Whether it’s towing a boat on a bank holiday or a trailer for a track car, more than 18 million* extra drivers in the UK can now legally tow without any additional training thanks to a recent rule change. However, Škoda UK research has found that 83% of drivers who had not towed before would not be confident to do so for the first time, with 65% claiming reverse parking was their biggest worry.
The law changed in December 2021, where fully qualified drivers will no longer need to undergo further training in order to tow a caravan up to 3,500 kg MAM (the "Maximum Authorised Mass"). This rule needed an additional licence and has been in force since 1997. However, just 14% of respondents were aware of the new regulations despite their implementation.
More over half (55%) of drivers who had experience pulling a caravan reported that reverse parking was the largest challenge, and 50% said that general reversing actions were problematic. Several of these drivers acknowledged running into objects while towing, including a gate post and a building corner.
The most common item towed by drivers was a caravan, with more than half of those that had towed having done so, followed by a trailer for equipment such as boats and jet skis, and then hauling a trailer tent with their vehicle.
Amid the change in law on towing, drivers can still face fines of up to £2,500 if the correct tow bar is not used. All towbars must meet EU regulations and be designed specifically for the vehicle. Meanwhile, extended mirrors should be fitted for an unrestricted view of the road to avoid an additional £1,000 fine.
Škoda UK has a strong history of catering to the needs of UK drivers towing trailers and caravans. A tow bar is available as on option on each model in the Škoda UK line-up, from smaller cars such as the Fabia, Scala and Kamiq, to larger vehicles like the Superb, Octavia, Karoq and Kodiaq, plus the all-electric Enyaq iV and Enyaq Coupé iV.
At the 2023 Caravan & Motorhome Club Towcar of the Year Awards, the koda Karoq was named Towcar of the Year. At the What Car? Tow Car Awards 2022, the Karoq and Scala both won top accolades. In the 1,550–1,699 kg weight range, the Karoq won, while the Scala won in the sub-1,400 kilogramme range.
With optional Trailer Assist and an electrically folding tow bar, the Koda Kodiaq L&K offers extra technology to make towing even easier. When backing up, it can manoeuvre a caravan or caravan autonomously to a predetermined location while simultaneously showing the driver a clear area view on the central touchscreen of the automobile.
The Kodiaq has a maximum towing weight of between 1,800 kg and 2,300 kg (depending on trim and specification) on gradients up to 8%. As well as Trailer Assist, other key assistance features on the Kodiaq can help drivers to tow safely and confidently. Blind Spot Detect uses sensors to monitor the area around the car, allowing it to detect other vehicles up to a distance of 20m for safe manoeuvring.