Towing Abroad And Weigh/Speed Restrictions

Mar 17, 2020
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I was reading another thread that touched on the French rules regarding towing speeds, specifically on motorways. The 3500 kg threshold where towing combinations are restricted to speeds of 90 kmh.

The problem seemed to be the understanding of exactly what the weight limit referred to.

My understanding is that speed restrictions throughout France are based upon GTW. If your car is stamped with a maximum train weight greater (or equal) to 3500 kg then that determines your maximum speeds when towing. The weight of the trailer is irrelevant.

This may seem mad! For example a small car towing a light trailer can tow at 130 kmh but a Range Rover towing the same trailer is restricted to 90 kmh!

Now - on the subject of speed and weight rules how about the ubiquitous 3.5t signs all over France (sometimes if you tow as I do out in the wilds right on the route you wish to follow!).
Exactly the same rules apply as those for driving on the motorway. If your GTW is 3500 kg or above then you are not supposed to drive that route.

For those requiring confirmation straight from the horse's mouth:

Panneau de Type B13. Présentation Le panneau de type B13 est employé en France pour interdire un accès aux véhicules (et également les véhicules articulés, les trains doubles et les ensembles de véhicules) d'un poids total autorisé en charge ou le poids total roulant autorisé supérieur au nombre indiqué sur le panneau.

Road sign B13 (France). No access to vehicles, articulated vehicles, double trains or combinations of vehicles whose total permissible gross weight or permissible total weight exceeds the indicated number
3_5t roadsign.png
 
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Nov 6, 2005
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My understanding is that speed restrictions throughout France are based upon GTW. If your car is stamped with a maximum train weight greater (or equal) to 3500 kg then that determines your maximum speeds when towing. The weight of the trailer is irrelevant.

This may seem mad! For example a small car towing a light trailer can tow at 130 kmh but a Range Rover towing the same trailer is restricted to 90 kmh!
It may seem mad - but it can be policed electronically (for French-registered cars) as the GTW is held against the vehicle's registration details - so the outfit doesn't need to be stopped and either weighed or check the trailer MTPLM plate.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Our outfit is over 3500kg so we are restricted to 90kph. In Spain it is 80kph yet HGVs can travel at a higher speed. Don't mind as it saves a fortune in fuel.
 
May 7, 2012
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Never believe that law makers use common sense. This one proves my point as Johnb's example proves.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Never believe that law makers use common sense. This one proves my point as Johnb's example proves.
At least it takes responsibility away from drivers who may not understand the two variations for speed limit and cannot fathom out what plated weights mean as opposed to weighed weights. But one point puzzled me...... have the Dutch negotiated an exemption 😂
 
Mar 14, 2005
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lutzschelisch.wix.com
The way the sign is interpreted is not common throughout Europe.
In Germany, the above example would limit the actual weight of the vehicle to 3.5 tonnes. Also, it applies to each individual vehicle, i.e. 3.5 tonnes actual weight of the towing vehicle and 3.5 tonnes again for the trailer.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Our outfit is over 3500kg so we are restricted to 90kph. In Spain it is 80kph yet HGVs can travel at a higher speed. Don't mind as it saves a fortune in fuel.
The speed limit for car/caravan combinations is 90km/h on Spanish motorways, same as for HGV's over 3.5 tonnes. Off motorways and outside built-up areas it is also 80km/h for both.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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The way the sign is interpreted is not common throughout Europe.
In Germany, the above example would limit the actual weight of the vehicle to 3.5 tonnes. Also, it applies to each individual vehicle, i.e. 3.5 tonnes actual weight of the towing vehicle and 3.5 tonnes again for the trailer.
There are a lot of 3.5 tonne signs adjacent to bridges in mid Wales which refer to maximum gross weight of a vehicle. These appeared when there was pressure to ensure bridges did or did not meet a new set of legislation regarding integrity. However many farms and residences had the need for vehicle access in excess of 3.5 tonnes. So gradually associated signs have appeared with supplementary information such as “ loading or unloading” or “access”. And in some cases a new bridge has been built.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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lutzschelisch.wix.com
There are a lot of 3.5 tonne signs adjacent to bridges in mid Wales which refer to maximum gross weight of a vehicle. These appeared when there was pressure to ensure bridges did or did not meet a new set of legislation regarding integrity. However many farms and residences had the need for vehicle access in excess of 3.5 tonnes. So gradually associated signs have appeared with supplementary information such as “ loading or unloading” or “access”. And in some cases a new bridge has been built.
That sounds a bit crazy. It would mean that if the farm had the need for local access of a 40 tonner to pick up a load of sugar beet, for example, it could drive over a bridge intended to carry only 3.5 tonnes.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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That sounds a bit crazy. It would mean that if the farm had the need for local access of a 40 tonner to pick up a load of sugar beet, for example, it could drive over a bridge intended to carry only 3.5 tonnes.
The bridges had been in use fir many years serving farms and rural residences. The signs were a get out to save money in either newly certifying the bridges for a first time, or building new ones. To get to some of the farms you may cross several bridges a number of times as the roads cross cross the small rivers and streams.
 
Mar 17, 2020
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The way the sign is interpreted is not common throughout Europe.
In Germany, the above example would limit the actual weight of the vehicle to 3.5 tonnes. Also, it applies to each individual vehicle, i.e. 3.5 tonnes actual weight of the towing vehicle and 3.5 tonnes again for the trailer.
And there's a ridiculous situation that being the case!

