How to ensure your trailer is safe, and legal

The quality of a home-made utility trailer can range from factory perfect to 'I'm amazed that it is still following you'

The quality of a home-made utility trailer can range from factory perfect to ‘I’m amazed that it is still following you.’

Licensing, lights and weight are the most common problems encountered by enforcement personnel at the roadside. With a little thought and knowledge, you can pull that extra load around safely.

All trailers, at minimum, need two yellow frontside marker lights and reflectors, two red rearside marker lights and reflectors, taillights, brake lights, rear reflectors and a licence plate light.

They must all be functional, even in full daylight. Depending on the dimensions of the trailer, additional clearance lights may be required.

“Borrowing” a licence plate from another trailer instead of properly licencing each trailer owned is surprisingly common. You cannot temporarily transfer utility licence plates among vehicles you already own. This is misuse of licence plates and is an offence that will result in a fine and possibly a tow truck.

Finally, let’s consider weight.

Many u-bilt utility trailers have a licenced weight of 700 kg. and this means that the weight of the trailer and everything carried by it cannot exceed 700 kg. even if the trailer is capable of carrying more.

Beware of overloading trailer components as well. Tires and axles have maximum weight capacities that cannot be exceeded.

For more information on this topic, visit www.drivesmartbc.ca. Questions or comments are welcome by e-mail to comments@drivesmartbc.ca. Tim Schewe is a retired RCMP constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. His column appears Friday.

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