What is the maximum legal speed limit for a car towing a trailer on the open road?
On a learner or restricted class 1 licence you are allowed to tow a trailer but the combined weight of your vehicle, the trailer (or towed vehicle) and its load must not exceed 4500kg. Once you have your full licence the combined weight can be up to 6000kg.
When towing another vehicle that is not a trailer there are two options: a rigid tow bar which takes control of the vehicle (for example, you will sometimes see a large motorhome towing a small SUV like a Suzuki Jimny that can be used around town or for exploring), or you can use a chain, rope or strop that is strong enough to pull the vehicle.
The tow hitch or tow bar must also be strong enough to pull the vehicle.
You must be able to see behind the towed vehicle or trailer. If you can't you must fit wing mirror extensions. This is often the case with wide caravans. Your car is likely to be between 1.6 and 1.9 metres wide and a caravan or large trailer can be up to 2.5m wide.
The maximum distance between your vehicle and the one you are towing is 4 metres, and the maximum speed you are allowed to drive when towing a trailer or a vehicle with a rigid towing system on the open road is 90kph.
If you want to tow a motorbike, it must be mechanically disabled and you must not exceed 30kph.
Any towed vehicle must show at least one red light at the back, and if it is a disabled vehicle (i.e. you're towing a car, rather than a trailer or caravan), its headlights must light up the towing connection so that drivers overtaking know that it is being towed.
If you are towing a vehicle using a rope, you will need to travel slowly - the legal maximum is no more than 50kph - because the distance between your vehicle and the one behind is very short. Braking should be done gently and well in advance of any obstacle. You will need to ensure that the brakes of the vehicle behind you are functioning otherwise it won't be able to stop and will run into the back of you. If they don't function your option is to use a rigid towing system, load it onto a trailer or get a tow truck.
If you are holding other traffic up, pull over periodically to let them pass. Increase your following distance to four seconds or more.