(a) there are not that many driving schools doing it,
(b) it’s more expensive that normal car driving training (about twice as much in some places) and
places really treat the potential customer for like idiot who will
need a week of full time training before getting some sort of decent
driving (and they could assess my experience and level with a 5min chat
on the phone… and I don’t blame my accent for it)
At the end of the day I booked my training with Martin Lovell because it was convenient for me in term of location in
, but mostly because he would not force me into a standard and fixed course until I had an propoer assessment.
Martin was extremely nice and straight to the point (maybe his ex-army background). He
asked me why I wanted to get the license, what I am driving
(Discovery), what I will be towing (car transporter), my experience
(towing a light caravan many years ago) and he made me do a few
uses a standard hatchback car with a twin axle box trailer. This
combination is right on the spot for the test requirement and can cater
for most of his customer’s needs. Martin
does a lot of work for commercial companies that requires trailers
(like catering units for example), but also private lessons (families
Based on the initial assessment, he decided that a long half day training would be sufficient.
training provided was tailored to get me through the test; theory
questions, specific reversing, manoeuvre, emergency stop,
coupling/uncoupling and real life driving.
theory questions and answers can be learned and revised at home. You
can find the link to the documents at the end of the article.
‘S’ shape reversing is not hard to manage as long as you take it
slowly. Martin gave me some tips on how much to turn the steering
wheels in order to get the ideal angle at different point of the
exercise, how to use the mirrors, etc
emergency stop is done by reaching the 20mph mark and stopping as
quickly as possible without locking the car wheels (not very hard with
an ABS-fitted vehicle)
coupling and uncoupling exercise is a matter of learning the right
sequence of events, and making sure to demonstrate that everything you
do is safe.
real life driving was actually harder than expected, not because of the
trailer, but because I passed my driving test about 18 years ago. In
that time, anyone can pick up some bad habits. That was maybe the most
useful part of the whole training. It was the best reminder course on
how to drive on the road, respect ALL regulations and do things the
After a few hours training, Martin declared that I was ready to pass the exam.
The B+E Test
The test is booked online on the DSA web site and was done at the
centre. There are test centres all over the UK.
met Martin a couple of hours before the exam, and had a couple of
practices before we drove off to the test centre. We used that time to
have a look round the area.
filling up the paperwork the test started with the theory questions,
including how to check the coolant level of the vehicle.
We forgot to open the bonnet with Martin beforehand and it took me some
embarrassing couple of minutes to locate the header tank that was
hidden behind the front grill. (reminder: look at the engine bay before
to go to the test....)
it was time for the reversing exercise. You start from a box area, and
have to do a ‘S’ line reverse into another box area just big enough for
your car and trailer. You must stop within a couple of feet from the
“end of the box” board. Touch the board and you can go home.
we were off for the hour drive. In a nutshell, I spent my time turning
my head to check the mirrors, using my indicators, checking my speed,
etc…. During that time the examiner marks you against any mistakes.
We came back and did the uncoupling/coupling exercise which went well.
I got 9 minor errors (apparently I drove twice at 32mph in town, once I
did not look enough in the mirror when pulling out at a traffic light
–there could have been a cyclist-, and once I was a bit too
“aggressive” when pulling out of a parking space…. The rest I don’t
Nine minor errors are not a failure (you need 18), so I passed my test and Marting was happy with the result.
you need to tow a large trailer or caravan, make sure you are allowed
to do so under your licence. With vehicle becoming bigger and bigger,
the weight limit is quickly reached.
But, even if you do not need to pass a new license, do you believe you know enough how to drive with a trailer?
if it’s just for a couple hours refresher, a trailer driving course is
highly recommended for your safety and the safety of the other road