Ask A Trooper

Sgt. Jesse Grabow

Question: I am getting ready for the fishing opener. Do I need working lights on my boat trailer even though the rear lights on my pickup can be seen? It’s a small boat and trailer and doesn’t block the lights on the back of my pickup.

  Answer: Yes, your trailer lights still need to be hooked up and working on the trailer. Every vehicle or trailer that is being drawn at the end of a train of vehicles, registered in this state and manufactured or assembled after January 1, 1960, must be equipped with at least two tail lamps mounted on the rear and on the same level and as widely spaced laterally as practicable. When lighted, the tail lamps must comply with the provisions of state statutes.

  Some general safety reminders when pulling a trailer:

• Check lights before every trip and regularly throughout the trip.

• Adjust rear vision mirrors or use auxiliary rear vision mirrors to optimize rear visibility.

• Reduce your speed when towing.

• Increase following distance. State law requires you to maintain 500 ft. interval in rural areas.

• Be aware of the increased effects of wind gusts and passing vehicles when towing a trailer.

• Secure loads from shifting, falling or leaking.

• Check tires for proper inflation and for defects.

• Service wheel bearings regularly and check often.

• Stop every 100 miles to check trailer, load, and hitch.

  A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205.  (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at,