With harvest fast approaching it's useful to have a reminder on the rules on towing header trailers behind combine harvesters.
Combines over 3m width are prohibited from towing trailers with more than 2 wheels. There is a general prohibition under the Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) (General) Order, 2003 on all agricultural vehicles over 3 m width towing a trailer with more than 2 wheels. This prohibition does not apply to vehicles registered with DVLA as agricultural tractors.
If a two wheeled header trailer is towed behind a combine there are braking requirements linked to the weight of the trailer as follows:
- Two wheeled header trailers with a max unladen weight of up to 510kg - no braking requirements
- Two wheeled trailers over 750kg max laden weigh up to 3.5t max laden weight – overrun brakes are required
- Two wheeled trailer over 3.5t max laden weight up to a max laden weight of 14.23t – requirement that brakes can be operated by the driver from the driving seat of the towing vehicle whilst remaining in control of the towing vehicle
If a header trailer is towed behind a tractor the following braking requirements apply:
- 750kg max laden weigh up to 3.5t max laden weight – overrun brakes are required
- Over 3.5t max laden weight up to a max laden weight of 14.23t – requirement that brakes can be operated by the driver from the driving seat of the towing vehicle whilst remaining in control of the towing vehicle
- Over 14.23t - requirement that brakes are operated directly from the service brakes of the towing vehicle
Further harvest and safety advice on NFUonline:
- More help on keeping farm vehicles safe to use off road and on road is available in the NFU Farm Vehicle Health Guide and Checklist.
- What are the rules for towing header trailers?
- Safe loading of haw and straw - reduce the risk of accidents (member briefing).
- Information on driver licensing and minimum ages for driving farm equipment is available in NFU Business 131.