Towing car laws

When you're towing a car across the purple mountains majesty and fruited plains of America -- or if you plan on heading toward the Big Apple -- you'd better slow your roll before you take off. In an unusual gesture of federalism, the U. It may seem a bit piecemeal to have different regulations across different states regarding car towing, but some states take stronger precautions against accidents than others.

For example, most states require that the trailer towing your car have breakaway brakes.

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These are electronic systems triggered in case the car in tow suddenly becomes detached. This can be a thorny situation; one minute you're driving normally, your driverless car's careening wildly in high-speed traffic the next.

Breakaway brakes lock the towed vehicle's brakes if it becomes detached, and most systems keep the brakes locked for 15 minutes, which manufacturers hope is enough time for you to realize your car's no longer in tow and to retrieve your wayward auto. There isn't a state in the union that doesn't require breakaway brakes, but some states simply don't specify either way which could, arguably, make a good case in court if you're caught without them.

This discrepancy reveals a common theme: It's better to be safe than sorry. Not having breakaway brakes could put you in a terrible pickle if your car becomes detached, and since most states require them, it's a good idea to err on the side of caution. You probably could have guessed that most states require safety measures like breakaway brakesbut what about more nuanced distinctions in regulations among the different states?

Even before you purchase a trailer for car towing -- especially if you plan on interstate towing -- it's a good idea to get a look at the various state restrictions and requirements. So, if you're traveling through Georgia with your feet-tall trailer, you may end up with a citation. Ultimately, it may be a better choice to purchase one that meets the maximum restriction for the state with the strictest standards. This holds true not just for height, but for other dimensions and safety devices as well.

You should also familiarize yourself with the varying driving restrictions in different states. The maximum speed for a vehicle with a car in tow is the posted speed limit in most states; in others it's lower and may depend on the towing weight of the trailer.

Some states also require different license classes for drivers with vehicles in tow. This may warrant you taking an additional test through your state's department of motor vehicles.

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You can find links to sites that display the towing laws for all 50 states on the LMI page. Think you're ready to go? Think again. You're going to want to take a closer look at your auto insurance first. Read about insurance for car towing on the next page. How Car Towing Safety Works.

What are my car towing options?

How RV Towing Regulations Work

Prev NEXT. Car Towing Regulations by State. You found the perfect-sized trailer for your tiny car, sure, but did you purchase breakaway brakes for it as well?You could be in for a big surprise when you cross state lines in your brand-spankin'-new RV and find it's too tall to comply with the laws of the state -- in which you've been pulled over.

If you're lucky, you'll meet a friendly state trooper who lets you off with a warning. At worst, you could face a fine or possibly jail time, depending on the mood of said officer. The best way to get around this situation is to familiarize yourself with the towing regulations of all of the states you intend to pass through. Quick, what do Texas and Washington have on common? They're the only two states that require coaches with vehicles in tow to observe a speed limit of 60 miles per hour [source: Hitch Me Up ].

In general, many states set a speed limit of 65 for coaches with vehicles in tow; others set a limit of 55 mph. This is a good example of how towing regulations can change when you cross state lines, and why you should be aware that they often do. Another regulation that can vary wildly by state is the maximum allowable weight for what you're towing -- be it a car or a trailer. Some states rely on the federal bridge formula -- that calculates the amount of weight based on how much is carried per axel.

Other states have their own determinations. Colorado allows a gross vehicle weight of 54, pounds, while Iowa allows 80, pounds [source: Towing World ].

You'll also want to have a good idea of your combined gross vehicle weight. This is the total weight for your RV, your towed cargo, all of the passengers, fuel -- anything found aboard the RV and tow vehicle that has weight.

Most states offer public scales for you to weigh your RV and tow set-up. They're usually found just off major highways.

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Some are operated by the state, while others are found on the premises of private businesses that use scales to weigh shipping cargo, like dairy farms. Either way, you'll likely be charged a fee. It'll be worth the money to know you're complying with state laws, however. Before you leave on an extended trip with your RV and tow set-up, list the states you plan on traveling through.

