Popular: Skoda Ireland says 22 per cent of its new cars in 2015 were ordered with factory-fitted towing systems Its common on Irish roads to see a car towing a trailer while clipping along at the 120km/h speed limit despite the fact that the legal speed limit for towing a trailer is just 80km/h. Speed is just one of the regulations concerning trailer use that are frequently flaunted. The laws and licensing for trailer use are complicated and at times confusing. The reality is that many drivers are towing trailers without the proper licence despite the risk of incurring penalty points and potentially voiding their insurance cover. With trailer use weight is the key. What can I tow on my car licence? On a standard B car licence you can tow a trailer that has a maximum authorised mass (Mam) of 750kg; this includes the weight of both the trailer and its load. (A trailers technical specifications are stamped on a metal plate attached to it.) You can also tow a trailer and load weighing more than 750kg as long as the combined weight of the vehicle and loaded trailer does not exceed 3500kg. A type 01 unbraked trailer does not need a braking mechanism. This trailer is likely to be small when it is empty you could manhandle it with little effort with usually just one axle. Can I tow a horsebox on a car licence? According to the Road Safety Authority As a general rule a category B licence does not entitle the holder to tow a horsebox or a livestock trailer because the combined Mam would exceed 3500kg. But this is not always the case. Again as long as the total weight of the car trailer and load carried does not exceed 3500kg you can drive it on a B licence. For example a Skoda Octavia family estate towing a type 02 trailer one with a Mam of more than 750kg with two bulls weighs in at 3085kg combined but the same trailer and livestock towed by a Toyota Land Cruiser SUV weighs in at 4440kg well over the 3500kg B-licence limit. Drivers of large SUVs on a B licence need to take care as their heavier vehicles can often push the total weight above the 3500kg limit then requiring a category BE (car and trailer) licence. This seems inherently silly as a large SUV would generally have more power than a car to make towing easier but thats the way the rules apply. Of course before you attach a hitch to a Ford Ka its worth noting the towing vehicle must be certified to tow the weight of the trailer and load. What if the vehicle trailer and load together weigh more than 3500kg and I dont have a BE licence? To gain a category BE on your car licence you must have a full B licence. You are required to get a learner permit and take a practical driving test. You must sit a theory test in category BW (if you havent already to get your B licence) to gain a learner permit. You must display an L-plate on the trailer and when practising with it must be accompanied by a driver with a full BE licence. Lessons are not mandatory for a BE test but the RSA recommends them. During the test drivers are given the option of reversing to their left or right around a corner. Can I use any trailer for my BE test? No it must be a permanent boxed trailer such as a horsebox at least as wide and as high as the vehicle towing it and at least 2.4 metres long. The trailer must be presented with 30 four-inch cement blocks as a load. What does a BE licence allow me to tow? With BE the trailer and load can weigh up to 3500kg and your vehicle can weigh up to the same maximum of 3.5 tonnes bringing the combined weight to 7000kg. A BE-licence holder can tow a car whereas a B-licence holder cannot. Can I buy a new trailer from anyone? Since late October 2012 the days of buying a trailer built by a local lad who is good with his hands are gone. All new trailers for sale must have European Community whole vehicle type approval. The National Standards Authority of Ireland is responsible for testing and issuing national approvals for trailers made in Ireland. The law is unclear on older trailers and their use but ultimately the driver is responsible for the safety of his or her trailer and load. An example of the scale of the towing market in Ireland is evident by orders for cars fitted with hitches. Skoda Ireland says that last year 22 per cent of the new cars it sold were ordered with factory-fitted towing systems. The benefit of a factory-fitted system is that its equipped with compatible electrics connections while the cars stability control and other driving aids automatically adapt to having a trailer attached. The cars alarm also recognises that a trailer is attached and monitors it; light bulbs in the trailer are monitored too; stop/start is switched off; and the ABS adjusts for the trailer. Factory tow hitches arent cheap but are worth it. Skodas start at 499 and rise to 899. We were invited to put our towing skills to the test at a novel event. We had a Skoda Octavia Combi (from 32710) to which we hitched a general-purpose twin-axle trailer. The first challenge was to collect and load a round bale of straw and then drive on a mix of roads. Securing the load in this case with ratchet straps is the responsibility of the driver. It is an offence to have an unsecured load. The motorway section of the route was incredibly dull as we stuck to the 80km/h car-and-trailer speed limit. At times we felt a little anxious as cars and buses would appear rapidly behind us and then overtake. Our trailer was braked so it had internal brakes that were applied whenever the car slowed down. The trailer was new so it didnt tug or jerk at all something older or poorly serviced trailers can do. At the end of the trip a car park was coned out and a number of reversing tasks were set for us by John Kearney an instructor with Hynes Quinn driving school. Professional training can make the difference between passing and failing your test. More often than not people tend to oversteer; with professional training you can get the best advice to get the trailer going where you want it to go he said. We managed quite well but reversing with a trailer is a skill you really only master with practice. Reversing a trailer is counterintuitive but once you get a feel for it your confidence grows. With a growing number of cars fitted with hitches taking to our roads its a skill that more motorists should formally learn rather than hope to pick up along the way. Read more:http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/motors/ireland-s-confusing-towing-rules-explained-1.2633473 Contact us if you need a tow truck Irelands confusing towing rules explained See more on: Apex Towing - Dublin Blog via Website Feeds http://dublin.apextowing.ie/irelands-confusing-towing-rules-explained/