point.) It is a separate offence not to use the breakaway cable provided.

Back to top

Brakes

Do I need to clean the brakes after launching?

Yes. Always flush- out the brake drums with a water hose after immersion in salt water. This should be done in the routine washing off of your trailer. If you have a "Bramber flushing kit attached it will make it much easer. After immersion and flushing, the brakes should be dried thoroughly before parking your trailer for any length of time. This is best achieved, if you don't have a journey to make, by towing the trailer for about 10 miles some of it downhill.

Back to top

Will my brakes seize if the trailer is laid-up for a period?

Yes. Never park a trailer for long periods of time with handbrake applied. Always use wheel 'chocks'.

Back to top

What's the maximum speed I can travel on the Motorway?

(Towing 8.jpg & Law 9.jpg) The maximum speed limit for trailers is 60mph on motorways and dual carriageways, otherwise 50mph unless a lower road speed limit is in operation. Trailers are not permitted in the outside lane of Motorways.

Back to top

Launching

Can I launch my boat as soon as I arrive at the water?

No. Never immerse your trailer into the water when the hubs are warm after running. Always allow to cool before launching.

Back to top

General

What can I tow with my license?

Holders of driving licences issued before July 1996 and providing that they have Group A or if after 1990, category B, are entitled to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to a maximum train weight of 8.25 tons.

However holders of car licences issued after July 1996 will only be able to drive a vehicle and trailer combination of up to 3500kg assuming that the trailer and its load are lighter than the towing vehicle. ie. a 2000kg vehicle with a 1500kg trailer. To tow a larger trailer wighing up to 3500kg a B + E licence must be obtained.

Back to top

How do I attach the trailer to the tow hitch?

Become methodical about hitching up and unhitching so that you do not forget anything. If your tow car's mirrors do not give a good view past the trailer you should fit towing mirrors. Below is a simple guide to the basics:

Trailer with ball hitches
  • Apply the trailer handbrake, remove any towball and electrical socket dust covers and security devices then wind the jockey wheel to the required height.
  • Raise the front of the trailer by means of the jockey wheel assembly to the required height, roll trailer up to the rear of the towing vehicle.
  • If the trailer has tandem axles, raise sufficiently to raise the front wheels clear of the ground to aid manoeuvrability.
  • Do not attempt to lift the front of the trailer. Lower the trailer by means of the jockey wheel assembly onto the towball of the vehicle.
  • Over the last foot or so, your helper should use their hands to show you the actual distance between towball and coupling head.
  • If you have to stop a few inches short, judge how far back you are going by comparing the front wheels' movement to something on the ground.
  • Wind the jockey wheel down to lower the coupling head onto the towball.
  • Some coupling heads have a locking handle which stays up then automatically locks onto the ball, others have to be held up and may have an indicator to show when the ball is in place.
  • Once the coupling head appears locked on, lower the jockey wheel a few turns to lift the back of the vehicle to prove the coupling head is on properly, then fully raise the wheel before unclamping it and, finally, securely locking it fully raised. Check that the wheel in the position you have locked it is not interfering with the operation of the coupling overrun mechanism.
For a trailer fitted with a towing eye
  • Raise or lower the trailer until it is in line with the tow jaw
  • Remove pin and position vehicle so pin can drop cleanly through the towing eye.
  • When the pin is in place, lock in position with a secondary device - usually a rotating knob, R-clip or spring clip
Finishing attaching the trailer to the vehicle
  • Attach safety breakaway cable(s) to the rear of vehicle. This cable will apply the hand brake if for any reason the trailer becomes detached whilst towing. (Clip the breakaway cable onto the special rings some tow bars have or loop it around the bar, making sure it cannot foul the coupling head. Do not loop it round the towball neck unless you can find no alternative.) Check that the breakaway and lighting cables have enough slack for cornering but will not touch the ground.
  • Plug in the lighting plug, and check all lights and indicators. The electrical plug only fits one way, so line up its cut-out with the lug on the bottom edge of the socket. Some cars have two sockets - use the one with the black cover flap because the one with the white flap is for caravan supplementary electrical systems.
  • It is your responsibility as the driver to ensure all lights work. Turn on the car lights and check the trailer's lights. With the ignition on, make sure the correct indicators are working - car and trailer indicators not matching is a common fault - then get someone to see if the trailer brake lights work. (If you are alone, use a short stick between the pedal and the seat to hold down the brake pedal.)
  • Adjust both external mirrors so that a view down both sides of the trailer can be obtained. (If this cannot be achieved extension mirrors should be fitted).
  • When loading a trailer ensure the weight is distributed appropriately. Nose weight is a very important factor in making your vehicle and trailer combination stale during towing. Inadequate nose weight can cause snaking problems. Too much nose weight can also cause 'snaking' and excessive wear to the hitch.
  • Nose weight should be at least 50kg when the outfit is stationary. Refer to the recommendations of you vehicle and trailer manufacturers.
  • It is your responsibility, as the driver, to ensure that your vehicle or trailer is not overloaded.
  • Lift up and lock the jockey wheel assembly. (If this is not done, the jockey wheel will become damaged).


