National Trailer & Towing Association
Promoting Safe and Legal Towing

Tow the line!

Following the tragic death of three year-old Freddie Hussey, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is launching a new campaign highlighting the importance of trailer safety.


NTTA are extremely proud to be associated with this campaign

Checks before you tow

Tow ball and connections

Check that:

  • the trailer is correctly coupled to the towball or pin - follow the manufacturer’s advice
  • the coupling height is correct
  • the 7 or 13 core cable and plug isn’t damaged

Breakaway cable

Use a breakaway cable or secondary coupling. This engages the trailer’s brakes (if fitted) or stops the trailer if it becomes detached from the car.

Check that:

  • the cable isn’t worn or damaged
  • there’s enough slack in the cable so that it doesn’t accidentally apply the brakes
  • the cable won’t drag on the ground when you’re driving

Follow the manufacturer’s advice to make sure it’s connected correctly.

Wheels and tyres

Check that the tyres on both the car and trailer:

  • don’t have any cuts or bulges
  • are inflated to the manufacturer’s specification for the load being carried

Check that each tyre has a tread depth of at least 1.6mm:

  • across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tread
  • around the entire circumference of the tyre

Check that the wheel nuts and bolts are tightened to the correct torque.

Check that mudguards are fitted to the trailer and they’re secure.

Lights and indicators

Check that there’s no damage to the lights, and that they’re all working correctly.

Load and weight limit

Check that:

  • the trailer isn’t overloaded
  • the load is distributed evenly
  • the load is secure

Trailer with no braking system

The loaded trailer:

  • must not weigh over 750kg
  • should not weigh more than 50% of your car’s unladen weight
  • If built after 1st January 1997, non-braked trailers must be fitted with a secondary coupling to provide some residual steering in the case of a detachment and prevent the drawbar from contacting the ground

Trailer with braking system

The car and loaded trailer must not weigh over the second weight shown on the car manufacturer’s plates.

When you’re driving

You must not drive faster than the speed limit for the type of road.

If the trailer starts to snake or swerve, ease off the accelerator and reduce your speed gently. It’s a sign that either:

  • you’re going too fast
  • the trailer is loaded incorrectly

Don’t brake harshly on a bend, as it makes the trailer unstable. Reduce your speed in plenty of time when approaching any hazard.


You must not drive in the right-hand lane of a motorway with 3 or more lanes.