I could drive on German roads and be legal but cross into France, for example, and I'm not.

There are places on the France/Germany border where crossing and crossing back on the same road exist I'm sure. (I know of one in France/Belgium where the border actually crosses roads frequently within the same town. ( Take a gander at Mouscron and find Risquons -Tout). I always loved that name - it was the customs on the main N43 - sort of translates to risk everything!

It seems a crazy situation if such interpretations exist since they are mutually exclusive.
 
Jan 3, 2012
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Well - if the number relating to your car's GTW is less than 3499 KG then yes!
You are certain that's the case I imagine.
Well it is less than 3499KG I never gone that speed before something to look forward to when we go to France
 
Nov 11, 2009
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So with my outfit i be able to go at 130 kmh in France Wow :giggle:
What’s the gross train weight of your outfit. If it’s over 3500 kg you won’t be travelling faster than 90 kph on autoroutes and 80 kph elsewhere unless a lower limit prevails.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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The speed limit for car/caravan combinations is 90km/h on Spanish motorways, same as for HGV's over 3.5 tonnes. Off motorways and outside built-up areas it is also 80km/h for both.
I think that HGVs ca travel at a higher speed as when on Spanish motorways we were often overtaken by HGVs and if on an A road, they are virtually connected to the rear of the caravan. A bit nerve wracking!
 
Nov 6, 2005
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I think that HGVs ca travel at a higher speed as when on Spanish motorways we were often overtaken by HGVs and if on an A road, they are virtually connected to the rear of the caravan. A bit nerve wracking!
HGVs in the EU have 90 kph limiters fitted, that's 56 mph, so if they overtake you may be travelling slower than you think - possibly due to your speedo being optimistic.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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HGVs in the EU have 90 kph limiters fitted, that's 56 mph, so if they overtake you may be travelling slower than you think - possibly due to your speedo being optimistic.
I use the speed on the Satnav and not the car speedo.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I use the speed on the Satnav and not the car speedo.
My two ex son in laws were both long haul HGV drivers U.K. and EU and they told me that some rogue companies can doctor the speed limiter but that can also have effects on other safety related systems.
 
Nov 6, 2005
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My two ex son in laws were both long haul HGV drivers U.K. and EU and they told me that some rogue companies can doctor the speed limiter but that can also have effects on other safety related systems.
Yes - It's noticeable on the A75 from Stranraer-Gretna that some Irish trucks are doing way over 60
 
Mar 14, 2005
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As we all know just because there is a speed limit, does not mean all drivers will respect it. And when it comes to HGV and other vehicles that should be fitted with speed limiters, there will be some variation in their setting, and less scrupulous operators or drivers may find ways to circumvent them.
 
May 7, 2012
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For those who read the transport press you will find there are regular prosecutions for this problem. The usual ones are for either disconnecting the speed limiter or by passing it. It is a minority that do it, but they do give the industry a bad name.
In the EC the same rules should apply, but the level of enforcement varies, which would explain the different experience you may have in the different countries.
Setting them at exactly 56 though is not totally possible, and even tyre wear when out on the road can make minor variations in the limited speed, which results in those frustrating times when one doing 56 tries to overtake one doing 55. On top of this some operators set the limiter lower to save on fuel and wear and tear, adding to the problem.
 
Mar 17, 2020
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Many of the German motorways sections are restricted for HGV and Towing to 80 kmh. and there are no overtaking for both categories.
I used to dread this when I would prefer to travel at 60 mph - fast enough to not get hemmed in by trucks - when in the UK or in France.
I've soon realised that towing at 80 kmh and with no overtaking not only makes for wonderful consumption (obviously no big surprise there) but also wonderfully relaxed driving. Since there's no point if tailgating and, lets be honest, some HGV intimidate by doing just that, the traffic is well spaced out and so much safer.
There are also long stretches in France where similarly, although the 90 kmh speed limit may be in force, since no overtaking for HGV and Towing the road "manners" change noticeably.
Don't know if anyone else has noticed this.
In my view many of the problems alluded to in the thread would be removed if all HGV and Towing combinations were denied overtaking in say 75% of motorway miles. There's no point travelling as fast as you can go if you can't overtake. It works in Germany so why not here.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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In the EC the same rules should apply, but the level of enforcement varies, which would explain the different experience you may have in the different countries.
That's true. German authorities take a fairly pragmatic view. They are happy so long as the traffic is rolling, even if it is going a bit faster than it should. I have never seen a speed check carried out on a dereistricted section of autobahn where, despite the deresitriction, HGV's and all vehicles towing a trailer are limited to 80km/h. On the other hand they do often check where there is a restriction, primarily in roadwork areas.

Many of the German motorways sections are restricted for HGV and Towing to 80 kmh. and there are no overtaking for both categories.
I've soon realised that towing at 80 kmh and with no overtaking not only makes for wonderful consumption (obviously no big surprise there) but also wonderfully relaxed driving.
In my view many of the problems alluded to in the thread would be removed if all HGV and Towing combinations were denied overtaking in say 75% of motorway miles. There's no point travelling as fast as you can go if you can't overtake. It works in Germany so why not here.
The overtaking restriction for HGV's and vehicles towing a trailer is usually on heavily frequented sections of two-lane autobahn. There is a very long stretch of this on the A5 north of Freiburg where I have to sit behind the trucks and I'm not allowed to overtake with the caravan in tow although I have a concessionary 100km/h limit for my outfit. Because it goes on for about half an hour like that, it does get on my nerves a bit.
 

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