Speed limits for towing a caravan and trailer explained

Last updated March 03, 2023

If you are a driver, you will hopefully be aware of the various speed limits in operation on UK roads. However, you might not know that when you’re towing a caravan or a trailer, you’ll sometimes have to abide by different speed limits than the other vehicles on the road.

Therefore, if you’re fortunate enough to own one of the best cars for towing and are eager to take your caravan or trailer on the road, make sure you’re fully versed in the law before you set off.

Many towing drivers have been caught out due to a lack of awareness. To help you avoid the cost and hassle of a speeding fine, we’ve created a simple guide explaining all the speed limit variations that apply to trailers and caravans. Read on and stay on the right side of the law.

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What speed limits apply on the motorway for caravans?

According to the Highway Code, when towing a caravan on a motorway, you must not exceed 60mph. This lower maximum speed helps to ensure that cars and caravans are stable and safe.

What speed limits apply on the motorway for trailers?

Whether you are towing a small trailer containing camping equipment or a full horsebox, you must drive no faster than 60mph. Any rules regarding lanes also apply.

What speed limits apply on a dual carriageway?

The speed limit when towing a caravan or trailer on a dual carriageway is always 60mph or less. If there is a lower speed limit, this will also apply to you. For example, if the speed limit is 40mph, there is no need to drive 10mph slower than the other traffic.

What speed limits apply on a three-lane dual carriageway?

If you are driving on a motorway with three lanes or more, the speed limit for towing a trailer or caravan is the same: 60mph. However, when towing a caravan or trailer, you cannot drive in the outside lane. This rule is in place to ease the flow of traffic and make sure that the outside lane isn’t clogged with slower-moving vehicles.

When driving on a two-lane stretch of a motorway, you may use the outside lane to overtake, so long as you return to the inside lane once you are finished.

What speed limits apply on a single carriageway?

The speed limit when towing a caravan on a single carriageway is 50mph. Other drivers are permitted to travel at 60mph. This might be frustrating, however it’s crucial to stick to the speed limit for your own safety – and that of others.

If you see a queue beginning to form in your mirror whilst towing your caravan or trailer, the Highway Code states that you should pull over to allow drivers to pass you.

Driving when the limit is 50mph or less

If a lower speed limit applies to normal traffic, then this speed limit will also apply to you if you’re towing a caravan or trailer.

For example, if the signposted speed limit is 50mph or below, then the same limit will apply if you’re towing a caravan or trailer. Be sure to stick to these limits, as speed limits for towing a trailer or caravan consider factors such as increased stopping distances and reduced stability in strong winds.

Does towing weight affect speed restrictions?

Regardless of the weight of the trailer or caravan you are towing, the speed restrictions highlighted above will apply to you.

You should also bear in mind that not every car is capable of towing large weights. It’s always best to be safe; use our free towing capacity calculator to work out the maximum weight your car can safely tow. Read our guide ‘Can my car tow a caravan?’ for more detailed insights on this topic.

If you have your heart set on a caravan or trailer, but your current car lacks the necessary towing capacity, your best option may be to sell your car and put the proceeds towards a more powerful model.