Steve Dulson, of Dulson Training, said it was important to raise awareness about the need for drivers to ensure they are safe and competent to tow trailers – particularly with the onset of spring and even more vehicles expected on the road.
The trailer test was abolished just over a year ago after being pushed through by the Government as a way of freeing up examiner availability so that new HGV drivers could be tested more quickly in a bid to ease the national driver shortage.
Mr Dulson said: “It is just over a year since the DVSA abolished the requirement to seek an additional test to tow a trailer behind a car. This has seen a massive increase in the number of trailers and caravans on the road due to people no longer having to test.
“Unfortunately there has also been a significant increase in the number of incidents, poor trailer quality and poor driving and towing. When you look at it affecting someone’s pride and joy, it could be a jet-ski, caravan, a horsebox carrying livestock, then it’s not just about the risk to themselves and other road users but also the sentimental value of whatever cargo they are carrying and the potential expense and upset of any damage caused.
"The Government insists training for everyone towing a trailer is still something that should be taken very seriously and, as an organisation, Dulson Training is available to deliver this training as we have done for many years.
“There are certain accreditation schemes out there now so training is delivered to a set industry standard. This includes towing the trailer, reversing, hitching, checking the trailer is loaded properly, the load is secure and checking the trailer and vehicle combination are correct together and suitable for the road - tyres, brakes and broken lights for example.
“We have two variations of the course. A full day designed for novice towers which covers everything in detail - an assessment drive, day’s training and final assessment at the end of the day. Documented certificates and reports are provided, regardless of whether the reason to tow is for leisure or professional reasons.
“We have worked with the equine sector a lot to provide the training and ensure people are aware that training is available to them for towing horseboxes. We have experts on site to deliver the courses, the dos and don’ts on keeping a horse comfortable and safe, keeping equipment in good condition, and ensuring there is no risk to the driver, horse or anyone else. Training to improve road safety.”
Recently Operations Manager Hayley Norgrove took part in a joint venture with Dulson Training and The British Horse Society, to write an article highlighting the need for better knowledge and training when people are towing their horses. And the importance of being able to manoeuvre their trailers without causing themselves stress and anxiety.
Mr Dulson said the second variation of the course lasts half a day and centres on basic safe towing, more of an overview with the opportunity to gain some valuable experience. A familiarisation course to gain a better understanding of towing with more remedial training available if needed.
“We can supply the cars, 4X4s, vans, trailers, horseboxes and caravans or people can supply their own equipment,” said Mr Dulson. “They can attend one of our test centres in Ludlow, Shrewsbury, Telford, Wrexham or Wolverhampton, or we can go to them if they feel a little uncomfortable about towing prior to receiving training.
“It’s an important time of year to raise awareness about trailer towing as it’s the busiest period for groundworkers, ground care, housing associations, people who are towing trailers with mowers and equipment and caravans. It’s also the time to check these vehicles are fit for the road as they may have been parked up for the last six months.Trailer towing training helps build confidence and enhances skills – taking the stress out of towing.”