Motor vehicle accidents can happen for all kinds of reasons—reckless driving, bad weather, poor road conditions, and hundreds more. One scenario we may not often consider is how dangerous it can be if cargo a moving vehicle is towing suddenly breaks free and strikes another vehicle. This is more than a hypothetical situation—in 2016, 474 people were killed in accidents involving passenger vehicles with rogue trailers.
If you are new to towing, or even if you already have some experience, it is wise to run through a checklist to make sure everything is in place before getting on the road. Our Panama City auto accident attorney shares some basic steps you can take to ensure you are towing cargo safely on the road.
Pulling a trailer behind another vehicle requires techniques that aren’t taught in Driver’s Ed. Even the process of hitching and unhitching a trailer from a tow vehicle requires detailed knowledge and forgetting even one step could compromise someone’s safety.
According to Florida Statute 316.515, a towing trailer cannot be longer than 40 feet, wider than 8.6 feet, and higher than 13.5 feet. The overall length of a vehicle and trailer combined should not exceed 65 feet. Double tandem towing—pulling more than one trailer with the same vehicle—is against the law.
Before towing anything, do a thorough check on your tow vehicle and trailer:
Each state has its own laws regarding whether towing requires special permits and licenses, which may be based on the size and weight of your trailer. If you’re traveling through other states, be sure to check their requirements ahead of your trip. We also recommend contacting your insurance company to make sure you have the proper coverage.
Here are some additional safety tips to keep in mind while towing a vehicle:
For more information, check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) in-depth guide on hitch systems, towing packages, and driving permits, Towing a Trailer: Being Equipped for Safety.
Our Panama City auto accident lawyers are available 24/7 to help those who have sustained serious injuries in Florida. If you or a loved one have been hurt in a car accident, contact us right away for free and confidential legal counsel regarding your case.