Independent ADI PDI Driving Instructor - Essex, Braintree, Colchester, Chelmsford, Witham and Basildon.

Car Trailer Training provide tutition for Caravan, Horsebox, One Ton, B+E or B+ E DSA approved

Cat B+E Test Explained


A course with Byiast Driving Academy should enable a qualified Cat B driver to raise their standard of driving so that they become sufficiently competent to pass the DSA Cat B+E Driving Test.


The driver should be able to demonstrate that they can consistently drive skillfully, safely and competently at all times.

The driver should be able to demonstrate that they know the principles of good driving and road safety, and then apply them in practice to the following subjects as a basis for the test:

-        Expert handling of controls.

-        Use of correct road procedure.

-        Anticipation of the actions of other road users and taking appropriate action.

-        Sound judgment of speed, distance, timing and general road positioning.

-        Consideration for the convenience and safety of other road users.

-        Safety precautions on entering the vehicle and expert use of the controls.

-        Move away straight ahead or at an angle and making normal stops.

-        Approaching and turning right hand and left hand corners.

-        Dealing with road junctions.

-        Dealing with crossroads.

-        Meeting, crossing the path of, overtaking other vehicles, allowing adequate clearance for other road users and anticipation.

-        Dealing with pedestrian crossings.  Giving appropriate signals in a clear and unmistakable manner. 

Preparing for Cat B+E test

You may be uninsured if you do not abide by the licensing regulations, even if you are insured to drive the vehicle without a trailer.

Anyone allowing or asking someone to commit these offences can also be prosecuted.

Most vehicle insurance companies give at least third party cover for the trailer when towing, but may not pay for repairs to the trailer.

You should only get training from fully registered DSA Driving Instructors, there are many amature groups out there who think they can teach but are only just amatures who might not be good enough to pass the stringent tests set by the DSA, if you pay anything for your training the Instructor must be DSA registered or they are breaking the law.  If they are Observers, thats exactly what you get, someone to sit next to you who observes, get a fully qualified DSA Instructor who is a profesional at teaching.

The test

The test takes place at the same test centres for drivers of lorries and busses.  The test is longer than a Cat B; about 90 min, (the on road part 60 min,) and has a higher fee.

Practical test type

Weekday price

Weekday evening and weekend price

Cat B+E

Vehicle and trailer



(correct at 2010)



(correct at 2010)

You can take your test in either a manual or an automatic towing vehicle, however; taking the Cat B+E test in an automatic means you will only be allowed to tow trailers in an automatic vehicle, even if your ordinary Cat B licence covers you for manuals. If you pass your test in a manual you can also tow with an automatic.

The minimum test vehicle standards for a Cat B car test also apply to a vehicle and trailer test, with additional requirements for the trailer. 

Vehicles that do not meet the minimum test vehicle standards are not suitable for the purpose of taking a test, and your test may be cancelled with the loss of fee.

Cat B+E is the Driving Standards Agency test for vehicle and trailer. You will be expected to show a good degree of skill in the use of all controls.

Cat B towing vehicle

Vehicles presented for test must be:

-        A four wheeled vehicle of no more than 3,500kg MAM.

-        Capable of a speed of at least 62.5 mph (100 km/h).

-        Legally road worthy, insured, display a valid tax disc, and if it is over three years old must have a valid MoT certificate.

Be fitted with:

-        A seatbelt for the examiner.

-        A No Smoking sign or sticker visible in the vehicle.

-        A passenger head restraint, this need not be adjustable but must be fitted as an integral part of the seat. Slip on type head restraint is not permissible.

-        L-plates displayed on the front of the vehicle and at the rear of the trailer, but not interfering with the driver or examiner's view.

-        An audible or visual warning device to confirm that the trailer indicator lights are operating.

-        Have a speedometer that measures speed in miles per hour and kilometers per hour.

-        Have no warning lights showing i.e. the airbag warning light.

-        Have the same number plate as the trailer.

-        Externally mounted, nearside and offside mirrors must be fitted for use by the examiner or any person supervising the test.

Some convertible vehicles are NOT suitable for test.

Dimensions must be provided at the time of booking.

When walking to and from the maneuvering area at the test centre you have to wear a High Visibility jacket.