Back to top

What's on the specification plate on the trailer?

To comply with the D.o.T. Code of Practice for the recall of defective trailers less than 3500kg G.V.W. it is desirable that a trailer should carry a manufacturer's plate clearly showing:
  • Manufacturers name and address chassis or serial number and model number
  • Maximum gross weight (G.V.W.)
  • Date of manufacture
  • Maximum Load
  • Tyre Pressure
  • Torque Settings
  • Wheel Size


Back to top

What standards are there for trailers & hitches

Having ensured that the towing vehicle is suitable size for the trailer, ensure that the towing bracket is of an approved type and is properly secured. A 50mm diameter towing ball is normally required to British Standard BS AU113L 1979 or ISO Standard 1103, this will have a flat top which is stamped ISO 50. If the towing jaw is used it must comply with the requirements of BS AU 24 1964

Back to top

I own a Ford Ka and want to tow my sailing dinghy but am told that I cannot have a towbar fitted as it would be illegal. Surely not?

All cars sold here from the 1st August 1998 must be European Whole Vehicle Type Approved. The vehicle maker decides when he applies for approval if the car will be allowed to tow and the car has towbar mounting points built in to the chassis. The Ka does not have towbar mounting points so a towbar cannot be fitted. It would be illegal to fit one. There are a number of other cars that cannot have towbars fitted so if you intend to tow with a small car ask before buying.

Back to top

What do I need to know be within the law?

MAXIMUM AUTHORISED MASS (MAM)
In this section reference is made to the maximum authorised mass (MAM) of vehicles and trailers. This should be taken to mean the permissible maximum weight, also known as the gross vehicle weight.

Back to top

What's the maximum speed I can travel on the Motorway?

The maximum speed limit for trailers is 60mph on motorways and dual carriageways, otherwise 50mph unless a lower road speed limit is in operation. Trailers are not permitted in the outside lane of Motorways.

Back to top

I tow as part of my job; do I need a tachograph?

If you are towing for commercial reasons and the combined potential weight of your vehicle and your trailer exceeds 3500kg you should have a tachograph fitted to your vehicle.

1. CAR LICENCES HELD BEFORE 1 JANUARY 1997 All drivers who passed a car test before 1 January 1997 retain their existing entitlement to tow trailers until their licence expires. This means they are generally entitled to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8.25 tonnes MAM. They also have entitlement to drive a minibus with a trailer over 750kgs MAM.

Drivers who hold subcategory C1+E - limited to 8.25 tonnes MAM, may apply for provisional entitlement to the new subcategory C1+E, in order to take and pass the test which will increase their combined vehicle and trailer entitlement to 12 tonnes MAM. It is not necessary to gain subcategory C1 entitlement first but drivers have to meet higher medical standards, and pass both the category C theory test and the subcategory C1+E practical test.

2. CAR DRIVING LICENCE FIRST OBTAINED SINCE 1 JANUARY 1997 Drivers who passed a car test on or after 1 January 1997 are required to pass an additional driving test in order to gain entitlement to category B+E and all larger vehicles. In addition to the new driving tests, drivers of vehicles which fall within subcategories C1, C1+E, D1 and D1+E also have to meet higher medical standards.

Category B: Vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes MAM and with up to 8 passenger seats

Category B vehicles may be coupled with a trailer up to 750kgs MAM (allowing a combined weight up to 4.25 tonnes MAM) OR a trailer over 750kgs MAM provided the MAM of the trailer does not exceed the unladen weight of the towing vehicle, and the combination does not exceed 3.5 tonnes MAM.
For example:
i. a vehicle with an unladen weight of 1.25 tonnes and a MAM of 2 tonnes coupled with a trailer with a MAM of 1.25 tonnes could be driven by the holder of a category B entitlement. This is because the MAM of the combination does not exceed 3.5 tonnes and also the MAM of the trailer does not exceed the unladen weight of the drawing vehicle.
Whereas
ii. the same vehicle with an unladen weight of 1.25 tonnes and a MAM of 2 tonnes when coupled with a trailer with a MAM of 1.5 tonnes would fall within category B+E. This is because although the combined weight of the vehicle and trailer is within the 3.5 tonnes MAM limit, the MAM of the trailer is more than the unladen weight of the drawing vehicle.

