Speed limits for towing

I’ve had a look to see if I can find anything on this subject but unsuccessfully so far…

We have a new micro-caravan which, because it is under 500kg, is treated like a trailer i.e. doesn’t need separate registration.
However, what we are not clear on is what the speed restrictions are for unbraked trailers of that sort of weight. Can anyone point me to some rules please?

does this reference help

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@graham - That had to be one of the worst-written guides I have ever read! One point of advice it gives is that it’s apparently ‘very dangerous’ to tow a trailer of more than 80kg…

I’ve had a quick search but can’t seem to find a clear online guide to speed limits for towing. I’ll have a dig through my shelves to unearth my copy of the code de la route - surely that will have a definitive answer?


It came up from a very basic search and as Angela found, there seem to be very few references.
I think the important point is that in the UK, there is a reduced limit for even a very small trailer but in France, that same restriction does not seem to apply.

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Did they mean nose weight Brian?

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Thank you very much Brian and Graham. I’m glad it’s not just me who can’t find anything terribly clear on this. I think we’re probably ok and we don’t intend going at great speeds anyway but I do like to know the rules! I’m not even completely clear about permissible weight - whether any car with sufficient power can tow up to 750kg or whether there is some sort of combined car-and-trailer weight that applies… my brain is tying itself in a bow :frowning:

My understanding is that if the combined mass of car and trailer is less than 3500kg, then life is simple. Above that weight and things get more complex. Given your description of your trailer, you should fit into the less than 3500kg category - unless your tow car is a Hummer or a Zil!

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@angela I heard some dim little bells changing at the back of my brain that led to to my vehicle’s Carte Grise. Box F3 on the card lists the maximum permitted weight for your vehicle plus a trailer - this would be a good place to start.

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Note also that for a light trailer, I think it is a given that your car insurance covers it @fabien

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Thanks very much @_Brian and @graham

My partner has run off with the carte grise so I’ll have a look at that when he gets back. It’s now a huge car by any stretch of imagination so it would be useful to know.

Our understanding about insurance is that the trailer is covered 3rd party by existing insurance but if I wanted fully comp-type insurance on the caravan that was built on top of it, it would be additional.

I don’t know about France but as the limit for such a trailer (I have a Teardrop too) is 60mph in UK and my voluntary maximum speed where permitted is only 100 km/hr, in other words about the same, I never bothered to find out for myself.

Quite right that such a trailer is non-registered and covered by the car insurance but only 3rd party. That said, before I fell out with Aviva for unconnected reasons, when my Teardrop suffered a catastrophic failure (it snapped in 2 after only 2,000 kms from new) they gave me all the help of protection juridique including supplying an expert who completed a 23 page report which eventually blew all the opposing lawyers out of the water in giving me the full restitution I demanded.

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That’s very interesting, @David_Spardo ! Thanks for the confirmation.

I cant find a reference to said fact but france allowed faster speeds than UK part of the reason they inspect trailers in France. There are a lot of 110kph signs showing towing on the autoroutes.

Are you sure?
I have 2 remorques both of which have thier own carte gris. One is identical to the same remorque that can be towed with gross wieght up to 500 kg but I wanted to carry more payload so it is plated to maximum 750kg. I have had it for 10 years and there is no requirement for CT or inspection of any kind to keep it road legal.
My other remorque weighs 350kg with a gross wieght of 1350 kg. It has a carte gris but again no requirement for CT or insoection of any kind.
The former remorque is not braked but the latter is.
It is down to me to ensure they are safe to use.

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Ahh must be the carte gris I was confused over.

It is indeed :wink:

You may wish to have a look for the manufacturers plate affixed to the trailer. I have a fairly new, single axle, 500kg trailer for which the manufacturers plate tells me not to tow it faster than 110kph.

Our is an artisan built caravan on top of a trailer and I’ve only seen their plate but I shall go and have a look again now! Thank you @Robert_Hodge

It might not be relevent here, but in Germany, Holland, Belgium and Switzerland, any trailer ( braked or unbraked) is max 80 KmH on the motorways/autobahns. If the towing vehicle has ABS then this increases to 100 KmH. Look on french caravan websites or ask a caravanner if there are limits.

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80 km/hr? On an autoroute? That is effing ridiculous, especially in speed mad Germany, I feel a tad vulnerable at my customary 100, keeping just ahead of the HGVs, but to be actually slower than one of them is the daftest thing I have heard to date. :roll_eyes: