Trailer Towing Laws By State 2021

Many Americans own boats or camping trailers to use on vacations. Although boating, fishing, and camping are fun activities, safety is of the utmost importance when towing tons of extra weight behind your vehicle.

Specifically, braking is more difficult and dangerous while towing. The more weight you’re pulling, the more momentum you have, especially at high speeds. This momentum takes a longer distance for your vehicle to stop. Because of this, most states require you to get trailer brakes when the trailer exceeds a certain weight limit and poses maximum towing speeds, which can be as low as 45 miles per hour.

Additionally, states have laws restricting trailers and boats, and it is wise to follow them so that you do not get into an accident or pulled over for noncompliance. Trailer towing laws and regulations vary by state. Towing laws include maximum weights, braking system requirements, tail lights, safety chains, reflectors, brake lights, and more. No matter where your vehicle is registered, you must obey the towing laws in the state you are traveling to or through.

Below are each state’s trailer towing laws, according to AAA](https://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/trailer-towing/).

Alabama

A maximum of one boat or general utility trailer may be towed behind passenger vehicles.

Alaska

N/A

Arizona

  • Connection devices used for towing shall not exceed 15 feet between vehicles.
  • If a chain, rope, or cable is used in towing, a white flag or cloth at least 12 square inches must be displayed on the device.

Arkansas

  • If the towed vehicle is not registered, a special permit is required. Proof of ownership is required.
  • A drawbar is required with a 15-foot maximum length.
  • Reciprocity is granted.

California

  • Drivers must travel in the rightmost lane marked for slower vehicles when towing a vehicle or trailing.
  • If there is no marked lane, towing motorists must travel in the two lanes closest to the right side.

Colorado

N/A

Connecticut

N/A

Delaware

  • On highways, vehicles are not permitted to pull more than one other vehicle.
  • The maximum drawbar length is 15 feet.
  • If a chain, rope, or cable is used in towing, a white flag or cloth at least 12 square inches must be displayed on the device.

District of Columbia

  • N/A

Florida

  • Drawbar must be of sufficient strength to pull all towed weight and must not exceed 15 feet in length.
  • If a chain, rope, or cable is used in towing, a white flag or cloth at least 12 square inches must be displayed on the device.

Georgia

N/A

Hawaii

N/A

Idaho

  • Passenger vehicles may tow up to two vehicles.

Illinois

N/A

Indiana

  • 60 feet is the maximum length for any two vehicles together (65 feet for three or more vehicles).
  • The maximum load size is 3 feet beyond the front and 4 feet beyond the vehicle’s rear.

Iowa

  • Drawbar length must not exceed 21 feet.
  • Drawbar must be of sufficient strength to pull all towed weight and secure enough to prevent side sway.
  • A safety chain is required with the main connection and must be strong enough to pull the towed vehicle or cargo if the main connection fails.

Kansas

N/A

Kentucky

  • No more than two vehicles can be towed at once and must be connected to maintain even space between them.

Louisiana

  • Connection must be strong enough to pull all towed weight and must not exceed 15 feet in length.
  • If a chain, rope, or cable is used in towing, a red flag or cloth at least 12 square inches must be displayed on the device between sunrise and sunset. At night, a red light visible for at least 500 feet is required.
  • A maximum of two trailers may be towed behind passenger or pleasure vehicles.

Maine

  • Only one trailer or semitrailer is permitted to be towed behind passenger vehicles.
  • Only one boat or general utility trailer can be towed behind a passenger vehicle. The maximum length of both is 65 feet.

Maryland

  • The maximum GVW for a trailer towed behind a Class E truck is 20,000 lbs.
  • The maximum GVW for a trailer towed behind a Class passenger vehicles or a Class M multipurpose vehicle is 10,000 lbs.
  • Class A and M vehicles may only tow camping trailers, boat trailers, utility trailers, horse trailers, or travel trailers.

Massachusetts

N/A

Michigan

N/A

Minnesota

N/A

Mississippi

  • Drawbar or other connection must be strong enough to pull all towed weight and not exceed 15 feet in length.
  • If a chain, rope, or cable is used in towing, a red flag or cloth at least 12 square inches must be displayed on the device.
  • If towing by saddle-mounts, three vehicles are the limit, and the overall length must be 75 feet or less.
  • Only one motor vehicle can be towed by a tow bar.

Missouri

N/A

Montana

N/A

Nebraska

  • Drawbar length between any two vehicles on the highway cannot exceed 15 feet.
  • The connection device between any two vehicles must display a red flag or cloth at least 12 square inches.
  • Whenever a vehicle’s load extends more than 4 feet beyond the rear of the vehicle between sunset and sunrise, a red light visible from at least 200 feet must be displayed.

