Top Towing Tips by Timberwolf

As towing legislation changed at the end of 2021, it now means drivers in Great Britain who passed their test after 1st January 1997 will now be able to tow a trailer of up to 3,500kg Maximum Allowable Mass (MAM) without taking an additional test.

We understand many arborists will be towing a sub-750kg wood chipper so the law change will not apply to them. However, if you’re planning on towing larger machines, be it a wood chipper or not, Timberwolf have some of our top tips to towing safely.

Inspect before towing on the road

First things first, inspect the wood chipper and trailer thoroughly including: lights, indicators, tyres and the overall condition of the trailer and chassis. Check that the hitch, jockey wheel, breakaway cable and any ramps and latches are in good, working condition and are properly stowed before towing.

Don’t forget to make sure the correct number plate is securely attached and visible.

Know your weights

Although you’re allowed to tow up to 3,500kg MAM, you will still need to check the towing limit of your vehicle. You can find this on your chassis plate, in the vehicle handbook, or on the V5C registration document.

Double check connections

Wood chippers and trailers over 750kg need their own over-run brakes and a breakaway cable so ensure these are functioning well.

For trailers and wood chippers under 750kg without over-run brakes, a securing cable or chain must be fitted and looped over the tow ball of the vehicle. Check the tow hitch is firmly latched into the hitch fitting.

Make sure you know how your towing set up works and that all latches and fastenings are in good condition, as well making sure that the jockey wheel is lifted and stowed securely.

Reverse tracked chippers onto the trailer

Make sure the feed funnel is pointed towards the rear to create less wind resistance during towing for a more stable and economical drive.

Watch your speed

The limit when towing in 60mph zones is 50mph, and in 70mph zones the limit is 60mph. Remember, towing also affects your stopping distance so give yourself and other road users plenty of space.

Watch out for speed bumps

In built up, urban areas, pay attention to traffic calming measures such as speed bumps – you could damage trailed equipment if you go over them too fast.

Overtake cautiously

If you need to overtake, do so with caution as the extra weight and length of the wood chipper or trailer on your vehicle could significantly impact your acceleration and you will need more space.

Remember, on carriageways with more than three lanes, such as motorways, you are prohibited from using the outer most lane if towing.

Be sure to plan your manoeuvres ahead and drive smoothly to avoid any instability.

Unload on level ground

Unload the wood chipper on a firm, level surface if possible. If on sloping ground, apply the handbrake on the trailer and place chocks under the wheels of both the trailer and towing vehicle. Once unloaded, ensure these extra safety measures are removed prior to moving off.

Take additional training

If you’re new to towing or want to learn more, there are already many towing courses available to help grow your knowledge of road safety.

Join the Timberwolf pack

All Timberwolf machines comes with a three-year no-nonsense warranty as standard, with the option to increase to five years for complete peace of mind – an industry first.

When you join the Timberwolf pack, owners have access to over 250 Timberwolf trained technicians, as well as a network of more than 30 dealer depots ready to offer expert advice and provide technical support across the UK.