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Old 27 September 2013, 10:55   #1
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B+E Driving Test - your thoughts

Today i have just taken and passed my B+E driving test, which of course means i can now tow my rib legally on the road. I have my own opinions on this, mainly resenting the fact that ive just spent over £700 to allow me to do what my mother is already allowed to do! Has anyone on here done it / thinking about doing it, and if so what do you think about it?
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Old 27 September 2013, 11:27   #2
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Well done

I think £700 is a lot, usually around £350!

At the end of the day its about getting better trained drivers towing, so eventually everybody will need to take the additional training to tow, although it is frustrating that the majority of current drivers haven't taken any test.

If I remember correctly it was only one manoeuvre (S sharp reverse), one hitch/un-hitch and a leisurely 20 tow around town. So its hardly challenging.
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Old 27 September 2013, 11:29   #3
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It's a rule / law, like seat belts, tax, mot - got to be done.

Did the training for it as had to show at work that I could drive a trailed unit. Old enough not to need it but hey ho.

Total waste of a day but had to tick the box.

Sounds like the full thing is the same??
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Old 27 September 2013, 11:35   #4
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youre right about the manouvers, but its an hour on all different roads including ten mins with no instruction - just a destination to get to. £700 is probably cheap considering all the bad habbits i had to get out of!
my own view is that is should be more of an assessment of your understanding of trailers, the law, and maneuvers rather than a driving test.
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Old 27 September 2013, 11:48   #5
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youre right about the manouvers, but its an hour on all different roads including ten mins with no instruction - just a destination to get to. £700 is probably cheap considering all the bad habbits i had to get out of!
my own view is that is should be more of an assessment of your understanding of trailers, the law, and maneuvers rather than a driving test.
Is there a second theory test?
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Old 27 September 2013, 11:49   #6
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no just practical - basically an hgv test.
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Old 27 September 2013, 12:13   #7
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I think it's no bad thing. You only have to see the caravans scattered across the nation's motorways to realise that a bit more training is probably a force for good.

In fact, I'd like to see everyone taking a driving test every ten years or so anyway.
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Old 27 September 2013, 12:44   #8
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I did mine earlier this year, so I can tow the Ribtec about legally.

I was partly of a similar mind, having towed various trailers for years. If you're already happy with towing and understand how to reverse and position a trailer, then it is more just box ticking than a real learning experience. That's pretty much what my instructor said to me when I booked up a short lesson and a test - if you understand how to reverse, that's 90% of his work done, and he just has to refine your technique and teach you the few particular bits you need to pass your test - the approved order for coupling/uncoupling, etc.

But saying that, spending half a day driving around with a trailer in busy traffic with someone pointing out errors, and doing lots of reversing has given me more confidence, and made me more aware of what's going on with the trailer.

I happened to be towing the Ribtec today to a local workshop, and came across 2 blocked roads on the way. I ended up doing some 3 point turns in very limited space by myself - the extra confidence gained through the lesson/test process saved me from panicking!

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Old 27 September 2013, 13:16   #9
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Did mine last year. Failed on first attempt!
Yes it cost money (a lot less than yours though ), but was definitely worth it. Unbelievable how much basic rule of the road I had forgotten or chose to ignore!
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Old 27 September 2013, 16:23   #10
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yeah its amazing just how shit you are on the road when someone is there pointing things out to you! i could have opted for fewer lessons thereby making it cheaper, but with work commitments i really needed every chance of passing first time, and within this week whilst off.
a lot of training centres ive spoken to in the past have quoted anything upto £1300 to get through the test!
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Old 27 September 2013, 16:30   #11
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sorry, my apologies ive got my maths wrong - £582.50 is what ive spent (adding separate lessons and test fee etc) so thats nearly 600, not 700. i feel a little better now, though of course still more than others have spent.
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Old 27 September 2013, 16:36   #12
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You need eyes up your arse these days while driving especially towing. Towed the rib rnd the north circular with TT as well that was some experience
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Old 27 September 2013, 16:38   #13
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a lot of training centres ive spoken to in the past have quoted anything upto £1300 to get through the test!
I think that those prices are extortionate and will only encourage people to take the chance and tow without obtaining the license.
From what I have read on this subject is that you are taught how to couple up then tow and reverse.

