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Trailer in tow? Here’s what you need to know…

Trailers come in many shapes and sizes. They also put extra weight on your vehicle and increase the space you need to drive and stop safely.

Whether you’re towing a utility trailer, camper trailer or boat trailer, there are just a few things you should keep in mind to stay safe:

Meet your match. Never tow a trailer that is too large or too heavy for your vehicle. If you aren’t sure whether your trailer is a match to your vehicle, check with the dealer or manufacturer.

Get hitched. Bolt your hitch to the vehicle’s frame. There are two methods to attach your trailer to the hitch properly:

  • by tow-bar, which is connected to the hitch
  • by safety chains or cables, loose enough to allow you to turn right and left

Take a brake. By law, trailers weighing over 910 kg (2,000 lb) must have brakes. Law doesn’t require brakes on lighter trailers, but it’s not a bad idea to have them. If your trailer doesn’t have brakes, your vehicle’s brakes need to work that much harder.

Lighten up! Your trailer must have: one or more tail lights; one or more stop lights at the rear; red or amber turn signal lights; side marker lights (amber at the front and red at the rear); and a white license plate light.

  • Trailers that are 2.032 m (80 in) wide or wider also must have: amber clearance lights at the front; red clearance lights at the back; and red identification lights at the back.

Don’t fall flat. Keep your trailer’s tires at the pressure recommended by the manufacturer. Check the pressure before driving, when your tires are cold.


These tips and much more information is available in Manitoba Public Insurance’s Trailer Safety guide.

Learn more about SSM’s trailer towing course and find out how you can sign up!