It is important that the vehicles cab is cleaned inside so the examiner does not get dirty. If necessary place a sheet or cover over the seating. If the vehicle is too dirty the examiner may cancel the test at your expense.

Cat B + E (Vehicle and trailer test)

Vehicles presented for test must be a Cat B vehicle, towing a suitably braked, unladen trailer of at least 1,000kg MAM. The examiner may ask for evidence of the trailer MAM, e.g. manufacturers? plate. All vehicle combinations must operate on appropriate brakes and utilise a coupling arrangement suitable for the weight.

A combination used for Cat B+E on or after the 1 October 2003 the following additional standards will apply:

Cargo compartment


-        The cargo compartment of the trailer must consist of a closed box body which is at least as wide and as high as the towing vehicle; the closed box body may also be slightly less wide than the towing vehicle provided that the view to the rear is only possible by use of the external rear-view mirrors of the towing vehicle.

Combination Requirements

There have been some changes to the type of trailer that can be used on test:

Before October 2003

If you are using a towing vehicle that was registered before October 2003 then you can use any trailer that is plated at 1,000kg gross weight or over. (NB: This is the plated gross weight, which is the weight of the trailer and the load combined). The trailer can be any dimension within the rules of construction and use regulations and any type; which includes boat trailers, horse boxes, flatbeds etc.

After October 2003

Towing vehicles registered after October 2003 must only use trailers that are plated at 1,000kg gross weight or over and be constructed so that the driver cannot see through or over the top, i.e. Horseboxes, Van trailers, Tilt-cover trailers etc. This is so only the side mirrors can be used for the reversing exercise.

Pre-Test check list, the vehicle and trailer must be:

-        Displaying L-plates to the front of the vehicle and the rear of the trailer.

-        Accompanied by a person who is at least 21 years old and holds a full driving licence for Cat B+E, they must have held this for at least 3 years.  (not to be confused with Grandfather Rights)

?        Fitted with externally mounted, nearside and offside mirrors for use by any person supervising the training.

-        Fitted with an audible or visual device to indicate correct operation of the trailer indicators.

-        The combination must be legally roadworthy.

-        Trailer must show 2 white side lights to the front.

-        The same rear lights as a car, except for reversing lights.

-        Two triangular red reflectors.

-        Vehicle and trailer tyres for wear and pressures.

-        Coolant, windscreen wash, oil and brake fluid.

-        Enough fuel for the journey.

-        Matching number plates. (It is an offence to allow the number plate to be obscured. This is now a fixed penalty offence, and therefore more likely to be policed.)

-        Lubricate the tow ball.

-        Trailer ramps secured and fastened.

-        Jockey wheel correctly stowed.

-        The breakaway cable and electrical plug properly connected.

-        Check the vehicle and trailer lights.

-        Trailer handbrake off.

-        Proof of trailers weight.

-        Keys and locking handles for security devices.

-        Wheel brace and jack for trailer.

All vehicle combinations must operate on appropriate brakes and utilise a coupling arrangement suitable for the weight.

An emergency breakaway cable must be fitted to the parking brake linkage and the other end clipped or fixed round some fixture on the towing vehicle so that, in the event of the trailer becoming detached from the towing vehicle, the cable will apply the parking brake automatically, before snapping itself. It is not recommended to loop the cable round the towball. (But do so if there is no alternative attachment point.) It is a separate offence not to use the breakaway cable provided.


It is your responsibility as the driver to know whether your vehicle/trailer combination needs a tachograph.

This is an important issue and one in which the police are taking a keen interest. Drivers who legitimately do not have a tachograph should carry a copy of this information if they think the police might possibly expect them to have one in their cab.

Ask yourself the following questions:

-        Is the vehicle used for hire or reward or for the commercial carriage of goods?

-        Is the maximum permissible weight more than 3,500kg?

-        Does the trailer consist only of plant or fixed equipment?

-        Is the trailer only used for carrying equipment for the drivers own use?

In the view of VOSA a tachograph would not be required.

As a result of a recent appeal court case, it might well be that the vehicle and trailer would have to be taken to a weighbridge and weighed at over 3,500kg before prosecution could proceed.

If either the gross plated weight or the train weight of your vehicle is over 3,500kg you need to consider your position very carefully. The DETR and the NTTA stress that their comments are for advice only and that it is for the courts to interpret the law.

