Škoda finds four in five Drivers lack confidence to start towing
Whether it’s towing a boat on a bank holiday or a trailer for a track car, more than 18 million extra drivers in the UK can now legally tow without any additional training thanks to a recent rule change. However, Škoda UK research has found that 83% of drivers who had not towed before would not be confident to do so for the first time, with 65% claiming reverse parking was their biggest worry.
The legislation change, implemented in December 2021, means that fully qualified drivers are no longer required to take additional training in order to be able tow a trailer up to 3,500 kg MAM (‘Maximum Authorised Mass’), a rule that had been in place since 1997 and required an additional licence. However, despite the new rules coming into effect, just 14% of respondents were aware of them.
Of the 39% of drivers that had experience of towing a trailer, more than half (55%) said that the biggest problem when doing so was reverse parking, with 50% also citing general reversing manoeuvres as an issue. A number of these drivers admitted to hitting items when towing including a gate post, a corner of a building and a lamp post.
The most common item towed by drivers was a caravan, with more than half of those that had towed having done so, followed by a trailer for equipment such as boats and jet skis, and then hauling a trailer tent with their vehicle.
Amid the change in law on towing, drivers can still face fines of up to £2,500 if the correct tow bar is not used. All towbars must meet EU regulations and be designed specifically for the vehicle. Meanwhile, extended mirrors should be fitted for an unrestricted view of the road to avoid an additional £1,000 fine.
Škoda UK has a strong history of catering to the needs of UK drivers towing trailers and caravans. A tow bar is available as on option on each model in the Škoda UK line-up, from smaller cars such as the Fabia, Scala and Kamiq, to larger vehicles like the Superb, Octavia, Karoq and Kodiaq, plus the all-electric Enyaq iV and Enyaq Coupé iV.
The Škoda Karoq was named Towcar of the Year at the Caravan and Motorhome Club Towcar of the Year Awards 2023. While the Karoq and Scala both took top honours at the What Car? Tow Car Awards 2022. The Karoq was named best in the 1,550-1,699 kg weight category and the Scala in the sub-1,400 kg category.
The Škoda Kodiaq L&K is available with additional technologies to make even lighter work of towing, with optional Trailer Assist and an electrically folding tow bar. It is able to automatically steer a trailer or caravan to a chosen point when reversing, while also displaying a clear area view on the vehicle’s central touchscreen to give the driver an overview of the manoeuvre.
The Kodiaq has a maximum towing weight of between 1,800 kg and 2,300 kg (depending on trim and specification) on gradients up to 8%. As well as Trailer Assist, other key assistance features on the Kodiaq can help drivers to tow safely and confidently. Blind Spot Detect uses sensors to monitor the area around the car, allowing it to detect other vehicles up to a distance of 20m for safe manoeuvring.