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Braking requirements for light trailers

Information and answers to frequently asked questions on braking requirements for light trailers.

This content is for general information only. It does not, and is not intended to, provide legal or technical advice or to represent a legal interpretation of the matters it addresses.

Frequently asked questions

This is a braking device that can automatically stop the trailer if it becomes detached from the towing vehicle while in motion.

A service or running brake is a vehicle’s main braking system which is used during normal driving.

A parking or hand brake is a mechanism braking system used to stop the vehicle from rolling when parked.

This is what the vehicle can tow when the trailer has brakes, and they are functioning properly.

This is what the vehicle can tow when the trailer has no brakes and only applies to light trailers up to 750 kg.

You will need to contact the original manufacturer or authorised distributor.

All trailers with a DGVW more than 750 kg must have a service or normal running brake, a handbrake and breakaway brake as specified by manufacturer.

Older trailers that do not have a breakaway cable can have a secondary coupling e.g., a chain or wire rope fitted instead.

For more technical information see our Road Safety Advice for Drawing Light Trailers booklet.


Double-axle 02 trailers manufactured and first sold prior to June 2011 need a service or running brake on at least one axle.

Double-axle 02 trailers manufactured or first sold after June 2011 need service or running brakes on both axles.

It is recommended that the cable be attached to the towing structure. Where designated points are not in place on the towing structure, the cable should be put around the towing ball and ensure it is properly secured.

If your trailer’s DGVW is 1,500 kg or less was manufactured before 01 January 2016, a secondary coupling e.g., a wire rope or chain can be fitted instead of a breakaway brake. Otherwise, it must be fitted with a breakaway brake. For more information see our  Road Safety Advice for Drawing Light Trailers booklet

Related pages

Light trailers

Vehicle standards for light trailers used for domestic and commercial purposes. Differences between light and heavy trailers. Trailer videos and FAQs.