By Gail Marsh
The good news? We planned to travel to a warmer climate for the winter! The bad news? The transporter who had agreed to take our motorcycle to Florida backed out at the last minute. We really didn’t have the time to investigate another carrier, but we did consider triple towing.
If you aren’t familiar with the term “triple towing,” you’re not alone. The term refers to pulling two trailers behind your tow vehicle. (It’s also sometimes called “double towing.”) We considered purchasing a trailer and transporting the motorcycle on our own. Here’s what we found out:
Is it legal?
- Some states allow triple towing. Others do not. Here is a list of states that currently allow triple towing: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah.
- Laws change, so it’s best to call the DMV and/or Highway Patrol for each state you’ll drive through. (Or check out their websites.) Tickets can be expensive. That’s bad enough, but you might end up having to make two trips to get the second trailer to your destination.
- In the states that allow triple towing, there may be a maximum length limit. This limit includes the tow vehicle plus additional add-ons.
- The speed limit for triple towing can vary from state to state. In addition, speed limits within one state may vary too.
- Keep in mind that all states have weight limitations. Know your total weight before you start out!
- Some places (like Michigan and California) require you to have a special endorsement on your driver’s license to triple tow. Again, know before you go!
Is it safe?
- Starting and stopping times will take longer when triple towing. Factor this in. Maintain extra space between you and the vehicle ahead of you. Give yourself extra room and time when merging into the flow of traffic.
- The extra weight of add-ons will put additional stress on your braking system. Safety chains and/or breakaway brakes are recommended.
- It may be more difficult to see behind you when triple towing. Make sure to extend rearview mirrors. Consider purchasing a rear camera for better visibility.
- Each towable will need proper registration along with illuminated license plates.
- Make sure all brake lights and turn signal lights are working. Put safety reflectors on the sides of all trailers so others will see the total length of your rig and towables.
Is triple towing for you?
- This is a personal decision based on your driving experience, ability, and comfort level. If you’re not sure, take a test drive on a quiet road. See how the towables react when you change lanes, brake, accelerate, and more. Drive at a variety of speeds to test the overall stability of the triple tow. Try driving at the maximum speed you expect to maintain while on the road to determine the speed you’re most comfortable driving.
- Think about your planned route. Can you adjust it to avoid big cities during rush hour? Would a revised route avoid sharp turns or narrow roads?
- Be sure your overnight stays provide a spot that is long enough to accommodate your extended rig. Also, double-check that overnight campground guarantees a pull-through spot. Backing up with additional towables is next to impossible for most of us.
In the end, we decided against triple towing. (It’s illegal in Florida anyway.) We have until next year to decide how to get our motorcycle to Florida. There are options. Some people purchase a toy hauler to transport their “extras.” While that’s a bit too much for our budget, we can afford to look into a hitch mount that fits directly on the back of our RV. One way or another we’ll get that motorcycle to Florida!