Nevada

N/A

New Hampshire

  • A safety chain is required in addition to the towbar with the main connection and must be strong enough to pull the towed vehicle or cargo if the main connection fails.
  • No vehicle is permitted to tow another vehicle on any road unless the vehicles are connected by a towbar strong enough to control the towed vehicle’s movement without manually steering it.
  • No vehicles can tow more than one other vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer except for agricultural purposes or by special permit.

New Jersey

  • A maximum of one boat or general utility trailer may be towed behind passenger vehicles.

New Mexico

  • If a chain, rope, or cable is used in towing, a white flag or cloth at least 12 square inches must be displayed on the device between sunrise and sunset.
  • When a combination of vehicles is towing pipes, poles, machinery, or other cargo that cannot be readily taken apart, the load needs to be evenly distributed across all axles.

New York

  • Using a dolly to tow vehicles is prohibited unless chains or cables secure the dolly.
  • Trucks or trailers transporting loose materials are prohibited unless the vehicle has a cover or other device to secure the materials.

North Carolina

  • Towed vehicles and trailers must be firmly attached to the towing unit’s rear so that the towed vehicle travels in the path of the towing vehicle.

North Dakota

N/A

Ohio

N/A

Oklahoma

  • Towed vehicles and trailers must be firmly attached to the towing unit’s rear so that the towed vehicle travels in the path of the towing vehicle.

Oregon

  • Passengers are illegal in towed vehicles. This does not apply to fifth-wheel trailers if the trailer has safety-glazing materials on the windows and doors, an auditory or visual signaling device that can contact the driver of the towing vehicle, and at least one unobstructed exit that can be opened from the interior and the exterior.

Pennsylvania

  • Drawbar or other connection must be strong enough to pull all towed weight and not exceed 15 feet in length.
  • If the connecting device is longer than 5 feet, a red flag or cloth at least 12 square inches must be displayed on the device. At night, it must be a red light.
  • Every trailer must be attached to the towing vehicle to stay within six inches of the towing vehicle’s travel path.

Rhode Island

  • On public highways divided into multiple travel lanes int he same direction, towing vehicles may only travel in the right lane of a two-lane highway or the two right lanes of a three-lane highway.

South Carolina

N/A

South Dakota

  • In addition to the main connecting device, every trailer must have safety chains, cables, or equivalent device when traveling on a public highway at a speed over 20 miles per hour. This does not apply to a semitrailer having a 5th wheel and kingpin assembly for a connecting device.

Tennessee

N/A

Texas

N/A

Utah

  • In addition to the main connecting device, every trailer must have safety chains, cables, or equivalent device connected to the chassis of the towing vehicle, towed vehicle, and connecting device. This does not apply to a semitrailer having a 5th wheel and kingpin assembly for a connecting device.
  • Connecting devices and accompanying safety connections must each be strong enough to tow the towed vehicle and only have enough slack to allow turning.
  • Whenever a vehicle’s load extends more than 4 feet beyond the rear of the vehicle, two red lamps and two red reflectors must be placed on the load’s maximum overhang between a half-hour before sunset and a half-hour before sunrise. During the day time, red flags at least 12 square inches must mark the load’s overhanging extremities.
  • Towing vehicles are prohibited from traveling in the left-most lanes on highways with three or more lanes.

Vermont

Each trailer must have at least one state-approved fire extinguisher in good working condition and easily accessible.

Virginia

N/A

Washington

  • Towing vehicles are prohibited from traveling in the left-most lanes on highways with three or more lanes unless preparing for a left turn.

West Virginia

N/A

Wisconsin

  • It is illegal for any person under the age of 12 to be in a towed 5th-wheel mobile home unless they are accompanied by someone at least 16 years old.
  • Whenever a vehicle’s load extends more than 4 feet beyond the rear of the vehicle, ta red light visible from 500 feet must be placed on the load’s maximum overhang between sunset and sunrise. During the day time, red flags at least 12 square inches must mark the old’s overhanging extremities.
  • A motor vehicle can be towed without brakes its GVW of the towed vehicle is no more than 40% of the towing vehicle’s GVW and if the towing vehicle has brakes sufficient enough to stop the towed vehicle.
  • A vehicle cannot tow more than one other vehicle unless the vehicles are being towed by the drive-away methods and do not exceed 65 feet altogether.

Wyoming

N/A

Trailer Towing Laws By State 2021