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The B+E driving test

In order to gain category B + E entitlement on your licence, you’ll need to pass a practical trailer towing test in addition to your normal driving test. You are eligible to take the towing (category E) test at the age of 17 and you must first hold your car (category B) driving licence.

The towing test, based on the HGV driving test, will take around an hour and includes an off-road section where you’ll be required to demonstrate your reversing skills and a controlled stop. The on-road section will incorporate urban areas and may include a motorway section. Your eyesight will be checked and the examiner will also ask you to connect and disconnect the trailer for assessment.

Training for the test

You are permitted to practice, on the road, with a laden or unladen trailer provided you display ‘L’ plates to the front and rear of the towing vehicle and trailer and are accompanied by a person who has either passed their driving test pre-1997, or held their ‘B+E’ licence for over three years.

While many people choose to take the test without further training, for those who are less confident or feel they could do with a ‘refresher’ there are specialist instructors out there – our B + E Driver Training directory can help you find out where to train in your area.

Applying for the test

You pay the test fee of £115.00 when you book your test, so it’s important that you’re confident you are ready to take the test before making your booking.

To find your nearest DSA (Driving Standards Agency) test centre that caters for the ‘E’ test, visit  the DSA web directory or call the DSA on 0300 200 1122. Once you’ve identified your local centre, you can book and pay for your test online  or over the phone – tel. 0300 200 1122.

In order to book the test, you’ll need to following information to hand:
  • A valid GB or NI (Northern Ireland) driving licence number;
  • The length of the vehicle and trailer that you will be using;
  • A valid debit or credit card for payment;
  • Your surname and date of birth.
You can also apply by post via an application form which you may download from the DSA website or pick up from your local test centre. You will need to enclose a cheque for the full amount or provide debit or credit card details with the form.

Areas to practice

The towing trailer test is as much about making sure you are fully aware of how to operate a trailer as is testing your ability to drive while towing.

The following list highlights some of the areas you need to make sure you are able to demonstrate before taking the test: 

Before setting off:
  • Checking the trailer (wheels, tyres, windows and exterior lockers closed) before setting off.
  • Hitching & ensuring the breakaway cable is in good order.
  • Checking that the rear lights, break lights and indicators are in working order once hitched.
Behind the wheel:
  • Checking mirrors before moving off & use of handbrake.
  • General driving & road positioning  (including junctions & roundabouts).
  • Reversing.
  • Controlled stopping (from 20mph to standstill over a measured distance).
  • Maintaining speed limits.
  • Continually check mirrors (especially left hand side).

What to take to your test:

When reporting for your test, it is essential that you bring the following items with you. Failure to do so or outdated documentation may result in the DSA (Driving Standards Agency) refusing to allow you to take the test at the allotted time, and could mean you lose your test fee:
  1. A vehicle suitable for the test, displaying L plates to the front and rear, appropriately insured and licensed.
  2. The appointment letter sent to you when you booked your test.
  3. Both parts of your photo card driving license (unless you hold an old-style paper license, in which case you’ll need to take your signed drivers’ license and a valid passport).

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Last updated: 28/07/2010
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