Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Roads and Routes: double trailers
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Joined: 09/30/2019

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Posted: 09/30/19 09:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Does anyone have the for sure scoop on pulling 2 trailers? More specifically in PA and NY. I am leaving MT at the end of the week, and have pulled 2 as far as Wisconsin without issue.

Everything I google says doubles (for some reason they call it a triple, which it is not)for RVs is not aloud in the east. Technically, my medium duty truck is considered a "tractor" in most states, and I know double trailers are aloud behind those.

I did find something on their DOT websites stating what roads they are supposedly aloud on, but I would like 1st hand experience if someone has it. Also am getting conflicting info on what is regulated, total length or length from hitch to axles. Because it is a "tractor", I believe it is the hitch to axle length. which makes more sense when you are looking at navigating the roads out there.

I have a truck, 5th wheel, and either a boat or UTV on a trailer (depending on my destination) for the second trailer.


near Jawbone Canyon, CA

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Posted: 09/30/19 11:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"but I would like 1st hand experience if someone has it. Also am getting conflicting info on what is regulated, total length or length from hitch to axles."

Instead of rumors and "maybes," why not review an authoritive source? Good Sam!

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Desert SW

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Posted: 09/30/19 12:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Triple towing are not allowed in those two states for recreational vehicles. It's called triple towing (as it relates to RV's) based on how many items are in that attached group, not how many items are being towed. There are separate rules for commercial DOT trucking that are different for private RV's regardless what they look like or can be considered.

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ford truck guy


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Posted: 09/30/19 12:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

From this site - clicky

Triple towing is allowed in the following states:

New Mexico
North Dakota
South Dakota

I will say this, I really ONLY stay on the East Coast and see a few tripple tows in my travels, I also know a few on the Redwood forum that has done, or does now Tripple tow. They have stated that they have NEVER had a second look from a LEO.... They were told by a couple of LEO's that unless you really LOOK UNSAFE, you wont be bothered.

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Harrisburg, PA

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Posted: 09/30/19 12:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

These two sites should tell you all you need to know.

PA Size and weight

PA Code

It should be clear as mud after reading that.

The killer may be on the first link. It limits the size of your double trailers. Neither one may be over 28 feet.

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Central Square, NY

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Posted: 09/30/19 12:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Double towing is illegal in NY and PA. Also illegal in most eastern US states.


Blythewood, SC

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Posted: 09/30/19 12:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you go the page referenced by Ford Truck Guy you will find some caveats and exceptions. One is in many states if you want to “triple tow” the thing in the middle has to be a fifth wheel.

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McKinney, Texas

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Posted: 09/30/19 01:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

With out of state plates you will probably be less likely to be hassled by LEOs than if you had in state plates. But you might also be the one that encounters that one officer who pulls you over. He/she would probably make you drop one trailer, tow it somewhere and park it, and come back for the other. Of course you could wait a while, hook both back up, and proceed on your way hoping he/she went the other way. But that could backfire if you were pulled over by another LEO. I as driving my DW’s car with her as passenger. Was running about 10 over the limit when I noticed an LEO following behind. After several minutes he turned on his lights. He said the reason he pulled me over was that his check showed the vehicle had recently been pulled over for another traffic infraction. My DW sheepishly admitted she had been pulled over a few days before for rolling thru a stop sign. He let me off. So a previous stop might show up to a second officer.

And yes, triple tow is a much disputed term. But like it or not, triple tow is a common term used in the RV world magazines, stories, and articles and is here to stay.


The Keystone State

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Posted: 09/30/19 02:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Commercial Double Trailers are regulated in Pennsylvania.
RV's are NOT ALLOWED to triple tow in Pennsylvania.
Even if your medium duty truck is technically a tractor, you will have to comply with the commercial regulations in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Vehicle Code - Title 75:
§ 4904. Limits on number of towed vehicles.
(a) General rule.--No motor vehicle shall be operated upon a highway towing more than one other vehicle except as otherwise provided in this section.

§ 4908. Operation of certain combinations on interstate and certain other highways.

(a) General rule.--Combinations authorized by section 4904(e) (relating to limits on number of towed vehicles) to have two trailers may be driven only on the types of highways and under the limitations set forth below:

(1) On the designated national network consisting of all interstate highways and portions of Federal aid primary highways having at least a 48-foot-wide roadway or two 24-foot-wide roadways and designated by the department as capable of safely accommodating such vehicles.

(2) Between the designated national network and a terminal or a facility for food, fuel, repair or rest having an entrance within the access limitation prescribed by Federal Highway Administration regulation of the nearest ramp or intersection, but only on highways having lanes at least ten feet wide.

(3) On highways marked with traffic route signs having travel lanes at least ten feet in width unless prohibited by the department on State highways or the municipality on local highways based on safety reasons and marked with signs prohibiting such vehicles.

