Last month we discussed the issue of EB licences and the importance of ensuring you are towing legally. If you’re going to take the plunge and take your EB licence test, then here are some tips to give you a head start.
· It’s advisable to go for some driving and towing lessons with a reputable driving school before you take your EB licence test. You should have as many lessons as you need to get you comfortable towing as well as 100% capable of reversing a trailer in a straight line and performing the 90-degree parking test.
· Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can do the EB test without lessons: even the most experienced caravaner has a chance of failing if he or she hasn’t been for some lessons. Your towing instructor will give you tips and teach you essential little tricks that you’ll need when you take the test.
· If you have 40 years of towing experience and you need to take your EB licence then you would still be advised to take a few lessons. Someone with no towing experience might need as many as 10 lessons, but a reputable instructor should give you a good indication.
· When taking your EB licence test you can use your own roadworthy car and tow either a trailer or a caravan with a GVM over 750 kg. If you have your own towing rig then a driving school should offer you lessons at around R170 an hour.
· Good news: you don’t need to use a caravan when you take your EB test. You’re allowed to do the test by towing a trailer instead of a caravan, which makes it a lot easier, especially when it comes to reversing! If you don’t have your own trailer, simply hire one from any trailer hire outlet for between R155 to R200 a day.
· On the day of your driving test, work in a practice run before you go to the test track. Remember that you’ll need loads of patience and that you’ve also got 15 minutes on the test track as well as 20 to 25 minutes on the public road, which is more than enough time for you to complete your test. Don’t rush it!
· My tip for the test is to take it as slowly as possible. Remember that if at any point you know for certain that you’re not going to complete a 90-degree turn or succeed in parallel parking correctly, then rather stop immediately before you make a mistake that could see you fail. Rather start again with your manoeuvre. You will be given a second chance. My driving teacher, Coenie Moll of Cederberg 4×4, always told me that it was better ‘rather to do it over than to overdo it’.
· Remember to do your blind-spot checks all the time and be sure that you’re not missing any of them. If you do then you’ll be penalised a lot of points.
· You need to perform the outside and inside inspection of the vehicle with the trailer hooked on, including the roadworthiness inspection.
· The trailer tests consist of a left turn, a normal uphill stop at a stop street followed by a successful pull-away (make sure you don’t roll backwards!), a straight-line reverse for 40 metres and a 90-degree reverse park into a parking bay. After that you need to unhook the trailer and do an additional parallel park with the car in reverse from both the left side and the right. You then hook the trailer back on and head out of the test track for a drive on the public road. It’s as simple as that.