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How to tow safely with a Defender

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April 28, 2021


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Defenders are pretty awesome vehicles and, just like other Land Rovers, have immense towing capacity. Power is nothing without control, however, and if you’re not up to speed on the do’s and don’ts of towing, you could end up in trouble with the law or put your own safety at risk. Below we provide some advice on how to two safely with a Defender and stay within the law.

Know and understand the laws around towing

Before you even think about attaching a load to your Defender, you need to be clear on towing laws. The speed limits, for instance, change when you’re towing and will range from 30 to 70 mph, depending on the type of road and the unladen weight of the vehicle. If you’ll be towing large vehicles, you’ll likely require an additional licence and have to pass an extra test, simply because Land Rovers themselves occupy a big chunk of the weight allowance.

You should also check the issue date of your driving licence. If you received your full driving licence before 1st January 1997, you’ll be able to drive a car or van with a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of 3 500 kilos, plus a trailer of 750 kilos, or a trailer that weighs 750 kilos or more so long as the combined MAM of the two doesn’t exceed 3 500 kilos.

If, on the other hand, you received your driving licence before 1 January 1997, you can drive a vehicle and trailer with a combined MAM of 8 250 kilos.

Check the wheels and tyres

The condition of the tyres on your Defender and on the vehicle you’re towing is important. Both must be in good condition. Inflate them the manufacturer’s specifications for the load and ensure they have a tread depth of at least 1.6 mm across three quarters of the breadth of the tyre and around the circumference of the tyre. Watch out for cuts or bulges and, if you spot any, replace the tyre.

Avoid overloading your tow load and your Defender

You need to understand the different weights of the vehicles so you can load them safely and legally. Incorrect loading can make the tow journey unsafe and land you in legal hot water, so ideally, you need to be able to match the weight of the two vehicles to prevent any snaking or pitching. This won’t be easy, given the general heft of a Defender.

Make use of tow assist functions

Defender designers are fully aware of their vehicles’ Herculean towing capacity and equip them with various towing-related functions to make towing safer and easier. The tow- and advanced tow-assist functions will help you predict the direction of your trailer or load while reversing so you can manage the vehicle accordingly. Use these functions to transport your load safely.

Allow yourself more time and space on the road

Give yourself plenty of time and space on the road. Avoid approaching corners too fast, just as you would without the load on your vehicle, and anticipate junctions or stops so that you can start braking earlier as you get to them. Try to allow at least four seconds between you and the vehicle in front when driving.

Consider an alternative

Defenders, as majestic as they are, are big and bulky… there’s no getting away from it. Controlling such a large vehicle and also having to worry about a load can feel intimidating. If you’re not feeling confident about it, hire a professional to take care of any transportations.

Shift Online provides you with access to thousands of professionals who can help you move items from A to B. When you use the platform to find a removals company or man with a van, Shift will automatically identify the best price and provider in your area. Why not make the most of this service to take the weight off your mind?

Defenders are mighty vehicles, but you must be aware of all the rules and regulations around towing and take the right precautions so that you can transport items from one location to another safely and legally. Otherwise, you could have some real problems on your hands.

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