Vehicle manufacturers normally recommend a maximum weight of trailer appropriate to their vehicle. Details can usually be found in the vehicle's handbook or obtained from car dealerships. The size of the trailer recommended for an average family car with an unladen weight of around 1 tonne would be well within the new category B threshold.

As for towing caravans, existing general guidance recommends that the laden weight of the caravan does not exceed 85% of the unladen weight of the car. In the majority of cases, caravans and small trailers towed by cars should be within the new category B threshold.

Note - An exemption from the driver licensing trailer limit allows a category B licence holder to tow a broken down vehicle from a position where it would otherwise cause danger or obstruction to other road users.

By passing a category B test National Categories F (tractor), K (pedestrian controlled vehicle) and P (moped) continue to be added automatically. Note - Because EC Regulations limit drivers aged under 21 years to driving vehicles or combinations which weigh no more than 7.5 tonnes MAM, drivers under the age of 21 are not allowed to drive subcategory C1+E vehicles up to 12 tonnes MAM. But 18 year old drivers are allowed to take a test

for subcategory C1+E which will allow trailers in excess of 750kgs MAM to be towed. Entitlement is limited to a combination weight of 7.5 tonnes MAM until the driver reaches 21 years, at which time the balance of 12 tonnes MAM entitlement automatically becomes effective.

3. UPGRADING ENTITLEMENT FOR TRAILERS
In general, an additional driving test is required for each category or subcategory of entitlement. But there are certain exceptions to this where drivers have already passed one test which involves trailer entitlement for a larger or equivalent sized vehicle.
This means that passing a test for subcategory C1+E or D1+E upgrades category B entitlement to B+E.
A test pass for subcategory C1+E upgrades subcategory D1, if held, to D1+E. But a test pass for subcategory D1+E does not upgrade subcategory C1 to C1+E because the trailer size required for a subcategory D1+E test is smaller than that required for a subcategory C1+E test.
Passing a test for category C+E upgrades category B entitlement to B+E and also confers entitlement to subcategory C1 and C1+E and, if category D or subcategory D1 is held, these are upgraded to category D+E or subcategory D1+E.
A test passed for category D+E upgrades category B and subcategory D1 to category B+E and subcategory D1+E respectively. But it does not upgrade category C or subcategory C1 entitlements because the trailer size required for a category D+E test is smaller than that required for a category C+E or subcategory C1+E test. This information is not intended to be a definitive statement of law.

Speed limits: Always keep to the legal speed limit for the road you are using. Speed limits for cars towing caravans or trailers.
  • 30mph limit applies on all roads with street lighting unless signs show otherwise.
  • 50mph applies on single carriageways unless signs show otherwise.
  • 60mph applies on dual carriageways and motorways.
It should be remembered that you must not travel in the right-hand lane of a motorway, with three lanes or more, if you are driving a vehicle drawing a trailer. Drive within your outfit's capabilities:
  • Always drive at a speed that is well within your capabilities, and to the road and weather conditions that prevail at the time.
  • If your trailer begins to snake or swerve, ease off the accelerator and reduce speed gently. (This can happen if you are driving too fast or the load in the trailer is wrongly positioned).
  • Do not brake sharply on a bend, (this could cause a possible jack-knife situation). Reduce speed before the bend and take the appropriate gear for the speed you are doing. Then gently accelerate out of the bend.


Back to top

Is there anything I need to know about making my load safe?

