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Trailer and Tow Vehicle Forum

Trailer brakes and the law

by Ianfs » 18 May 2018, 13:11

None of this is aimed at any of our members because as far as I am aware from the discussions we've had on here we all conform to best practice safety when towing our boats.
However over the years there have been many discussions from new boat owners and on different forums about trailer brakes and braking systems and what is legal once the magic 750kg is reached, so I wanted to clear up some detail for anyone looking in .

I've read some horrific thoughts on the matter and it scares me to think that there are some boat owners out there who are towing a ton of boat with a braking system which is either not fully functional or which doesn't work. Not only that but there are those who don't check vehicle towing weights and are well over the capabilities of the tow vehicle..

I can't remember where I read this but about 2 yrs ago a guy oop north who towed with one of those big american trucks thought it fine to tow a 3 Tonne boat and trailer around without any brakes. Now to be fair, this truck had brakes that could stop a Saturn 5 rocket, but clearly not within the same distance if it were not towing. Indeed I'm sure he was a careful driver and therefore because he had the extra load he took this into account in order to brake earlier than normal, however, I would say this would not be possible in an emergency braking situation.

The crux of the matter though is that it is illegal to tow a boat, caravan or any trailer which requires overrun brakes to be fitted (if the trailer is over 750kg when loaded), which do not operate correctly. It is not sufficient to say they are fitted because thats what the law says, well the law does say that, but it also says they must be in good working order.

I thought it useful to provide this link for anyone who wants to ask the question.

GOV.UK - Towing with a car

And also for those who have American Trailers, there is some useful information here too.

american-caravan-and-trailer-brakes-coupling.pdf
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Ianfs
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