At the Test Centre

Make sure you have your full driving licence and counterpart with you and that it is correctly signed. The examiner cannot conduct your test if you cannot produce the correct documentation, your test will be cancelled and you will lose your fee.

The test consists of two parts;

Part one (manoeuvres)

The examiner will ask you to read and sign a DL 25 form saying you have suitable insurance and will ask to see both parts of your driving licence. Eyesight test, this is the normal eye test requirement to read a registration plate at a distance of 20.5 metres.

The examiner will ask you, 'show me tell me', questions on maintenance and safety issues.

The manoeuvers are carried out at the test center, consisting of a reversing manoeuvre into a bay and a braking exercise.

Part two (the drive)

Part two is a 60 minute drive to the same standard as the Cat B car test.

The un-coupling and re-coupling exercise is done after returning to the test center at the end of the on road part of the test.

Part One explained

The examiner will meet you in the reception waiting room and ask to see both parts of your driving licence, and will ask you to read and sign the DL 25.

Taking the examiner to the combination

You will proceed to your combination where you will be asked the 'Show me Tell me' questions.

The reversing exercise

The examiner will show you a diagram, and brief you on what is required for the exercise and confirm that you fully understand his instructions. 

Before starting the vehicle engine; check that the seat and mirrors are correctly adjusted, the handbrake is on and the gear lever or selector is in neutral. If your vehicle has vacuum or air-pressure brakes make sure that the appropriate instrument indicates a safe working limit.

You should also be aware of the location of the emergency fuel cut off switch if fitted.

The examiner will remain outside of the vehicle during the reversing exercise.

The length of the bay will be based on the length of the combination, and in proportion to the length and a width of the combination, which was given when booking the test. This can be varied at the discretion of the examiner within the range of 1 metre over and 2 metres under that length, you will not be informed of the change.

If, on the day of the test you turn up with a different size combination, inform the test center and tell the examiner as soon as possible.

The exercise is started from a position with the front of the vehicle in line with 2 cones. All the cones you drive through are 1.5 times the width of the widest part of the combination, excluding the mirrors, and the overall length of the manoeuvre is 5 times the length of the combination. You should reverse your trailer into the bay, keeping a marker on the offside.

You should stop with the extreme rear of your trailer within the 90 cm 'stopping area' at the end of the bay, (marked yellow).

To demonstrate your control during the reversing manoeuver, you should proceed at a controlled speed but not excessively slowly.

You may stop and review your vehicle position by applying the handbrake, turn the engine off and step out of the vehicle.

You will be expected to observe all around the vehicle as if looking for pedestrians, the examiner will be checking to see that both mirrors are being used correctly.

You must keep the combination under control and take good observation with reasonable accuracy.

You can draw forward to straighten your trailer (shunt) but no further than the front of your pre-marked area. You are allowed 2 shunts during the exercise. Aim for smooth accurate steering. You must keep within the marked areas.

If you are not sure that you are within the marked area, you can get out and check; apply the handbrake, turn the engine off, do not make eye contact with the examiner or he might think you have finished, if you need to adjust your position, return to the cab and continue the manoeuver.  You are allowed to get out and check your position once.


-        You can cross your hands during the reversing exercise but not when driving normally.

-        Don't allow the trailer to get into a jacknife or near jacknife position as this is regarded as out of control.

-        It is important that no marker, boundary or cone is knocked down or moved, as this is a major fault on the test.

The braking

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Car Trailer Training Specialist in trailer towing training. Courses currently running in Chelmsford, Dunmow, Bishops Stortford, Ipswich, Brentwood and expanding with new instructors into the Suffolk and Cambridge area. All trainers are fully qualified DSA (Driving Standards Agency) Approved Driving Instructors specifically trained by me to give you the best possible service and training you deserve. Training areas near the Chelmsford, Ipswich and Norwich test centres, we are able to provide training in preparation for the B+E test for most of East Anglia, covering Essex, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk..

car trailer training are based in Braintree. We work throughout the county in the areas of Essex, Witham, Maldon, Colchester, Chelmsford, Dunmow, Halstead, Sible Headingham, Brentwood, Basildon, Southend, Clacton, Ipswich, Sudbury, Harlow, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Northampton and Cambridge. For more information please contact us

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Our trailer training services include: Cat B+E Trailer and Caravan, One Ton and Horsebox Towing Training.

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