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Unhitching and ReHitching your Trailer in the B+E Trailer Towing Test - The Smart Way
The B+E Test Hitch and Unhitch exercise
If you are planning to tow any trailer or caravan, one of the most essential skills you will need is the ability to hitch it to your car
to use it and unhitch it when you are finished. This skill is tested at the end of the B+E practical test.
It is not particularly complicated so long as you follow some common sense safety rules at all times.
In the test the sequence you will be required to follow is:
Stop on a level surface (This will be in the grounds of
the test centre)
Unhitch the trailer.
Drive the car forwards and then reverse it back so that
it is next to the trailer.
Get out of the car and stand next to the examiner.
The examiner will then ask you to get back into the car, drive forward, line up with the trailer
and reverse back ready to re-hitch.
Re-hitch the trailer and carry out safety checks prior to
You may be asked to drive a short distance to prove the
trailer is connected safely.
So, looking at the two main parts of this sequence,
Unhitching the trailer.
Stop on a level surface where you want to park the
trailer. Apply the handbrake on the towing vehicle, select neutral and turn
the engine off.
Exit the vehicle and apply the trailer hand brake first and
Disconnect the brake away cable and the electrics.
Lower the jockey wheel to the ground.
Double check the trailer handbrake is on. If for any
reason you are not parking on a flat surface this is a good time to fit wheel
chocks if you are planning to use them - you wont do this on test.
Pull back the tow ball safety catch with your thumb, and with
your hand pull up on the tow ball release.
Crank the jockey wheel down in order to lift the trailer free
from the tow ball. Allow it to clear by around 5-10 cm.
Fit any security measures, such as wheel clamps or tow ball
locks. (You will not be required to do this in the
If your towing vehicle vehicle has a tow ball cover it it at
the end. (You will not be required to do this in the test)
RE-hitching the trailer.
Remove all security measures on the
trailer and tow ball boot on the towing vehicle. (You
will not be required to do this on the test).
Reverse the towing vehicle so that the tow ball is lined
up under the tow ball socket on the trailer. (You are
permitted to get out and make 1 check and adjust, and if required you can
man-handle the trailer into exact position).
Crank the jockey wheel up to lower the trailer on to the
tow ball. Verify the tow ball release and safety catch are secured and that
the trailer is secured to the towing vehicle by pulling upwards on the A
frame and ensuring that the towing car "bounces" with the trailer.
Crank the jockey wheel to its highest position, then
raise it securely into the "A" frame.
Connect the lights and brake-away cable. When
fitting the brake away cable make sure it is fitted to a secure part of the
tow vehicle chassis where it cannot slip off or pull part of the body work
with it. This is a detail the examiner will check.
Put all of the lights on (headlights and hazards).
Ask the examiner to check your brake lights while you
operate the pedal.
Do a walk around check of the trailer and towing vehicle
to ensure the lights are working and that all doors and openings on the
trailer and the towing vehicle are secured.
Perform a final double check on the security of the hitch
by pulling on it to ensure the trailer stays connected.
Not doing this
will be deemed sufficient to FAIL the test!
Remove any wheel chocks that may be in place,
obviously not in the test.
Only at the very end, carefully release the trailer hand brake.
As you can see, most of this is
common sense. The important things are to make sure that the hand brake is
applied first and released last, that you double check the hand brake is on
before disconnecting the trailer, that you double check the security of the
hitch before driving. It is all designed to ensure that there is NEVER a possibility of the
trailer running away.
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