While adding a trailer behind your van to carry additional equipment may seem a simple process, a lack of knowledge about vehicle load weights and towing laws could mean that drivers are potentially breaking the law.
Research undertaken by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles found that a worrying 53 per cent of van drivers didn’t know their vehicle’s maximum load carrying capacity, and nearly half of businesses do not monitor the weights of company vehicles on a regular basis. In 2015, the DVSA stopped over 10,800 vans on UK roads and found 89 per cent to be driving overloaded.
With trailers offering an easy and cost effective method for businesses to carry additional equipment or products, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is urging customers to ensure they know their vehicle’s towing capacity before hitching up. On a UK full car licence, anyone can drive up to 3.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). However when adding a trailer, the laws become more complicated, with restrictions on a permissible vehicle and trailer weights for those who obtained their driving licence after 1997*.
Going above these weights (without the right licence) or a tachograph being fitted can lead to large fines for businesses. Companies can also potentially face a court summons and even immobilisation of the vehicles for failing to comply.
Using the wrong vehicle for towing can also affect driving performance, for example reducing acceleration and increasing stopping distances, particularly in the wet, and can cause long term detrimental damage to the vehicle.
Part of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ ‘Working with You’ promise means Van Centre staff can help businesses select the right vehicle for their needs, ensuring vehicles are capable of towing the right weight.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles offers a range of towbar solutions, and prices have recently been reduced to ensure they are as competitive as possible. They now start from £400 for a fixed Amarok towbar with 13 pin electrics, including fitting and VAT. All Van Centre fitted towbars are of course applied by qualified staff and covered by Volkswagen’s comprehensive warranty.
Trevor Hodgson-Phillips, Head of Service and Parts at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles comments: ‘Towing can cause a serious legal minefield for businesses and damage to vehicles. We aim to help our customers by advising on the right vehicle and towbar fitment to suit their needs. Working hand-in-hand with our customers, we can ensure they have the peace-of-mind their vehicle will be equipped with the correct towbar for the job in hand.’