The driving license B96

19. Juli 2022 um 11:47

Driving license B96If you want to be on the road with a heavy trailer, a class B driving license is not enough. With this driver’s license, trailers are only allowed up to a permissible total mass of 750 kg. Driving a heavier trailer requires a BE driving license or a B96 driving license if, for example, you are traveling with a horse trailer or caravan.

An extension for your class B driver’s license

The B96 driving license is an extension for the class B driving license and allows you to tow heavy trailers. Since B96 is not a separate driver’s license, only theoretical and practical lessons in the driving school are required. There is no test for the B96 in Germany like there is for a class BE driving licence. The B96 extension will be noted on your driver’s license with the key number 96 after you have completed the theoretical and practical part. The extension is valid throughout the EU.

These are your options with the B96 extension

For all those who want to pull more than the class B driving license allows, the B96 extension offers more leeway. You can use it with a total mass of up to 4250 kg. It is important, however, that the total mass is decisive, i.e. the combination of towing vehicle and trailer. So if your towing vehicle weighs two tons, your trailer can still weigh 2250 kg for your journey. If this is not enough for your trailer, you would have to think about a class BE driver’s license, so the trailer alone can weigh 3500 kg as the permissible total weight.

The advantages of the extension B96

If you are thinking about whether you need the B96 extension, then the advantages are probably also important to you. Since no exam has to be taken, the extension can be obtained faster than, for example, the driving license class BE. Also, the costs are lower due to the short duration and fewer hours in the driving school. In addition, the B96 extension offers you more options for towing a trailer than your class B driver’s license.

Find out more about the different driving licenses in our blog post.

Important traffic signs when towing a trailer (Part 3)

16. April 2022 um 9:57

Traffic signsIn the last two posts on the topic of traffic signs for towing a trailer, we have already introduced you to a few very important road signs and traffic signs that you should definitely pay attention to when towing a trailer. There are a handful of other traffic signs that we don’t want to leave out.

Traffic signs for vehicle combinations

Although the following traffic signs are relevant for towing a trailer, they only apply if the combination weighs more than 3.5 tons and the towing vehicle is neither a bus nor a car. So let’s assume that you mostly travel with a car and trailer, then these traffic signs are only important for you if your vehicle combination is particularly heavy. Again and again, drivers are unclear as to whether the following signs are relevant to them or not. In the following we summarize the most important information about the traffic signs for vehicle combinations.

The prohibition sign for trucks

The round prohibition sign shows a truck and states that a general driving ban applies to all motor vehicles with a permissible total weight of more than 3.5 tons. The sign also applies to trailers and their towing vehicles. The only exceptions are cars and buses. So if your motor vehicle is heavier, you will not be allowed to drive through after this sign.

Prohibition sign for heavy vehicles

Based on the actual mass of a motor vehicle, this round prohibition sign indicates how heavy a
vehicle may be in order to continue driving on the affected road. However, the plate refers to the actual mass (what the vehicle actually weighs), not the gross vehicle weight rating (what the vehicle is allowed to weigh). If you are traveling with a vehicle combination, for example with a trailer, then the weight of the individual vehicles is relevant, not the weight of  the combination.

The length of your vehicle on traffic signs

Traffic signsThe last traffic sign with a red frame is about the length of your vehicle. Pictured is a truck as well
an indication of its length. The sign states that you would need to consider the actual length of the entire vehicle combination. If your team is longer than indicated on the sign, then you are not allowed to drive into the street. If you continue to drive, it may for example be the case that you will not be able to turn around in an emergency or that curves are too narrow for you. As with the other signs, a fine will be imposed for disregarding the sign.

Important traffic signs when towing a trailer (Part 2)

19. März 2022 um 14:42

Traffic signsIn our second part on the subject of traffic signs, we have also put together important traffic signs that you should definitely observe when driving with the trailer in Germany. Of course, this does not mean that you can ignore other traffic signs, but the signs listed below deserve the special attention of trailer drivers and will help you to avoid dangerous situations with the trailer at an early stage.

