Drive and Manoeuvre Trailers

This unit describes the performance outcomes required to drive and manoeuvre a trailer while it is attached to a driving vehicle. It involves inspecting the trailer before use, connecting the trailer to a vehicle, driving the trailer, and disconnecting the trailer from the vehicle. It applies to those working in the automotive service and repair industry. The trailers may have non-pivoting axles or pivoting front axles.


Before competency can be determined, individuals must demonstrate they can perform the following according to the standards defined in this unit’s elements, performance criteria, range of conditions and foundation skills:

  • drive and manoeuvre two different trailers on a road with curves.


Individuals must be able to demonstrate knowledge of:

  • work health and safety (WHS) and occupational health and safety (OHS) requirements relating to driving and manoeuvring trailers
  • key features of relevant state and territory regulations relating to trailers, including those relating to.
  • couplings
  • safe towing weights
  • towing speeds
  • braking
  • application, purpose and operation of trailers, including:
  • pivot and non-pivot trailers
  • definition of aggregate trailer mass and gross trailer mass
  • trailer coupling systems, including:
  • tow ball
  • lunette ring
  • weight distributing hitch
  • inspection procedures for trailers, including:
  • coupling system
  • electrical system
  • braking system
  • wheel assembly and bearings
  • suspension system
  • loading procedures for trailers, including:
  • centre of mass location
  • tongue weight
  • methods for determining maximum towing capacity of vehicle
  • methods for determining load capacity of towbar
  • effects of trailer on overall turning circle
  • effects of trailer on acceleration, steering and braking
  • methods of avoiding and controlling vehicle and trailer sway
  • methods of reversing a trailer.


Assessors must satisfy NVR/AQTF assessor requirements. Competency is to be assessed in the workplace or a simulated environment that accurately reflects performance in a real workplace setting. Assessment must include direct observation of tasks. Where assessment of competency includes third-party evidence, individuals must provide evidence that links them to the trailers that they have driven and manoeuvred, e.g. trailer log book. Assessors must verify performance evidence through questioning on skills and knowledge to ensure correct interpretation and application.
The following resources must be made available:

  • road with curves suitable for trailer forward and reverse driving, manoeuvring and parking
  • trailer specifications and relevant state and territory regulations for towing trailers
  • two different trailers and towing vehicles with suitable trailer couplings.


This course is delivered over one 8-hour day. The course is run with a candidate to assessor ratio of 4-1. The course includes the following:


Two-hour PowerPoint presentation covering:

  • Towing legislation – compliance plates trailer/vehicle
  • Trailer types
  • Safe trailer hitching – safety chains/shackles
  • Braking systems – 750kg/751-2000kg/over 2000kg
  • Defensive driving principles – safe following distances/night driving/animal management/wet roads
  • Fatigue management
  • Vehicle prestart checks and fault finding
  • Vehicle loading – load security/liquid loads/trailer sway
  • On/Off road driving hazards and techniques

This is followed by a one hour written exam on the theory content.


The practical element of this course includes the following:

  • Prestart checks/load security/fault repair
  • Trailer hitch/unhitch
  • Towing different types of trailer – single/tandem axle
  • Driving on public roads
  • Driving on unsealed roads
  • Emergency braking on unsealed roads
  • Reversing a trailer – around a curved road/right angle turn into a driveway/backing uphill