Introduction:
  • The Road Traffic Act 1991 Introduced provisions into the Road Traffic Act 1988 making new offences, applicable to the state of loads on vehicles. These provisions reflect the seriousness with which the safety of loads on vehicles is now viewed.
  • Legal requirements and common sense require that all loads carried on vehicles are secured, whatever the journey. This is to protect the people involved in loading, unloading and driving the vehicle, together with other road users and pedestrians,
  • This Code of Practice is not restricted only to the load being carried by the vehicle; it also covers any equipment on the vehicle such as loader cranes, landing legs, tailgates etc. All of these must be stowed and secured to manufacturer instructions so not to be a danger to other road users and pedestrians.
  • In the UK every year over 4000 successful prosecutions for unsafe loads are brought against drivers and operators. Many other incidents involving the loss of loads or part loads go unreported.
  • The Road Traffic Act 1991 states that:
    a. A person is also guilty of using a vehicle in a dangerous condition if he uses, or causes or permits another to use, a motor vehicle or trailer on a road when the purpose for which it is used or the weight position or distribution of its load, or the manner in which it is secured is such that the use of the motor vehicle involves a danger of injury to any person.
    THE MAX PENELATY FOR THIS OFFENCE IF COMMITTED IN RESPECT OF A GOODS VEHICLE IS A 5000 FINE, PLUS 3 PENELATY POINTS AND DISQUALIFICATION
    b. A person is to be regarded as driving dangerously if it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving the vehicle in its current state would be dangerous. In determining the state of the vehicle for this purpose, regard may be had to anything attached to or carried on or in it and to the manner in which it is attached or carried.
THE MAXIMUM PENALTY FOR DANGEROUS DRIVING IS 2 YEARS IMPRISONMENT. THE MAXIMUM PENELATY FOR CAUSING DEATH BY DANGEROUS DRIVING IS 10 YEARS INPRISONMENT.
  • If a load, or part of a load, falls into water and causes pollution, and the waters are controlled, this is an offence under the Water Resources Act 1991. This could attract a maximum fine of 20'000, together with the cost of cleaning up the affected water.
  • Although this section is primarily concerned with ensuring loads are contained on vehicles, you should be aware that there are legal obligations on operators and others to ensure the safety of all persons involved in loading operations. These obligations expect safe systems of work for loading, moving, unloading, sheeting and safe access onto vehicles.
  • The principle legislation governing such matters is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Regulation 13 of "The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations Act 1992". It is enforced by the Health and Safety Executive and, at certain premises, by local authorities. There is an Approved Code of Practice for the "The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992" which should be followed. Further information can be obtained from local offices of the HSE (listed in telephone directories) or the HSE Info line 08701 545500.
  • All vehicles with an overall travelling height above 3 metres must have the maximum height of the vehicle in feet and inches displayed inside the cab so that it is clearly visible to the driver. (Regulation 10 of The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 as amended by S.I. 1997 No 530)
Principles of Load Safety: When a vehicle changes direction - cornering on roundabouts, overtaking etc. - friction is not enough to stop unsecured cargo from moving. It is wrong to assume that the weight of the load will keep it in position. In fact heavier loads are more likely to move when the vehicle is in motion due to their kinetic energy being greater. Under heavy braking the weight acting in a forward direction can be equal to that acting down on the vehicle. Therefore, a load that is not restrained will not be secure.
  • The forces acting on the load during braking increase with the rate of deceleration and the weight of the load. So, when the vehicle brakes, the load will want to continue to move in its original direction. The heavier the load and the harder you brake, the more the load will try to move.
  • Friction alone cannot be relied upon to keep the load in place. When the vehicle is moving, vertical movement caused by bumps will reduce any restraining force due to friction. This can reduce to zero if the load even momentarily leaves the bed of the truck.
  • It requires much more force to stop a load that has started moving than it does to prevent movement in the first place. This 'battering ram' effect increases rapidly with the increase in distance through which the load moves relative to the vehicle. It is essential therefore that the load is restrained in such a way that movement of the load on the vehicle is prevented.
  • The basic principle upon which this Code of Practice is based is that the combined strength of the load restraint system must be sufficient to withstand a force not less than the total weight of the load backwards and sideways. Vertical movement may occur but this should be overcome if the above conditions are met. This applies to all vehicles no matter what the size, from small vans to the largest goods vehicles. These principles are based on the maximum forces that are likely to be experienced during normal road use. Greater forces may be encountered if the vehicle, for example, is involved in an accident. The principles should therefore be regarded as minimum requirements.
Choice of vehicle and arrangement of loads:
