Volvo Car Leasing
Towing Advice

When you hook up your caravan or trailer to your Volvo, adventure is always on the horizon. Yet of course, towing another ‘vehicle’ comes with extra responsibilities towards safety – for yourself, your passengers and other road users

To help you to enjoy miles more adventure, all year round,
here are our top towing tips for your safety.

General safety

Towing a vehicle requires a change in the style of your driving – because the extra weight and size of your combined load mean you need to increase your stopping distance to allow you to break safely. Towing will also
affect your acceleration. So the general rule is: allow extra time for everything.

Also, take extra care on corners and at junctions to avoid a) turning too narrowly and clipping the curb; b) turning too widely and swinging out dangerously.

Towing weight
There are specific rules about towing, according to vehicle size, driver’s age and other factors. 

As of 19th January 2013, new drivers can tow small trailers up to 750kg, and trailers over 750kg if the combined weight of the towing vehicle and the trailer doesn’t exceed 3,500kg (3.5 tonnes). To tow additional weight it’s necessary to pass a further test and get B+E entitlement on your licence.

If you have held your licence from prior to 1st January 1997 you can drive a combined vehicle and trailer weight of up to 8,250kg (8.25 tonnes).

If you have held a driving licence since 1st January 1997 you are permitted to drive a vehicle and trailer with a combined weight of up to 4,250kg (4.25 tonnes). Above this weight you will need to pass a category B+E driving test.

In general, to reduce the risk of load toppling, ensure that the weight of towed items is equally distributed. Find out more at

Know the speed limits
The legal UK national speed limits for towing vehicles are: 60 mph on dual carriageways and motorways; and 50 mph on single carriageways.

Fit extension mirrors
Due to your combined vehicle length, the standard wing mirrors on your car will no longer be adequate. Fit extension mirrors to make sure you have a clear view of emerging vehicles (N.B. it is illegal to use these when not towing).

Towing on motorways
Towed caravans and trailers are not permitted in the right (outside) lane of a three-plus lane carriageway. 

Plan for the unexpected
Check the weather forecast and travel news, and make sure you have a full tank. Travel in daylight where possible and avoid minor roads. Expect delays.

Be prepared
Always carry an emergency kit so you’re ready for any eventuality – and all weather conditions. We recommend: first aid kit, fire extinguisher, blankets, warm and waterproof clothes, torches with extra batteries, high visibility jacket, shovel, scraper, de-icer, warning triangle, tow rope, hand winch and tree straps, two mobile phones on different networks with both car and mains chargers, book map (in case of sat nav failure). Plus emergency food and water.

Make a Rescue Plan
Take out breakdown cover with a recovery service. And before every trip inform someone of your travel plans, together with a written copy of your route, destination, car registration, phone numbers and your estimated time of arrival.

If you get into trouble
Stay with your vehicle, if it is safe to do so, and call for help.

Winter safety

Book regular safety checks
Bring your car to Volvo for an annual winter safety check covering your battery and tyre treads, windscreen wipers, washers and anti-freeze levels. And each time you hook up your caravan or trailer, make sure the lights on both vehicles are working properly. Find out more about a Volvo winter check at

Gear up for snow
Clear windscreens, mirrors, windows, lights and roofs before you set off. Drive in the highest gear possible, slower than usual and increase your stopping distance. Avoid harsh braking and steering. Use dipped headlights in reduced visibility.

Beware of ice
Don’t trust your eyes because icy patches can be invisible. Drive slowly and if you skid, take your foot off the clutch and steer into the skid to correct it. if driving on a track between icy ridges, be careful of hidden ruts; the centre ridge may damage a vehicle’s underside.

Driving in hail
Use your headlights if visibility is poor and beware of ice – both during and after the hail storm.

Driving in fog
Fog patches move around, so expect them to come and go. Switch on fog lights, dip your headlights when visibility falls below 100 metres and be wary of tailgating. Use your brakes to slow, rather than gears, as your lights signal to others that you are slowing.

If you get into trouble
Wear a high visibility jacket so that you can be seen by other motorists. When parked, it may be better to chock the wheels, rather than use the handbrake, to avoid freezing the shoes to the drums.