Can I tow a trailer behind my 5th wheel in California?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Can I tow a trailer behind my 5th wheel in California? We will discuss the safety issues concerning triple towing and whether you can use an alternative. 

Can I tow a trailer behind my 5th wheel in California?

Towing a trailer behind a 5th wheel is called Triple Tow and it is admitted in California. However, the Maximum Vehicle Length should not be more than 65 feet, and the Maximum speed limit should exceed 55 mph. Below you can find out in which states it is legal to triple tow. 

Triple Towing in the United States:

State:Triple Tow Allowed:
AlabamaNo
AlaskaYes
ArizonaYes
ArkansasYes
CaliforniaYes
ColoradoYes
ConnecticutYes
DelawareNo
FloridaNo
GeorgiaNo
HawaiiYes
IdahoYes
IllinoisNo
IndianaYes
IowaYes
KansasNo
KentuckyYes
LouisianaYes
MaineNo
MarylandNo
MassachusettsNo
MichiganNo
MinnesotaNo
MississippiNo
MissouriYes
MontanaYes
NebraskaYes
NevadaNo
New HampshireNo
New JerseyNo
New MexicoYes
New YorkNo
North CarolinaYes
North DakotaYes
OhioYes
OklahomaNo
OregonNo
PennsylvaniaYes
Rhode IslandNo
South CarolinaYes
South DakotaYes
TennesseeYes
TexasNo
UtahYes
VermontYes
VirginiaNo
WashingtonNo
West VirginiaNo
WisconsinNo
WyomingNo

Other questions you may be interested in

Can a fifth wheel hitch be removed?

Can a Honda Ridgeline pull a 5th wheel?

Are gooseneck 5th Wheel Adapters safe?

Do you need a license to triple tow?

You don’t need a different licence to triple tow. The rules that apply are the same as towing a caravan/trailer in general. 

 If the trailer has a GVWR (permissible total weight) less than or equal to 750 kg, then the B permit is enough provided that the trailer is always lighter than the towing vehicle and that the assembly does not exceed 3, 5 tons. For some vehicles, it is possible to go beyond this depending on the weight. Boxes F2 and F3 of your vehicle registration document are valid.

Conversely, if you opt for a trailer with a GVWR greater than 750 kg and within the limit of 3,500 kg, you must have the B+E license (cumulative GVWR less than 4,250 kg). 

On the other hand, no information is communicated on this point concerning the fact of using two trailers… Still, with two trailers, you will certainly exceed the 4,250 kg of GVW (vehicle + trailers), which would require you to obtain the B and E categories. 

Over 500 kg, a trailer must have its own license plate and therefore have its own registration card. If overcoming the 750 kg limit, the braking system is mandatory.

The ideal speed for driving well with a trailer behind your 5th wheel

To drive well with a trailer, there is absolutely no need to rush. So, if you have a deadline to meet, you have to take a large margin of time to avoid delays. Indeed, with a trailer, it is indispensable to avoid jolts, even more with two or three trailers.

While the law may allow a speed of 180 on some roads and this is quite doable with a trailer, the point is, it can be dangerous, both for you and for other road users. Thus, to drive a trailer safely, you have to take wider turns than with a regular car in order to leave its own space for the trailer and thus round off the trajectory. 

Braking and acceleration will also have to be smoother than usual. This also includes increasing the safety distance with other cars because the load on the trailer increases the braking distance by 20 to 30%, within addition the significant presence of parasitic reactions to be managed at the wheel if it must brake urgently. 

The engine brake must be applied more than usual so that the brake system does not overheat. Excessive speed is prohibited when transporting a trailer because the consequences may be harmful: the tires of the trailer will heat up, manoeuvring may occur and it may become tense, etc. 

It is therefore strongly recommended while waiting to stay in the right lane during long descents of the motorway while downshifting to save the brakes but also not to go too fast. If a vehicle is moving slower and you have to overtake it, you must be careful to take the length of the coupling into account and avoid falling back too quickly. 

It is also very important to stay awake to everything the road has to inform: anticipating bumps, tight turns, potholes, etc. by having a broad view of everything that is going on. It can also be used when parking is necessary as parking possibilities are not obvious with a trailer.

Backing up with a trailer

Backing up a trailer requires experience. You have to do it little by little if you are new to the subject. There are vehicles with a rearview camera in the presence of a trailer as is the case of Volkswagen with its Trailer Assist but this kind of gadget is only a little help; most of the work is done by the driver. 

To begin with, you should know that a trailer reverses unlike a car: if you steer to the right, the trailer will reverse to the left and vice versa. Next, it is important to consider that the balances are fragile and this requires great care: beyond a certain steering angle, the trailer may feather and oversteer suddenly. 

It is therefore advisable to back up in small steps and as slowly as possible. Before you think about backing up in a cramped place, you should first think about training in a more spacious place.

Anticipate overconsumption when towing a trailer behind your 5th wheel

Driving a trailer well also includes anticipating overconsumption. It may be inevitable given the moving mass that one has to lug around, even while driving at an adequate speed. 

Therefore, it is necessary to know how to make a significant mark on the fuel side because a diesel vehicle that consumes 7 l/100 in normal times can consume 10 l/100 with a trailer.

Why towing a trailer behind your 5th wheel is a bad idea

Having two trailers behind your car involves the use of two joints. In the absence of a trailing axle, significant skidding would have to be taken into account and some trajectories could be complex. 

Likewise, insurers will not be too willing to support you on this. It can be riskier, if only with a puncture or loss of control. And what about the rear steps? Therefore, I recommend that you think of an alternative.

In special cases, such as small tourist road trains, an exemption allows them to hitch up to three trailers … But they are subject to a prefecture traffic authorization and meet constraints.

Alternatives to towing a trailer behind your 5th wheel

Finally, you should rather orient yourself towards buying one large trailer rather than two small ones. You will have much better handling. You will also be checked less often… And above all, if a loss occurs, you will have much less problem with your insurer. Even if the idea of ​​the trailer train is attractive, it is not recommended (unless strictly prohibited in the state you live in).

Conclusion

Driving with a tow trailer behind a 5 wheel is not the same as driving without it, especially if you are the driver. It is necessary to be well informed about it before getting started but be careful, you must first practice and gain enough experience before making long journeys or carrying heavy masses.

We wish you a safe journey and please let us know if you have any questions or comments on the content.

FAQ on Can I tow a trailer behind my 5th wheel in California

Is it legal to pull a trailer behind a fifth wheel?

In some states, such as California, Idaho, Nebraska or Tennessee, it is legal to pull a trailer behind a fifth wheel. It is called a triple towing.

How much weight can you pull behind a 5th wheel?

You will have to research the laws in your state, but generally, the weight you can pull behind a 5th wheel is 6000 lbs with 600 lbs of tongue weight.

Can you tow a camper and a boat at the same time?

In California, you can tow a camper and a boat at the same time. This would allow the towing of a boat trailer behind a gooseneck or bumper hitch camping trailer.

Is it illegal to have a hitch on your truck when not towing in CA?

In CA it is not illegal to have a hitch on your truck when not towing. However, you must make sure that the ball hitches on the bumper do not obstruct the licence plate. 

References

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