• Jan 31, 2009
Michigan is a state of contradictions. The authorities there are so worried about your focus on the road in front of you that it's illegal to hang anything on your rear-view mirror. Yet if you want to triple tow - that's pulling two trailers at one time, like an RV camper and a boat - you can do it after you pay $10 and take a 15-question test. And you just need to get 12 answers right.

The only caveat worth mentioning is that the total length of the tow vehicle and two trailers can't exceed 65 feet. That's about the length of a semi-trailer combo, the differences being that a semi-trailer has only one articulated point and the folks who drive them need expensive specialized training and commercial driver's licenses.

Incredibly, Michigan is not only not alone with this, it is not the most permissive: Wisconsin and other states allow 65-foot triple-towing combinations, South Dakota allows 75 feet, and Wyoming gives drivers a whopping 85-foot towable length. No wonder Wyoming is the state of The Bucking Horse and Rider...

[Source: Automobile]


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  • 49 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      They've been doing this in Ohio for years. That actually may have something to do with the fact Michigan allows it now as well. Michigan does get a lot of tourisim from Ohio, especially in the winters since northern Michigan is a mecca of skiing and snowmobiling. Also, the UP touches Wisconsin so that may play into some of it as well.

      People towing trailers are usally fine. They in most cases stay in the right hand lane, drive about 65-70 and don't make sudden moves. Thats more than you can say for many drivers in their sport compacts.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm not trying to dump on you but...

        I passed a tandem UPS truck just last night actually on US 23 (near Ann Arbor) and there is a tandem dump truck two doors down where they are building a new home.

        One thing Michigan does allow which is stupid is the massive weights trucks are allowed to carry. It not only crushes the roads but causes many blowouts which litter the roads with truck tires. The area around Detroit is especially bad where they cross into Canada.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah the irony here is that actual semis aren't allowed more than 1 trailer in Michigan. So the "avg joe" can tow his RV and boat for 10$ extra and passing a quiz, but FedEx can't bring their 2 and 3 trailered semis in from Ohio.
      • 5 Years Ago
      sorry, that was meant for SeaUrchin.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Let alone people are going to be stupid PULLING this, wait till some only-twelve-answers-right tries to REVERSE it near a crowded road... fun!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't really see the issue here, towing anything on a road isn't particularly difficult so long you're mindful of the area you sweep when you turn.

      The problem really only arises when you're trying to maneuver the two trailers in reverse, but that generally happens at your destination, not on a public road.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Jackknifing is an issue with regular trailers, the risks increase dramatically with two.
      • 5 Years Ago
      HotRodzNKustoms
      3:25PM (1/31/2009)
      I see this every now and then in California. This looks waaaaay illegal for California. Anyone know what the actual California law is for this?

      -------------------------------------------------------

      It is only illegal if your an American, it is not though if your an illegal alien and also have no drivers license, insurance, license plates and failed smog tests.

      They are also allowed to jam as many people in the trunk as possible and a super bonus is if you overstayed your work VISA the state allows you to outsource your drivers test to someone in India.

      Ever wonder why you only have a car only driver license but can go to U-Haul and rent a truck big enough to load a 4 bedroom, with 2 car garage and a full basement house and allowed to drive it but need to pass tests to get license to ride a moped ?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wouldn't it be double towing instead of triple towing? I mean, if you tow 1 trailer, then you are towing, if your are towing two then you are double towing.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This isn't a problem. As long as you start with a fifth wheel trailer with good working brakes, sway control on both trailers and a little common sense, it's perfectly safe. As long as the rear trailer is one third to no more than half the weight as the front, there's no problem. Backing up is an issue. Can't be done.
      The states of Indiana, Ohio, New York allow semi combinations of three 28' pups (three articulating points) or two 45' trailers (two articulating points) on the tollways, and I think some states west of the "mighty miss" allow them on the interstates.
      The Australians have "Road Trains" with five or sometimes more 45' trailers, that's five articulating points.
      And Cowboy Bob, the CDL is a nationwide license issued by the individual states.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I’m going to sound like a physics nerd in saying this but here goes. The number of articulated points is not the issue when comparing your average travel trailer to a semi-trailer, there is one huge difference and that’s the positioning of the axles.