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Beside each state, list different regulations that pertain to your situation, like allowable height and weight. You can use this as a handy reference guide. Be sure to also keep a full print out of the regulations of every state in your RV; you never know when a detour from your original path will tempt you. The requirement your vehicle have insurance also varies by state; some states require it, while others don't.

Read the next page to get a clearer picture of why you should be insured to the teeth when you're towing with your RV.

State by State RV and Towing Laws

Advantages and Disadvantages of RV Towing. Prev NEXT. RV Towing Laws by State. Hey, pardner! If you're crossing state lines, you'd better familiarize yourself with different regulations for towing!I would encourage you to have supplemental braking. One in 5 that have ever towed has had a breakaway if for no other reason. The additional braking will help you on long downhill grades and emergency stopping.

While there are many good braking systems, the best that we have used and now have is the Air Force One. I am sure that others will chime in about their braking systems.

Agree with Mrboyer. Particularly with a small gas coach, I would have supplemental brakes on ANY toad. Great feedback. So how does everyone feel about a tow dolly and any suggestions on a model or brand? A tow dolly adds another level of complexity. I would only use one if doing so allows you to not buy a new vehicle that you can tow 4 wheels down.

I had a manual car that was at end of lease. I got an automatic without thinking it through so that my 16 year old could use during after school activities.

Well now I am in a pickle. So I believe a dolly is my only options at this point. Having that said, I am thinking of one that would handle about lbs like this guy. Remember the tongue weight is counted in your GVWR and a tow dolly has a lot more tongue weight than towing on all fours I use a RV2 brake Desert deals that is incorrect. For example a 4 wheel 2 axle trailer has to have brakes on at least one axle unless over a certain weight.

A trailer made out of a pickup box requires no brakes,A small snowmobile trailer requires no brakes etc. Toads in BC do not require supplemental brake unless over lbs.

towing car laws

I would not pull a toad with a gasser without a supplemental brake system personally. I currently pull a Grand Vitara 4x4 with my 41ft Allegro bus without a system as the two stage engine brake and chassis air brakes are sufficient. In the great State of Texas any thing being towed over lbs requires brakes. But I would check with your States requirements and also check with your insurance company to see what they require. If you are in a state that requires brakes and you do not have them on your tow and are involved in an accident, your fault or not you could be held responsible and your insurance may not pay off.

Be safe and check. Easy install and an excellent unit. I believe with a tow dolly you would have brakes on the dolly????

This would most likely qualify as the brakes because many states do require it. Also, if something does happen, even if not your fault, without brakes, when required, it could become your fault, and your insurance company or should I say former company because you would probably be dropped could give you a hard time about paying a claim if you are not following the brake requirements.

Also, many camp grounds, RV parks, RV Resorts make you store the dolly somewhere other than your site. I highly recommend some kind of braking system for those just in case moments that we hope will never happen. Remember - motorhome braking systems are designed to stop the motorhome and "aid" in stopping the in tow whether it be a trailer, vehicle, etc.

A quick google of state laws for towing a car behind a motorhome will show you most states require a braking system.Use the clutch to pull away gently to prevent yanking on the rope suddenly, which can cause the tow rope to break, and avoid any sudden braking because the towed driver may not be able to react quickly enough to stop — tap gently instead to warn them. Similarly, indicate in plenty of time and avoid any sudden changes of direction or excessive manoeuvres, as the driver being towed will find it hard to steer and brake with you.

Before you set off, make sure the ignition switch is in the 'on' position to disengage the steering lock and make it easier for you to steer the broken down car.

towing car laws

Actively steer and brake your vehicle in synchronisation with the towing vehicle and keep some tension in the towrope or towing pole at all times by applying light braking pressure to minimise any jolting.

