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A Safe Guide to Towing Doubles

Pulling two trailers or a combination of cars and trailers behind your rig is referred to as towing doubles. Many RVers also use the phrase triple towing in reference to the three rigs driving in tandem. Regardless, the state laws vary and pulling multiple trailers requires some serious consideration to operate safely.

Common Configurations

The setup varies according to your needs but most folks are towing the following:

RV – Vehicle – Trailer – The RV is tasked with towing a utility vehicle and a trailer with a boat, gear or a motorcycle/ATV. Ideally, that final trailer is lightweight to prevent overloading your RV engine. This configuration limits you to highway routes and established roadways. After reaching a long-term campsite however, you have the benefit of a comfortable home and a vehicle to go exploring.

Tow Vehicle – Travel Trailer – Trailer – This double trailer setup requires a heavy duty towing vehicle unless both trailers are exceptionally lightweight. For example, towing a small fiberglass travel trailer and small fishing boat is possible with most V6 and V8 pickups designed to haul reasonable loads. Heavier campers however will require

Tow Vehicle – Fifth Wheel – Trailer – Again, the tow vehicle must be heavy duty here. The fifth wheel is often large and heavy and a capable truck is mandatory. The fifth wheel does however act more like an extension of the vehicle because the load is placed over the chassis and not the tongue. This makes towing behind a fifth wheel a viable

Before committing to the third trailer, consider all of the available options. For example, if your extra trailer is used to haul a motorcycle or ATV, you might consider using a hitch mount storage system or hauling that extra rig in your truck bed. If consolidating is not possible and you really need that extra trailer, start by checking the state laws to ensure your route is legal. After that, it’s time to work through the setup and running a few practice rounds to get comfortable.

State Towing Laws

Towing doubles is illegal in many of the eastern states but the western states are available for people towing doubles. You can legally tow doubles in the following states:

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah

Laws are always subject to change and you should double check before hitting the road. Plan your route and cross reference the state laws. You can even call the highway department for each state to confirm you are legal and able to drive through.

Driving Safely

Before you put the vehicle in drive, every connection and light must be thoroughly tested. The maximum trailer tongue weight and towing load for your vehicle is listed in your manual and you should never pull the maximum. Spare at least one-third of the maximum to leave a safety net and ensure you maintain control of both trailers on the road.

After setting up your tow system to pull both trailers, you must wire them together to have functioning lights and blinkers. Adding a safety flag and oversized tow lights is prudent as well. Light extensions are available, or you can custom wire the connections directly from your pickup. Test them thoroughly to ensure everything is functioning before attempting to drive.

Take a few practice runs on quiet stretches of highway before making a long trip. Early mornings are ideal when traffic is low. Drive at variable speeds to test your stability. Reach the maximum speed you will drive on the highway and check your breaks as well. Air brakes are a nice addition to slow down while towing a heavy load. The inertia is elevated and great brakes are mandatory for a safe drive.

After everything is dialed and road ready, invest some time in route planning. The downside to double towing is the inability to simply pull over anywhere. You will stick to the highways, take breaks at large rest stops and refuel at large truck stops where space is available to pull through the pumps.

Avoid unplanned stops and always avoid city driving where tight turns and narrow roads are required. If you must pass through these areas, plan your route to avoid the traffic and drive through busy areas at night or early morning. Finding yourself making a tight turn in heavy traffic is stressful but you can avoid this issue by creating and following a strict schedule.

This Blog is Published by Coastal Breeze Rv Resort – Rockport, Texas