triple towing and youIf you browse my blog you will notice I have written a few articles focusing on RVing, some have asked why. Well, the answer is simple, not only do I work with commercial vehicles, I love traveling around in our RV. As such I am part of several RV specific forums and groups. Many people in these groups are starting to get spring fever and are looking forward to the months ahead and adventures they hold. One topic is starting to pop up again, towing more than one trailer. It generally starts with someone posting a picture of their set up, shining truck, a trailer, and gulp, another trailer behind. You can almost hear a collective gasp of horror! Can you tow more than one trailer? Is it safe? Then you start reading pros, cons, laws and “expert” opinions some of which is true and some not so true.

Towing more than one trailer is more commonly called triple towing though some do call it double towing. What will shock some readers is that it is perfectly legal to do in some states and provinces, not all. The rules governing it also varies between jurisdictions in regards to license classes, weights, hitch types and total length. What also varies is ever changing laws. It is also something the novice towing driver shouldn’t do until they get more experience with towing just one trailer. It’s not for the faint-hearted as it is more challenging, though done right it can be perfectly safe to do.

The first thing a driver who is considering towing more then one trailer needs to do is find out state/provincial law where they live and or passing through. If you can’t do it legally then what’s the point to read on unless you are just looking to become more informed about the topic, and I do hope you are. If your jurisdiction says it’s legal then you have to find out:

What license class do I need, is what I have ok?

Some places do require drivers to upgrade their license in order to tow more than one trailer. This may require road testing, written testing, medical clearances and will likely cost money to maintain. Be sure you have the correct class of license to tow your vehicle combination if you don’t you may be fined and your insurance may deny your claim in the event of an accident because you would be an unlicensed driver.

For Ontario-based drivers, there is false impression that you have to upgrade your license to a class A Restricted, no you don’t, in fact if you have that specific class you can not triple tow! I have more information on this class of license here.

Do I have the right vehicle?

This is a multi-part answer because the right vehicle does mean more than one thing here.

Generally speaking most state and provincial laws dictate the class of vehicle allowed to triple tow. In Ontario, for example, it’s a motor home, truck camper or commercial motor vehicle. It should be noted, pick up truck despite it’s very common recreational and personal use is actually classed as commercial even if you never use it as such. This is true in most jurisdictions.

Second is your vehicle up to the task? Is it the right spec for your combination? Do you have enough truck? A thing to note here is that just saying I have a 1500 or 2500 is not enough information to go on when asking if you have enough truck. Builds are so varied that you have to check YOUR truck not my truck as our builds can be totally different even if they are the same make,  model and year, making mine work and yours not work. (The best way to find out your trucks actual limits is grabbing your VIN and calling the manufacture, by that they can tell you every limit you need to know and there is no guess work. Asking on the internet will not give you the actual true answer and will cause gray hair.) Your vehicle has to be able to safely tow and stop your combination so the matching vehicle to trailer(s) is very important.

Do I have the correct hitch?

This is an interesting one. Some places require the first vehicle to be a fifth wheel type hitch and the second can be something else, commonly a ball. This is not true in all states and provinces that allow more than one vehicle being towed. Ontario, for example, does allow two ball hitches trailers! Crazy as it seems it is perfectly legal here. It just can’t sway excessively but any trailer should not sway excessively anyways. If yours does, get off the road!!! White knuckle driving like this doesn’t win medals.

Weights and measures

Each jurisdiction does have max weights and lengths of the combination. Make sure yours fit into them.

Am I up to the task?

This is a tricky one. Towing more than one vehicle is not easy, it does take skill, patience, and good judgment. You MUST keep more room between you and the vehicle in front, like anything dealing with heavier vehicles your stopping distance increases with size and weight. My truck loaded with bricks will take longer to stop then if empty, remember that! Turning corners, backing up all of this will be very different. It will be more mentally tiring especially in traffic where everyone around is an idiot or at least that is what you have to drive like.

If you think you can’t do it then by all means don’t, it’s probably the best choice you can make, just don’t arbitrarily call it unsafe or illegal because your wrong on both accounts.  If you think you can, do what ever it takes to do it properly and safely.  I can even suggest getting some training  if that is at all available to you.

Going to other jurisdictions

Unlike license classes, there are no reciprocity agreements between states and provinces when it comes to towing laws. So if you do plan on traveling outside of your base state, know the law. Nothing is worse than having to drop one trailer and come back for the second.

Here’s a story

Finally, be sure you really are sure of the actual law. Going to tell you a little story about this one. Our Peter of Peter Suess Transportation Consultant Inc was going camping towing his combination of truck, fifth wheel and boat headed up to Owen Sound, we were following behind in our truck. An OPP officer drove by the opposite direction and we saw him slam on the breaks and turn around lights going. He pulled over Peter and firmly said while pointing to the rig, “this is illegal!” Now Peter had on him the Highway Traffic Act because he does use that information a lot, he is a transportation consultant. Peter asked the officer where that was in the HTA and if need be he had a copy. Of course, it is in the HTA but not what the officer thought it was. The officer was all confused asked for Peter’s license which for the record was an A, while not needed for that combination it certainly was more than enough and the officer said, have a nice day. The moral of the story is not everyone knows every law even law enforcement. So while we can get our knickers in a twist reading some expert opinion online remember, YOU have to find out what the actual law is so DO contact your state or province. Get it in writing!

When all is said and done towing more than one trailer if done properly can be just as safe as towing one, so go out and enjoy this summer.

You will note I did not provide any links to some of the more common websites listing laws for each state/province. Why, well because they show often incorrect information so please don’t rely on that type of list contact YOUR local office and get current up to date information.