The Michigan RV Towing Laws You Need to Know
November 25, 2019
With winter’s early arrival, it’s tempting to pack up your RV (recreational vehicle) and head for warmer locales. However, before you go, it’s important to familiarize yourself with current Michigan RV towing laws. Following these regulations, which include required safety features, will make your journey safer and more enjoyable.
Title and Registration Requirements
If your trailer weighs more than 2,500 lbs., you must obtain a title from the Michigan Secretary of State. All trailers, regardless of weight, must be registered and display a valid license plate.
Owners must have a title and registration for all trailer coaches; including pop-up campers, travel trailers, and fifth-wheel campers.
Required Safety Features
Trailers weighing 2,500 lbs. or more, which includes most RVs, must be equipped with turn signals. Further, they must have two red or amber rear stop lights visible from at least 100 feet at all times.
In addition, Michigan RV towing laws require the following equipment on trailers heavier than 3,000 lbs.:
- One rear stop light and an amber reflector near the front of each side
- A red reflector near the back of each side of the trailer
- Two amber clearance lights on the front of the vehicle and one on each side, visible from at least 500 feet
- Single red clearance lights near the rear of each side of the trailer
- Two red clearance lights on the back of the trailer
- Working brakes (trailers weighing over 5,500 lbs. must have brakes strong enough to stop the trailer’s movement and hold it in place)
Rules for “Recreational Doubles”
This term refers to a pickup truck pulling a fifth-wheel trailer, designed for recreational living purposes, with a second trailer attached to the rear. Sometimes called “fivers,” these trailers provide the greatest amount of comfort and living space.
Here are the Michigan RV towing laws specific to recreational doubles:
- The pickup truck must have a towing rating equal to, or greater than, the weight of the trailers it is towing
- To operate a recreational double, drivers must have an “R” endorsement on their license
- The total combined length of the three units — pickup truck, fifth-wheel trailer, and second trailer — must not exceed 75 feet
- The gross weight of the second trailer cannot exceed the empty weight of the pickup truck or the empty weight of the fifth-wheel trailer
- The hitch used to tow the second trailer must be attached to the frame of the fifth-wheel trailer
- Safety chains for the second trailer must be securely attached at the extreme outer edge of the fifth-wheel trailer with a locking mechanism
- A trailer cannot drift more than three inches to either side of the path of the towing vehicle when traveling in a straight line on a level, smooth, paved surface
How to Tow a Car Behind Your RV
Once you reach your destination, you may want to drive a less cumbersome vehicle, such as your car. If so, here are a few ways to transport your car while driving your RV.
- Use a tow bar to fasten your car behind your RV
This is the least expensive and easiest method of towing your car, also known as flat-towing or dinghy towing. Because all four wheels of the car remain on the ground, your tires will wear evenly.
- Use a car dolly
These devices, which attach directly to the RV, lift the front wheels of the car off the ground. However, your tires will wear unevenly unless you rotate them periodically during the trip.
- Put your car in an enclosed trailer
While this option is the most costly, it allows you to protect your car from weather damage, vandalism, and theft. In addition, you can use the trailer for other items such as bicycles, ATVs, or extra equipment.
- Have someone else drive your car
If you are traveling with others, you may want to enlist one of your passengers to drive your car in caravan with your RV. Or, you or the other passengers could take turns driving the car when you stop to rest or refuel.
Michigan towing laws are complicated, but finding the right attorney is simple.
Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, no-obligation consultation.