Do they teach anything on what causes snaking and also how to correctly load a trailer ?
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Old 27 September 2013, 16:49   #14
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youre right kerny, and thats exactly what ive done (and many many others) until now. loading was briefly covered but nothing on snaking etc. though i was given a couple of articles to read on the subject.
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Old 27 September 2013, 17:01   #15
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Maybe towing should be incorporated into the standard driving test as most people will tow some kind of trailer within their driving life.
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Old 27 September 2013, 17:22   #16
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How come a 16 yo can drive a tractor with a 30 ft trailer or the likes and have no licence at all and take at test that's no harder than a cycling proficiency test ( his words ) on the roads it don't make sence
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Old 27 September 2013, 17:35   #17
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Well, I took & passed my driving test in '82 at 17, my HGV3 in '86 at 21, used to tow trailers in the army, so qualified for LGV2 when they changed the rules. Not sure I'd pass if had to take all the tests now, but spent several years incident free as an HGV driver, and 30K business miles p.a for the last 15 years with no problems.

Have never has specific trailer training, but consider I am safe when towing a braked trailer - to be fair with £30k of boat on the back I'm a defensive & cautious driver when trailing in any case!

Driving with a trailer is not technically difficult. You need to go slower - how many people do I see towing well above 60mph?- leave more room, and anticipate better then when not towing. Not rocket science.

Manoevering & reversing is practice, & I bet we've all had good days when it's been perfect & days when we've had to take a couple of shunts to get it right. There are 2 one key principles - take it steady, & if it's not going right, straighten up & start again.
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Old 27 September 2013, 19:04   #18
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I've done the B+E and it is a load of bollocks. Before I did it I could tow better than a lot of people who have been driving for longer than I have been alive. Yet I have to take a stupid test and they don't.

If the government wanted to improve road safety they should be forcing the pre-97 licence holders to complete the training in order to keep their entitlements. It's utter nonsense that 20 years ago you could pass your driving test in an Austin Allegro and then jump straight into something 4 times the size and 8 times the weight and even tow a trailer with it! Yet nowadays the biggest thing new drivers can drive is a van.

The B+E test consists of a a reversing exercise, where you have to reverse the trailer first to the left, then to the right, then straighten up and park it in a bay. Then you do a quick couple and uncouple, just to show you know how to safely unhitch the trailer and hitch it back up again. Then you drive around for an hour or so.

The test has to be done with a box trailer that is at least as wide and as high as the tow car. You are not taught how to load a trailer up for example a car transporter or how to secure the load. There isn't even an emergency stop exercise now and you certainly aren't taught about how to control snaking and other such situations.

The test itself costs £115 but the DSA being as they are you have to do things in certain ways, regardless of how good you are at towing you need at least 1 training session just so you can learn exactly how to drive for the examiner. The tuition is normally in excess of £30 per hour!
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Old 28 September 2013, 01:15   #19
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Maybe towing should be incorporated into the standard driving test as most people will tow some kind of trailer within their driving life.
I disagree very few people will ever tow in there life of driving compaired with the amount who drive!
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Old 28 September 2013, 01:28   #20
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I've done the B+E and it is a load of bollocks. Before I did it I could tow better than a lot of people who have been driving for longer than I have been alive. Yet I have to take a stupid test and they don't.

If the government wanted to improve road safety they should be forcing the pre-97 licence holders to complete the training in order to keep their entitlements. It's utter nonsense that 20 years ago you could pass your driving test in an Austin Allegro and then jump straight into something 4 times the size and 8 times the weight and even tow a trailer with it! Yet nowadays the biggest thing new drivers can drive is a van.

The B+E test consists of a a reversing exercise, where you have to reverse the trailer first to the left, then to the right, then straighten up and park it in a bay. Then you do a quick couple and uncouple, just to show you know how to safely unhitch the trailer and hitch it back up again. Then you drive around for an hour or so.

The test has to be done with a box trailer that is at least as wide and as high as the tow car. You are not taught how to load a trailer up for example a car transporter or how to secure the load. There isn't even an emergency stop exercise now and you certainly aren't taught about how to control snaking and other such situations.

The test itself costs £115 but the DSA being as they are you have to do things in certain ways, regardless of how good you are at towing you need at least 1 training session just so you can learn exactly how to drive for the examiner. The tuition is normally in excess of £30 per hour!
You think that's bad my grandfather never past a test at all as there wasn't one to pass when he started driving!

I do think the test is a good idea as there are some really bad drivers that should not have past there test let alone be towing a tin tent around

I was moving around trailers before I past my test (horse box down to a trailer to go behind ride on mover) so had plenty of experience.
Past my test at 17 and was towing horse box around for my sister strait away never had a problem myself.
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