        Semi trailers, of course, have their axles located the end of the trailer. This means much greater resistance to Moment of Inertia and greater resistance to yaw (swaying).. Conventional wisdom in NorthAmerica is to have 10% tongue load on the tow vehicle so that the Center of Gravity is between the trailer axle and tongue offering that resistance to sway.

        You want to see the wrong way to do it, look at the Brits and their “caravans”. The trailer weight is completely centered over the axle, probably from old thinking not to have the cart’s load on the horse. This means the trailer can pivot freely about the axle. Not good at highway speed, but seeing the shit-boxes they tow with it’s not really a big deal.

        Coming back to the dual trailers, the tongue load of the second trailer moves the C.G of the first back towards its’ axle. So as far as sway control you’re towing like a Brit.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I stand corrected. When it comes to semi's, every trailer after the first has two articulating points. One at the pintle hook (the rear of the leading trailer), and one on the fifth wheel. So a set of double tractor trailer trucks has three, and triples has five. The configuration in the picture has two.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would see these kinds of combos frequently in Montana when I was a kid.... I wouldn't recommend these types of combos in more congested areas though. Some people CAN actually handle this... so why not let those that can, do it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Jared, are you serious? Ha ha! What if its you? In your honor, we'll make laws that should have been in place before it happened, K?
        • 5 Years Ago
        The problem isn't those who can, it's those who can't but think they can, at least until they kill a family on the way home from gramma's house. So if you want to blame someone, blame the morons who don't know they're morons who ruin everything for the rest of us. See towing, guns, speeding, smoking dope, fireworks, cellphone laws, etc etc.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Brent Malesich: "Some people CAN actually handle this... so why not let those that can, do it."

        Sadly, that is no longer the American way*. Unfortunately, we're now boiling things down to the least common denominator: if citizen-X can't do it, then nobody should be allowed to (see gun laws, arbitrary speed limits, zero-tolerance enforcements, etc.)

        Oh, and I love the snide "you can do it after you pay $10 and take a 15-question test. And you just need to get 12 answers right."

        12 answers = 80%. Geez, that's a higher requirement than necessary to graduate the public education school system. Yet we pay bazillions for that and they only need, what, 65% to graduate (and, heck, only like 60% of them make even that here in FL). But, I digress...

        (* are we even allowed to say that outside of a red state any longer?)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Dear Government,

        Save me from myself, I'm an idiot.

        Love,

        Concerned Voter
      • 5 Years Ago
      The problem with people being allowed to run a rig that large with no specialized training should be obvious. I need a CDL to run 80,000lbs down the road, but a 75 year old retired couple doesn't need anything more than a standard driver's license to pilot their 45 foot long Class A diesel pusher land-yacht (with a 30 foot enclosed trailer containing their car and thousands of pounds of other junk) between Florida and Maine?!? What makes it safe for them to do that? There should be "trailer towing" and "motor home" licenses, with similar training requirements for commercial drivers..........
      • 5 Years Ago
      Serious Q - why is this "triple" towing and not "double"?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, with my CDL the "double" endorsement is for two trailers while the "triple" endorsement is good for three trailers. Gotta love uniformity in the system.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I know most don't pull double trailers, but I just looked out the window of my camper and out of 400 some campsites down here in Tampa I see a sea of pick ups, Suburbans, Tahoe's, Expeditions, Explore'ers and one pick up with it's hood up, let me look again, ah, that's a Tundra. I doubt any of these campers were pulled here with a Civic. Football at it's finest. The smell of woodburning campfires, exhaust fumes from generators, Pollution stagnating in the air. Alls that's missing is a few liberal democrats and I'd feel like I'm in California.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Occasionally, I've seen trains of junk cars on their way to the scrap yard in the Cleveland area. While I don't recall how many there were in line, it sure looked like a good idea to stay far away from the rig. It's common to see vehicles towed behind mobile homes. They're completely hidden from the driver's view. Anything that disconnects or falls off is somebody else's tough luck.
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