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towing car laws

Both parties involved in the towing mission must remember the following: An 'On Tow' sign must be placed at the back of the vehicle being towed When the vehicles are attached solely by a rope or chain, the maximum distance allowed between the vehicles is 4.

You need to take everything slow and steady — never exceed 15 mph. How to free a car stuck in mud — a step by step guide Towing capacity: how to work it out 12 ways you could accidentally invalidate your car insurance. Buy now. Driving advice How to. Get our best motoring stories, delivered. Get the latest news, reviews and offers to help keep your motoring costs down.

Popular in advice 1. You might also like. Sign up for our newsletter Get the latest news, advice, reviews and offers to help keep your motoring costs down. Privacy policy Accessibility Cookie policy.The two-wheeled tow dolly is an intermediate vehicle-towing choice.

It represents a compromise between towing with all four wheels on the ground and using a trailer, and as such, it falls into a gray area in terms of freeway regulations. Two-wheel tow dollies are legal on all U. Some states require all trailers to be registered and plated, where others do not require license plates for trailers under a certain weight.

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Because the dolly itself is lightweight, it is exempt from laws requiring trailers over a certain weight to have braking systems, but some states take the weight of the towed vehicle into account and expect tow dollies to have emergency braking systems. Some states also require that the car being towed be licensed and registered, while others do not. Most states' motor vehicle departments have the proper guidelines posted online.

When traveling between states, the regulations of your home state will apply; thus, a tow dolly that comes from a state that does not require registration and licensing is still legal when traveling through a state that does.

Safety equipment laws change from state to state, but when towing a car with a dolly, safety chains should always be used. If the dolly does not have lights, magnetic auxiliary towing lights can be attached directly to the towed vehicle. This article was written by the It Still Works team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information.

To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Works, contact us. Basic Safety Safety equipment laws change from state to state, but when towing a car with a dolly, safety chains should always be used. About the Author This article was written by the It Still Works team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information.You can use a rope or a chain to tow a car but the best solution is a special towing strap.

Do you know about these eight laws that affect motorists? However, the law does give one exemption:. An exemption from the driver licensing trailer limit allows a category B licence holder to tow a broken down vehicle from a position where it would otherwise cause danger or obstruction to other road users, to a point of safety.

This is most easily done by tying a piece of brightly coloured cloth in the middle of the rope or chain. Read our guide to what to do if you break down.

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Carlton Boyce Carlton Boyce is an ex-prison governor who now spends his time as a freelance journalist. Subscribe today and get access to our exclusive membership programme, free.Written by WebAdmin on January 26, Posted in Uncategorized. However, most states have very fluid towing laws and the laws are not enforced too stringently. There are a few general rules pertaining to trailers that carry higher weights that require breakaway switches that automatically engage in case the trailer disengages from the car.

Brakebuddy : Brakebuddy offers an interactive map with a good guide to general towing laws, broken down by state. AA1Car : Has very good information on trailer brakes, which are very important for trailer safety. Trailer Towing Laws : Provides a list of things you should focus on when towing, like if your clearance lights work and if you have proper reflectors.

They also explain how RV towing regulations work. The United States Department of Transportation : Provides excellent tips on towing as well as a list of excellent safety tips for people who are towing. They also have information about measuring weight and other useful guidelines. Alaska Trailer Laws : Laws are very strict where trailers have to be titled and registered! They also have information on boat donation for boaters. RVSafely : Has a very detailed list of road laws for every state that anyone driving an RV must follow.

You will also find pages on car donation in northern California on the site. RVersOnline : Has a list of practical tips for first-timers. ReadyBreak : Lets you search towing laws by state. Also provides information about whether a trailer requires license or tail lights, insurance or safety chains.

Worldwide RV : Has a list of informative towing laws. It also explains if you are allowed to triple-tow and explains how long the length of two vehicles combined can be. TowingWorld : Provides information on towing laws by state. Department of Transport : Has a list of general rules and regulations. Leave a comment.

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