Just as when you drive a fully loaded car on holiday, the extra weight of a caravan or trailer means that you need to adapt your driving. Handling, braking distances and safety distances from other vehicles, towing a caravan or trailer on the motorway changes many parameters. Here is everything you need to know to be safe and in order!
Driving with a caravan or trailer: some specific rules
If you are towing a caravan or trailer on the motorway, there are a few extra rules you will need to follow:
- It is forbidden to carry people in your caravan on the road, all passengers must be in the vehicle.
- If the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of your caravan exceeds exceeds 500 kg, you must obtain a registration certificate for your caravan and take it with you on the road. If it does not exceed 500 kg then the registration certificate is the same as that for your vehicle.
- On the motorway, with a caravan or trailer, you drive in the right-hand lane! If there are three lanes, you are allowed to overtake in the the middle lane.
- Your number plate must be visible: if it is the same as your vehicle the same number plate as your vehicle, you must still place a second plate at the rear of your caravan or trailer.
Speed limits for driving a caravan
In accordance with Article R413-8 of the Highway Code, all vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 3.5 tonnes must adapt their speed:
- On motorways and dual carriageways separated by a central reservation (except in case of bad weather: 90km/h
These specific speed limits for heavier vehicles serve to compensate for longer braking distances, observe them for your safety and other drivers.
Safety: our advice before hitting the road
As the majority of caravan and trailer owners use them sometimes throughout the year, it is important to check a few things before you hit the road. Here are some tips to follow before you hit the road to ensure you can drive your caravan or trailer safely:
- Make sure your caravan or trailer tyres are sufficiently inflated.
- Check that your vehicle has sufficient clearance for the weight of your caravan or what you are carrying in your trailer.
- Check the condition of the lights on your hitch
- Remember to close your gas bottles if you have any in your caravan and to store or tie up any object that could be thrown around in case of braking.
Safety: our advice on the road
It is essential to adapt your driving and speed when driving with a caravan or trailer. Here are some tips for your safety on the road:
- If you are overtaken by a heavy vehicle, remember to move slightly to the right to avoid being sucked in.
- Add approximately 50 % to the safe distances indicated for a single vehicle
- Use your engine brake when going downhill
Tolls: how much to charge for transporting a caravan or trailer?
If your vehicle is towing a trailer and its GVW is less than 3.5 tons, you remain in class 1 at the toll with the tariffs corresponding to light vehicles.
Vehicles towing a caravan or trailer with a GVW exceeding 3.5 tonnes are classified as category 2 (intermediate vehicles).
Read more: vehicle classes at the toll