Narrow lane when towing a trailer

As the driver of a trailer, you must keep an eye on the traffic sign for narrow lanes, especially if your trailer is wider than your towing vehicle. In this case, drive a little more carefully into the bottlenecks or danger spots, drive slowly and use your side mirrors.

In this case, caravan owners should pay particular attention to their trailer and trailer: additional side mirrors are helpful and advisable for towing a caravan, but you should always bear in mind that these change the width of the vehicle.

The traffic sign indicating traffic jam

In the event of a traffic jam, the driver of a trailer has to be particularly careful. Traffic jams harbor some pitfalls, the road narrows due to the emergency lane that is to be formed, and other road users who are not paying attention can lead to situations in which you have to react quickly. Therefore, always drive with foresight and keep calm when you are traveling with a trailer.

You also have to be particularly careful when congestion forms, as it is often necessary to brake harder for a short time. There are many factors that come together that are important to you: Your load should be well secured, you should always be vigilant and attentive in order to be able to recognize traffic jams and braking maneuvers early and to be able to react calmly but purposefully.

Special cases of traffic signs for trailer rides

There are three important road signs that specifically address the team. The first is the danger sign for caravans on inclines. Shown is a team with caravan, provided with the signature „Danger of skidding“. The sign warns of the danger of cross winds on downhill stretches on motorways. It is intended to draw your attention to possible changes in driving behavior.

A single caravan on a white background indicates parking spaces where a caravan may be parked for more than 14 days. Unhitched caravans can usually only be parked for two weeks, after which the parking lot must also be accessible to other road users – at least for a short time. Be sure to comply with this. In the event of a possible check, it is not sufficient to claim that the trailer has been moved, since the tire levels are usually noted and movement of the caravan must be clearly recognizable.

A white sign showing a car with a trailer tells you that the rules of the other signs only apply to teams. The additional sign always refers to the traffic sign that is attached directly above the additional sign.traffic signs

Important traffic signs when towing a trailer (Part 1)

16. Februar 2022 um 14:24

Traffic signsTraffic signs are essential in road traffic, they regulate traffic, remind people of rules and indicate dangerous spots to road users. You have certainly learned something about all traffic signs in the driving school, we have put together the most important traffic signs for you that you should always keep an eye on when driving with the trailer in Germany. However, please always pay attention to all traffic signs and be alert in traffic – regardless of whether you have a trailer or not.

The trailer ride on slopes and inclines

The two signs indicate whether there is a downhill or an uphill gradient on a road and how large these are. Both are important when driving with a trailer because of the additional weight of the trailer. It can affect the driving behavior and change it from is usual ways – especially when going up or down steep hills. When driving uphill, for example, it is important to drive with foresight and keep an eye on the engine performance. When driving downhill you have to consider that the braking distance changes, accordingly, you must brake earlier and also keep the engine brake in mind as an additional way to brake. In our blog post we have put together more information about towing a trailer on uphill and downhill gradients.

Uneven roadways and their consequences

The traffic sign for uneven roads is important for you as a driver, because bumps in the road can cause the load to behave differently than usual. The load could come loose or start moving. In both cases, this also influences the handling of the vehicle combination. This is just one of the reasons why it is very important to always secure your cargo well. You can read about how best to do this in our blog post on load securing.

Slippery roads when towing a trailer

Even when driving without a trailer, slippery roads are a risk that drivers should always keep an eye on since it may be required https://www.how-to-towbar.com/2018/safe-loading-for-the-drive-with-trailer/to adjust the driving style accordingly. When a trailer starts to slide, it can have very different effects. If the trailer simply slides forward, you as the driver must ensure that you also use the engine brake when braking. The reason is that your car will also slide more, since the weight of the trailer exerts additional force on the vehicle from behind. If the trailer shears out and slides sideways, dangerous situations can quickly arise. It is important for you to remain as calm as possible and to avoid hectic braking and steering maneuvers in any case.

The traffic sign for cross wind when driving a car

This traffic sign is similar to slippery roads: if side winds act on your trailer, it can also happen that you start to sway and the trailer  cannot be steered as usual. Above a certain size, the trailers offer a lot of contact surface for the wind and can be pushed away quickly, especially when they are not loaded. In cross winds, always drive slowly and carefully.