  • It is the vehicle operator's responsibility to provide suitable vehicles and securing equipment for each load carried and to ensure that drivers and loading staff are competent and have received sufficient instruction in its use. It is the driver's duty to check and ensure that the load is adequately secured at all times, not just at the start of the journey. This is especially true after a violent manoeuvre such as aluminium, frictional forces helping to restrain the load could be lower than expected. This is also true if the bed is wet.
  • The design and construction of the vehicle and its bodywork should be suitable for the loads that it is likely to carry, particularly in terms of the characteristics and strengths of the materials used.
Load securing equipment:
  • The selection of the best means of securing a load to a vehicle will depend on the type and composition of the load to be carried. Operators should equip themselves with the correct securing equipment for the types of load carried and where the general cargoes are carried various types should be available. Clamps, special bolts, steel wire ropes, chains, webbing harnesses, sheets, nets, ropes and shoring bars are all suitable devices for use in load restraint but it is essential to ensure that they are strong enough for the weight of loads carried.
  • All equipment used for securing loads should be regularly inspected for wear or damage. Inspection arrangements should be in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Special attention should be paid to webbing and rope to ensure that there is no visible deterioration due to constant use, such as fraying of the strands. They should also be inspected to ensure that they have not been cut or damaged in any other way through misuse. If there is any doubt as to whether repairs are required, reference should be made to the manufacturer or suppliers of the lashing.
  • Webbing assemblies are suitable for securing many types of load. They usually consist of a webbing strap with some form of end fittings and incorporate a tensioning device. It is recommended that assemblies manufactured to BS 5759 are used. These are marked with a Rated Assembly Strength (RAS) which should never be exceeded. Webbing made from polyester, polyamide or polypropylene may be used. Polyester loses a little strength when wet, is highly resistant to moderate strength acid bur can be damaged by alkali. Polyamide may lose up to 15% in strength when wet, is highly resistant to alkalis but can be damaged by moderate strength acids; Polypropylene is useful where chemical resistance is a requirement.
  • Before use, care should be taken to ensure that the metal components of the harness are not corroded or damaged, that the webbing is not cut or frayed and that all stitching is sound. If damage is found, advice should be sought from the manufacturers to check if repairs are possible.
Lashings: In order to obtain the maximum efficiency from every part of the restraint system it is essential that the requirements described in the following are met
  • The lashings and fastening devices (ropes, webbing, chains, cables, clamps etc.) should be in sound condition and must be capable of withstanding all normal forces. To avoid movement of the load, lashings must be properly tensioned at all times using a tensioning device specified by the manufacturer of the lashing. Never over tension lashings by the use of levers.
  • It is most important that lashings which provide forward restraint are as near to the horizontal as possible and never at an angle of more than 60o. This is because the effort required restraining the load increases sharply as the lashings approach the vertical position
  • Where lashings are at an angle of 60o the total lashing force required to prevent a mass from moving forwards is 2 x cargo mass if there is no other means of restraint (e.g. headboard) and 1 x cargo mass sideways or rearwards. It has already been stated that the restraints should not be at an angle greater than 60o as the lashing force is greatly increased above this angle. E.g. if the lashing was 85o to the horizontal, the force required to prevent the mass moving forward would need to be 11.5 x cargo mass. There should be at least one lashing every 1.5m along the length of the load.
  • Lashings must be protected against abrasion and or cutting by the use of corner protectors or protective sleeves.
  • A load positioned to one side of the vehicle will, if the restraint is looped over it, require a longer restraint than if the load was mounted centrally. This means that even if the restraint is initially tight, any movement of the offset load towards the centre line of the body platform will result in a loss of tension in the restraint leaving the load insecure. If it is necessary to carry off-centre loads then it should be positively restrained by either attaching the restraints to the side of the load or by routing the restraints around the load longitudinally.
Friction:
  • Friction between the load and the platform should be regarded as a bonus and should not be taken in to account when calculating the lashing force required.
  • A slippery surface is always dangerous and the aim should be to obtain the maximum advantage from the frictional restraint by keeping both the base of the load and the platform surface as clean, dry and free from grease as possible.
Regulation 40A of the Road Traffic Act1988 introduced by the Road Traffic Act 1991: A person is guilty of an offence if he uses, or causes or permits another to use, a motor vehicle or trailer on a road when:
  1. The condition of the motor vehicle or trailer, or of its accessories or equipment, or
  2. The purpose for which it is used, or
  3. The weight, position or distribution of its load, or the manner in which it is secured, is such that the use of the motor vehicle or trailer involves a danger of injury to any person.




Find the trailer
to fit your boat

Boat Length:

Boat Weight:

It is recommended that you add 10%
to your boat's
dry weight

© 2007 Bramber Trailers Ltd | All rights reserved | Site designed and hosted by Net Digital