Trooper Tips: Trailer Talk

RBC | Well it’s camping season again, and that means everyone is getting ready to head to the mountains with the family. A lot of you have camping trailers that you’ll be using on the weekends, so I wanted to talk a little about trailer safety.

It’s very important to make sure you and your family make it to your favorite camp site. So here are a few tips on making it safe, fun, and that you get there on time .

First let’s hit the basics. All trailers in Colorado must be registered, and have a license plate that is completely visible. This means you can’t put bikes or totes or anything else over the plate. It still needs to be visible to law enforcement and if it isn’t, can get you pulled over.

While we’re back there, make sure you have proper working lights on the trailer. You need brake lights and turn signals that can be seen for at least 500 feet.

Another item to check is your side view mirrors. You must be able to see at least 200 feet to the rear of your vehicle. This means the side view mirrors that came with your vehicle may not be adequate. You can get mirror extension at a store if you need them. So check those mirrors prior to starting the trip.

The height of the trailer can’t be more than 14 feet 6 inches, and the combined coupled units cannot have more than four units and be no longer than a total of 70 feet.

As far as loading the truck and trailer, please don’t overload the vehicles. None of the load can project beyond four feet of the front grille. It can’t extend beyond the sides of the vehicle and also can’t block any of the driver’s view.

Check your brakes prior to the trip and know that trailers with a weight of more than 3,000 pounds need to be equipped with brakes on all wheels.

As far as towing the trailer, make sure the distance between the vehicles doesn’t exceed 15 feet. Besides the drawbar, chains or cables are also required (unless it’s a fifth wheel) to ensure the trailer can’t break free from the power unit.

Last but not least, while traveling; no one can ride in the trailer.

I know this has been a huge amount of information in a short space, but I want you to have a fun and safe camping filled summer. Remember, only you can prevent forest fires, so please be careful out there. As always, safe travels!

By TROOPER GARY CUTLER | Colorado State Patrol