Park and uncouple the trailer: Pay attention to these points

12. Juli 2021 um 16:02

Parking the trailerAfter your trailer ride, your trailer must be safely “stowed away” again. We have put together a few tips for you on parking, uncoupling and securing the trailer, which you should pay attention to when parking the trailer.

This is how you park your trailer

Reversing with a trailer can be a bit difficult at times. As always, it is easiest when you have someone to instruct you. And: practice makes perfect. Reversing works best when you know your team really well and can assess how the trailer will react to your steering movements.
Before parking, you should make sure that the space or gap where the trailer is to be parked is large enough and that there are no obstacles in the way. You should also have enough space in front of you for maneuvering. Clear possible obstacles – if  necessary – out of the way and look for landmarks in advance that you can have a good view of when reversing and help you to position the trailer.

If, for example, you have to hit a gap in a number of other trailers, it can be helpful if you are already trying to move the trailer as close as possible to the gap when you are driving forward so that you don’t have to go as far in reverse. In principle, think in advance what you can already consider when driving forwards in order to make it easier for you to drive backwards. Always avoid hectic steering movements. It is better to stop once too much than too little to make sure that everything fits and that you can get the trailer to stop exactly where you want it to be.

Safety first

When you have parked the trailer, you should first make sure that the trailer is secured and prevent it from rolling away as soon as you have released it from the towing vehicle. Use wheel chocks for this and be sure to tighten the trailer’s brake as a first step. Then dissolve the electronic connection between the trailer and the towing vehicle and clear the trailer’s power cable in the receptacle that is often provided for it. Then crank the trailer’s support wheel down and lift the trailer off the trailer hitch. Only as the last step do you loosen the breakaway cable. This is an important point in your hanging out routine and a final safeguard to prevent the trailer from rolling away. Only loosen the breakaway cable if you are sure that you have completed all the other steps beforehand and that the trailer is safe and secure and, above all, cannot roll away.

Attaching the trailer: The most important steps

2. Juni 2021 um 18:14

Attaching the trailerYou are about to start your first trip with the trailer, but you have not yet attached it yourself? We have a few tips for you and explain the most important steps for securely and easily attaching your trailer.

Driving to the trailer backwards

When approaching the trailer, you should focus on precision and take your time. First, pay attention to where your trailer is. For example, is there a enough space left and right and behind the trailer? Are there possible obstacles that you should not only have in the back of your head, but should also be cleared out of the way beforehand? It is of course easiest if you have a helper whom you can place beside the trailer and who will then instruct you. But even without a helper, you can attach the trailer by yourself with a little practice.

Make sure that you drive as straight as possible in front of the trailer and that your trailer hitch is positioned as centrally as possible towards the trailer. With a little practice, you can also identify landmarks on the trailer that will help you to center the towing vehicle backwards towards the trailer.

You should be careful not to drive too fast. Especially when you are alone, it is better to slowly make your way towards the trailer than to risk a dent in the back of your car. A mark on the ground may help you to better estimate the distance so that you don’t have to get out of the car to check the remaining distance to the trailer. A mirror that you mount on the trailer or a rear-view camera for your vehicle (if this is not part of the equipment already, the camera can also be retrofitted) will help you approach the trailer.

Attaching the trailer

The time has come, your towing vehicle is centered in front of the drawbar of the trailer. Now you slowly crank the support wheel down, making sure that you hit the trailer hitch on the towing vehicle as precisely as possible. On some trailers, cranking down is hindered by the trailer’s parking brake. You should only solve the parking brake once you have made sure that the trailer cannot roll forwards or backwards. It is best to use wheel chocks if you have to release the parking brake early.

If you have cranked the trailer down so far that it is in contact with the towbar, the trailer may jump onto the towbar by itself and lock into place. If this is not the case, you lift the lever on the ball coupling slightly and use it to open the trailer coupling so that you can place the trailer on the trailer coupling and attach it. When you let go of the lever, the ball hitch lock should automatically click into place. To be sure that the lock has worked, you can crank the support wheel up a little. If the trailer does not detach from the towbar, everything is locked correctly.