(4) Between the highways authorized under paragraph (3) and a terminal or facility for food, fuel, repair or rest having an entrance within one-half road mile of the nearest ramp or intersection, but only on highways having lanes at least ten feet wide.

(5) Approval of a highway other than as designated under paragraphs (1) through (4) shall be obtained from the:

(i) City in the case of a highway in a city.

(ii) Department in the case of a State highway not in a city, except that the department will, upon request, delegate authority to approve routes under this subsection to a municipality which has been delegated authority to issue permits under section 420 of the act of June 1, 1945 (P.L.1242, No.428), known as the State Highway Law.

(iii) Municipality in the case of a local highway not in a city.



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Posted: 09/30/19 06:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

No it's not called triple tow as it relates to RVs. It's only called triple towing by those who don't know any better. Many of the RV websites are included in that list of those who don't know any better. Those sites are compiled by people who have no legal training and no knowledge of the law. They interject their opinions.
By legal definition what you are discussing is double tow. That is the way it is defined by Fed DOT and state statutes. If you call any state police or DOT and ask about triple towing they will assume you are talking about pulling 3 trailers which is legal in some states. If you want the correct information you have to learn the correct terminology. Towing 2 trailers in whatever configuration is double towing, not triple towing.
Most states that allow double towing only allow the first to be a 5th wheel. What is allowed for the 2nd trailer varies by state. For example, in IL the only allowed 2nd trailer is boat, ATV, motorcycle or personal watercraft.
You also need to check overall allowed length as it varies greatly by state. Each state sets their own overall length law. One state may grant 70 ft, another 60 ft.
It doesn't matter where you're registered or what your home state allows. You have to comply with the state law in which you are traveling.
"Technically" your truck is not a "tractor". It's a tow vehicle. Thinking your truck a "tractor" and somehow you can then get by under commercial vehicle laws won't fly. You are not acting in a commercial vehicle operation. The laws for RV and commercial vehicles are entirely different. When you are pulling your RV you are not commercial. Forget anything about commercial vehicle laws. They do not apply. Nor do you want to somehow claim you're a commercial vehicle. As a commercial vehicle a LEO does not need any reason to stop you. We can stop you just to conduct a commercial motor vehicle inspection. That means we can go thru your vehicle. No probable cause or reasonable suspicion necessary. It's part of the inspection process. I can assure you that you wouldn't be able to pass a commercial vehicle inspection. Within minutes of starting an inspection you'd have enough violations where you'd be placed out of service and sitting with a pocket full of citations. If you want to claim commercial vehicle then the first thing I'll ask for is a bill of lading. Everything in your trailer better be listed. Also on the bill is where it is being shipped from and to. Not shipping anything anywhere? Then you aren't commercial.
If you want to know what is legal in the states you are traveling then your best bet is to contact the state police/highway patrol in the states you will traveling. When you call here are some tips:
1) Ask for a sworn officer familiar with traffic laws. Many places have non-sworn (non cops) answering the phones. They're dispatchers or call takers. They have no legal training but some think they know the laws and will give answers that are wrong. They act outside the scope of their knowledge and authority. Seems to be a common problem with dispatchers and call takers.
2) Use the correct terminology. If you are pulling 2 trailers then you are double towing. If you say triple towing then the officer will assume you have 3 trailers behind your truck. Also, be sure to clarify that your first towed trailer is a 5th wheel or a straight trailer if that is the case. Laws vary for each.
3) Calling DOT may or may not be the correct office to call depending on the state. For states like IL then DOT is absolutely the wrong place to call. In IL DOT does the road maintenance. They have no authority nor any knowledge of laws. That's not their job. They don't write tickets, we don't fix roads.
4) Who ever you talk to doesn't care what you think the law should be. If you knew the law you wouldn't be calling to ask. I can't tell you the number of times I fielded a call, gave the person the correct legal answer and then they wanted to argue what they thought the law should say. We don't care. Most don't really want to know the correct answer. They just want someone in authority to tell them it's OK to do what they want to do even if it does violate the law. We're not your mother. We don't pat you on the head and tell you it's OK to continue with what you're doing.
5) What ever information you are given no one cares if you agree with it or want to do something else. Again, if a person knew the law then they wouldn't be calling.
6) The most important point - The fat guy wearing a flannel shirt sitting around the campfire is not a legal expert. Most likely he's more full of beer and himself than he is legal knowledge. Just because he spouts off like he thinks he knows the law - he doesn't.
You asked for someone with 1st hand experience. Here's mine. I was in LE 42 years. I was one of 2 of the first LEOs in the state to be certified on motor carrier safety enforcement. I taught truck and traffic law for a number of years. I was recognized by the state courts as an expert witness for truck and traffic laws. I consulted with our state legislature, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Fed DOT on truck and traffic laws and enforcement. So I've had more than just a bit of passing experience with truck and traffic laws.

* This post was edited 09/30/19 07:36pm by Wadcutter *

Camped in every state

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