What You Need to Know Before Towing Abroad
As summer approaches the prospect of getting some sun abroad is beginning to look more and more likely. But towing your trailer abroad in 2021 is going to be a little different than previous years. Not only have we battled through a global pandemic, but the United Kingdom has also left the European Union, which together make for some slight changes to how we can tow in the EU and beyond. So, join us as we cover everything you need to know about taking that trailer on an overseas adventure!
Towing with a Green Card in Europe
If you are heading abroad this summer with your trailer in tow you’ll more than likely be heading to Europe (even without COVID regulations). So, keeping your car and trailer outfit legal on all European roads is essential.
From January 2021 all drivers of vehicles heading to Europe will need to apply and obtain a green card. A green card is simply proof that your vehicle is insured to the minimum level of third-party property and personal injury cover that is required for countries which participate in the green card system. A green card can be obtained through your car insurance provider directly, and will be sent to you. Most insurance companies will provide at least the minimum cover required to drive in Europe, however if your provider doesn’t cover the EU, you will be unable to enter with your vehicle and trailer.
For more information on applying for a green card for your towing vehicle click here.
Since the 28th March 2019 it has been mandatory for commercially used trailers of a gross weigh exceeding 750kg, and all trailers and caravans (including non-commercial) weighing over 3500kg to be registered before they can be used outside of the UK. This registration law applies to most European countries however does not apply to the Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland border.
If you are unsure of the weight of your trailer you can usually find this information on a plate or sticker located on the frame of your trailer. Note, you should register your trailer depending on the gross weight, so should allow for the load you expect to be carrying as well as the trailer weight.
How do you register your trailer? Easy! Registering your trailer can be done through the UK government website. All you will need is the trailer manufacturer, the trailer’s vehicle identification number, and the gross and unladen weight of the trailer. To register your trailer before taking it abroad click here.
There is no doubt Coronavirus has affected the way we travel, and even as restrictions begin to ease it is highly likely at least some level of restrictions will remain in place for the foreseeable future. For the best way to stay up-to-date about restrictions both in the UK and in Europe be sure to regularly check the government website.
The EU has introduced a traffic light system which is designed to give travellers an idea of the safety of the country they are visiting. The traffic light system will not only effect which countries will let you in, but also what you will have to do on your return to the UK. Below are the current traffic light guidance criteria for returning to the UK.
- Green – Coming from a green country you will need a negative pre-departure Covid test, as well as a PCR test on day two after you return to the UK. You will not be required to isolate at all from a green country.
- Amber – Similarly to a green country, coming from an amber country you will need a negative pre-departure Covid test, while also getting a PCR test on days two and eight. You will be required to isolate for 10 days after your arrival; however this can be reduced if an additional test is taken on day on day five.
- Red – If you are returning from a red listed country, you will again require a negative pre-departure Covid test. On your return you will have to undergo managed quarantine at a registered hotel for a total of 10 days. You will be required to have a PCR test on days two and eight, however quarantine must continue for the full 10 days.
The European Towing Checklist
Let’s take a look at a few smaller things to remember to make sure you towing trip to the EU goes as smoothly as possible. We have also added some optional things which could be useful if you have an issue while you are away.
- GB Sticker – When travelling in the EU it is mandatory for you to display a GB identification sticker somewhere on your trailer or caravan.
- Travel Visa – If you are travelling in the EU for longer than 90 days but less than 180 days you will need to apply for a tourist visa. The country exceptions to this requirement are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania.
- International Driving Permit (IDP) – An IPD is a multi-language translation of your UK driving licence which can be bought from a post office. In most cases this is optional as long as you are carrying your driving licence photo card with you. However, if you only have a paper licence (no photo card) or if your licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man, you should check the government website for advice on your personal situation here.
- European Accident Statement form (Optional) – This document is designed to make it easier to exchange details and facts if you ever have an accident abroad. They are not compulsory but can be a handy thing to have if the worst happens.