Security check: Is everything correct?

With the locking of the ball coupling on the trailer coupling, you have already passed the first security check. Then you attach the breakaway cable and plug in the plug for the power connection between the towing vehicle and the trailer. Now all you have to do is check the support wheel and, if necessary, bring it into its parking position, release the trailer’s brake, remove any wedges and you can drive out of the trailer’s parking space. Also, briefly make sure that all lamps and indicators on the trailer are working correctly. Then you are ready for your journey.

You can read about how to correctly secure your load when driving a trailer in our blog post.

Safety first: the brakes on the trailer

29. April 2021 um 16:38

Brakes for the trailerBefore every trip with the trailer, you will certainly check your lighting equipment and the locking of the trailer on the towbar, but the wheels and brakes should also be checked regularly. Your trailer will have its own brakes itself if it weighs more than 750 kg. It is set that trailers can only be pulled without brakes up to a maximum permissible total weight of 750 kg. Why is this important? Because, above all, with increasing weight, the braking distance of your combination changes and the trailer infects the vehicle from behind when braking. It practically pushes the towing vehicle when braking, so that the vehicle’s brakes have to be more efficient. At the same time, there is an increased risk of pulling out of the trailer with heavy trailers without their own brake.

The overrun brake

So if your trailer is heavier than 750 kg, a so-called overrun brake is required. This prevents the vehicle from being pushed by the trailer during braking and follows a simple mechanical principle. The overrun brake works like this: When the vehicle brakes, the trailer runs on the vehicle or the trailer coupling. A lever is thrown by the forces that are generated, which in turn releases the trailer’s brakes. The more your car brakes as a towing vehicle, the more the trailer is braked by the overrun brake and the load is distributed over both brakes.

Emergency braking with the breakaway rope

If the trailer should come loose from the ball bar, the overrun brake will of course no longer work. In that case, the breakaway cable is your protection for braking the trailer. You have to attach the breakaway cable to a part of the car that is permanently installed with the vehicle; our MVG trailer hitches have a special eyelet on the cross member to which you can attach the breakaway cable. Otherwise you should use a special holder. When the trailer detaches from the towing vehicle, the pull on the breakaway cable initiates emergency braking and the trailer comes to a standstill. So you should always pay attention to the correct use of the breakaway rope, as it is very important in an emergency.

 

When is a warning sign necessary during your drive with a trailer?

10. Februar 2021 um 15:44

 Warning signs for driving with a trailerIf you load your trailer, you may have to attach a warning sign to the trailer, of course this must be done before the journey. But in which cases is a sign required and what should it look like?

Red flag as a warning sign in the event of a towering load

The maximum length for your team is specified in the road traffic regulations and must not exceed 20.75 meters. At the same time, the width and height are also defined and important values ​​that you should consider when driving. With the exception of agricultural and forestry vehicles, normal vehicles and their cargo must not be wider than 2.5 meters and not higher than 4 meters. The load must not protrude to the front, this is only allowed for vehicles that are higher than 2.5 meters. But even then, the load may only protrude forward by half a meter.

If you are transporting cargo that protrudes to the rear, an overhang of 1.5 meters is still permitted. However, loads that protrude more than 1 meter beyond the reflector must be labeled. For this you need a red flag. This must be 30×30 cm. A red, cylindrical body with a diameter of 35 cm is also permitted. You have to attach both below a height of 1.5 meters so that it is visible to the following drivers in traffic.

Warning signs for trailers and rear bike carriers

If your trailer is too long, red and white warning signs are required. When you buy a new trailer, these are in most cases pre-assembled. Otherwise you can reorder them online.

Such warning signs are also compulsory in some countries when using the rear bicycle rack. In Spain and Italy for example, you have to mount a warning sign on the rear bike rack. This is also red and white, square and usually made of aluminum. If you do not mount the warning sign and are checked at a traffic control, you will be charged a penalty. Since the regulations for these warning signs are not uniformly regulated across the EU, you should definitely inform yourself before going on holiday abroad in order to avoid these sometimes sensitive penalties.

