You’re towing a caravan. Which is the safest type of rear-view mirror to use?

Question Topic: Other types of vehicle

Mark one answer
Interior wide-angle mirror
Ordinary door mirrors
Extended-arm side mirrors
Ordinary interior mirror

When towing a caravan or a large trailer your view of the road behind can be restricted if you use your ordinary door mirrors. To improve your view of the road behind when towing a caravan or large trailer, you can fit extended-arm side mirrors. Extended-arm side mirrors also enable you to see more clearly down the sides of your caravan or trailer. It is also a legal requirement that people use suitable mirrors when towing caravans. Failing to use the proper towing mirror puts vulnerable road users at greater risk.

What are the legal requirements for towing mirrors?

In order to legally tow a caravan or large trailer, mirrors must allow the driver to see at least 4 metres wide of the sides of the towed vehicle. You must also be able to see the 4 metres beside your car to at least 20 metres behind you. If found to be in breach of this law, you could be given 3 points on your license and a fine of up to £1,000. This is because vulnerable road users like motorcycles could enter a blind spot if you are not using appropriate towing mirrors. To prevent being in breach of the law and to protect yourself and other road users you should always ensure you are using proper towing mirrors when towing a caravan or large trailer.

Theory Test Question

Have you tried answering the theory test question: You’re towing a caravan. Which is the safest type of rear-view mirror to use? Let’s consider each answer in turn and check your knowledge of this question.

Interior wide-angle mirror

Wrong! If you are towing a caravan, then an interior wide-angle mirror is likely to be obstructed preventing you seeing the 4 metres next to your vehicle to at least 20 metres behind you.

Ordinary door mirrors

Wrong! Ordinary door mirrors are likely to restrict your view behind you and will not meet the standards required by law concerning what constitutes ‘proper towing mirrors’.

Extended-arm side mirrors

Correct! When towing a caravan your view of the road behind can be greatly reduced. Fitting extended-arm side mirrors can help you to see behind more clearly and down both sides of the caravan or trailer being towed. To be legal, they must enable you to see 4 metres wide of the towed vehicle to at least 20 metres behind you.

Ordinary interior mirror

Wrong! An ordinary interior mirror will not allow you to see the 4 metres beside your car for at least 20 metres behind you, putting vulnerable road users at risk.

References

In section 4 of the official DVSA guide to driving, it states:

Extended-arm mirrors
Some caravans and trailers block your interior mirror’s view of the road behind, which means you must rely on your exterior mirrors.
If you’re towing a caravan or a wide trailer, fit side mirrors with extended arms to enable you to see past the caravan or trailer.

In section 19, it states:

Mirrors
You’ll need to fit exterior towing mirrors so that you have a clear view along both sides of the caravan or trailer.

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