What You Need to Know About State Trailer Laws

If you have a trailer that you use to tow a boat, it is very important to stay fully informed of the local and state laws governing towing trailers at all times. Not only do these ordinances have a tendency to change without notice, leaving you in the dark on what’s acceptable practice and what’s not, if neglected, such laws also can pose several legal penalties and repercussions. It is also important to remember that these laws are also meant to protect you and other drivers on the road, as well as your towed assets.

Continue reading to learn what you need to know about Indiana trailer laws, including what to do when you need emergency trailer tow truck assistance.

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Trailer Widths and Wide-Load Permits

All states have a limit on boat trailer widths, but not all require a wide-load permit. Most states maintain the rule that if your trailer is less than 102 inches (8’6”) wide, a driver is not obligated under law to obtain a wide-load permit. On the other hand, there are a few states that do require a wide-load permit, regardless of whether or not a trailer meets these set limits. If a trailer is larger than these measurements, or has a wider beam than what is allowed in a particular state, a wide-load permit is required.

Here in Indiana, drivers must have a wide-load permit if their trailer exceeds 102 inches in width. When it comes to linking cargoes, the maximum length of 2 or more vehicles, including any cargo, is 60 feet. The maximum length for 3 or more vehicles including cargo is 65 feet. The maximum load size in length is 3 feet past the front and 4 feet past the rear. 

Interstate Travel and Wide-Load Permits

Although Indiana has their rules on boat trailer width restrictions, they may not match up with all the other states. For instance, in New York, the limit is 96 inches, compared to Indiana’s 102 inch rule. So if you are planning on taking a long-distance road trip with your boat trailer, be sure you have a wide-load permit for each state that you intend on passing though. You will need a separate permit for each state. If you fail to do this, you may be stopped by law enforcement and forced to change your trailer setup to adhere to each state law.

Indiana Trailer Dimension Laws:

Total Length – 65 feet
Trailer Length – 40 feet
Trailer Width – 102 inches
Trailer Height – 13 feet 6 inches

Trailer Brakes and Weight

The laws governing trailer brakes and weight vary from state to state. So again, if you plan on traveling through several states, you must be familiar with each state’s laws regarding these trailer systems. For instance, in Kentucky, boat trailer brakes are not required by law, but the trailer must be able to come to a complete stop within 40 feet on a level surface. In North Dakota, boat trailer brakes are not required by law unless the boat trailer does not have safety brakes. Here in Indiana, a boat trailer that weighs at least 3 tons must be equipped with brakes.

Indiana Trailer Hitch and Signal Laws

Here in Indiana, it is required by law for all trailers to be equipped with double safety chains. As for trailer lighting laws, a trailer has to have at least 1 rear-mounted red taillight that is clearly visible from up to 500 feet away. Furthermore, trailers must also have 2 or more rear-mounted white taillights that are mounted between 20 inches and 72 inches from the ground. These lights must be clearly visible from a distance of 50 feet and correctly wired so the headlights illuminate simultaneously with them.

⚠ This is not a comprehensive list of the United States Trailer Laws and Regulations. To learn more about Indiana state trailer laws and regulations, see Indiana Code Title 9. Motor Vehicles § 9-20-9-8.

Questions About Towing and Trailers?

Call Zore’s Inc. at 317-247-8484 for friendly 24 hour towing assistance and advice in Central Indiana. We open a family-owned and operated business for 90 years, so you can trust us for prompt and professional service. We are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year, so our certified tow truck operators can be there for you anytime, any day! Request free estimates, anytime.

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