Owning a trailer can make for the perfect staycation opportunity. It means that at any point when you need a break, you need only hitch your trailer to your car and get on the open road. Where will it take you? Who knows? That’s the beauty of it. You can hit the inner city and have the metropolitan experience, or park up by the side of the road and enjoy the stars.
But there are a lot of drivers on the road unaware of the ever-changing towing laws, which can put a real dampener on vacation plans, to say the least. There could be fines, or even danger on the journey.
So, what are the laws for towing a trailer in the US? Well, the short answer is that it depends, state-to-state. For the long answer, read our guide.
The trailer requirements
As mentioned, the laws on towing a trailer vary from state to state, but a majority of them follow a simple set of safety precautions.
For example, your trailer’s taillights have to be visible, like any other vehicle, which means you’ll have to connect your vehicle’s tail lights so that they are responding to the changes in speed and braking going on in the front. In the same vein, your trailer’s license plates have to be visible so that your vehicles can be identified.
And, of course, ensure your trailer is hooked on good and securely with a tow strap and safety chains. These allow for an extra layer of security so that your car doesn’t roll away if the hitch should fail.
There are some additional safety measures required in some states, like breakaway brakes, which will automatically lock the brakes if your trailer breaks away from the hitch. Additionally, auxiliary brakes, which offers an extra bit of protection for braking with a large vehicle may be required – check before you embark.
Make sure to take another look at your insurance policy. A number of them cover liability on your trailer and a jackknife incident, but there are some that won’t and might require a second policy. And there are others still that will only cover certain aspects. They might not cover physical damage for example, so take a look at your insurance policy’s fine print as it pertains to trailers and if not, head to a comparison site for a new policy.
Plus, there is your license to think about. Some states require your license to reflect that you can operate a large RV or a vehicle towing a trailer.
To sum up
As much as we mentioned how a little planning is a big benefit of getting a trailer, a little pre-planning is required to make sure you don’t end up going home with a ticket for a traffic or vehicle violation, or an accident in the rearview mirror.
Take a quick look at the laws of the states you’re looking to pass through to ensure that you’re not about to make a mistake.