The requirements for your trailer driving license

24. November 2020 um 14:19

 Trailer driving licenseSome time ago we reported on the various driver’s licenses for driving a trailer. In addition to the old class 3 driver’s license, there is also the class B driver’s license, which replaced the class 3 license and with which driving a trailer is possible. In addition to B, you can also pull larger trailers with a class B96 and BE driving license. What requirements do you have to meet for the respective trailer driving license?

In order to get a class B driving license, you can register at the driving school six months before you turn 17 – provided you choose to be accompanied by a driver. In addition to theoretical training in the form of lessons and a completed written exam, practical driving lessons and a final exam in practical form are required. For the test you must be at least 18 years of age (17 years for accompanied driving) and present an eye test and a first aid certificate.

The trailer driving license: what types are there?

Normally, the trailer driver’s license is only obtained afterwards, it is often helpful to have a little driving experience. No further theoretical test is then required for the class BE driving license, but at least five hours of practical training are required. These would have to take 45 minutes and each include a motorway trip, a night trip and three cross-country trips. The subsequent driving test takes 45 minutes. A class B driver’s license is compulsory in order to obtain the trailer driver’s license.

If the class B and BE driving license are taken together, the usual theoretical and practical driving lessons are first completed. In addition, 12 hours of practice with the trailer must then be proven, including three night drives, four motorway drives and five cross-country journeys.

For a class B96 driving license, the minimum age is also 17 or 18 years. An examination does not have to be theoretical or practical, as the learning driver only has to prove the required, specified number of training hours. This includes at least 150 minutes in theory, 210 minutes in practice and 60 minutes in driving experience.

Schedule of penalties | Load securing for the journey with the trailer

27. August 2020 um 9:35

 Load securing for the journey with the trailer

When driving with the trailer, for example when moving or driving away the green waste, it is important to properly secure the load. This is not only necessary because it prevents the load from moving and thus influences the trailer’s travel negatively and starts the trailer to roll, for example. To avoid unnecessary noise, cargo must be secured. Load securing is also specified by the authorities in the catalog of fines. Which violations are relevant for your trip with the trailer?

Load securing violations

If your cargo protrudes beyond the trailer, for example, a fine is due. This is staggered depending on how far the load protrudes and where. If it protrudes three meters to the rear, you have to expect a fine of 20 €. If it protrudes only one meter, but without being marked by a lamp, € 25 is due. It is in any case important that you always clearly mark the protruding loads for other road users. To do this, you have to attach a red flag or a red cloth of a specified size and in a maximum height of 1.50 meters to your load in order to warn other road users.

The height of the load is also relevant. So your vehicle with a load may not be higher than 4.20 meters, otherwise you will have to pay a penalty of € 60. In addition, you will even get a point in Flensburg, Germany. If your load is not secured against falling, the fine is € 35. If the lack of security could even result in a hazard or damage to property, you can expect a penalty of up to € 75 and a point.

When driving, always make sure to stow the load safely and load the trailer well thought out. A non-slippery floor can be helpful, heavy loads should also be stored as deep as possible. Cushion sharp edges and corners, avoid gaps in your cargo and at best fix the cargo in place. For some loads, such as green waste, it makes sense to use a net that prevents the load from flying away. Below you can find the staggering for load securing:

  • Avoidable noise from charging not prevented: € 10 
  • Cargo protrudes backwards min. 3 meters beyond the vehicle: € 20
  • Cargo protrudes backwards min. 1.5 meters above the vehicle at min. 100 km / h: € 20
  • Load protrudes to the rear by one meter without being identified by the light: € 25
  • Load protrudes forward beyond motor vehicle: € 20
  • Cargo not adequately secured against falling: € 35
  • Cargo not adequately secured against falling with danger: 60 €, 1 point
  • Cargo not adequately secured against falling with property damage: € 75, 1 point
  • Cargo not adequately secured against falling with danger: 60 €, 1 point
  • Vehicle with a load higher than 4.20 meters: 60 €, 1 point

 

You can find more information on the website of the German schedule of penalties.