When heading to the water with your boat, whether across the town or the country, it is important to know the towing laws of each state that you will be driving in. Every state has its distinct towing laws; in Texas, these rules are largely common sense, so boat owners who follow ground rules should not run into any problems. Here are the laws and restrictions anyone towing a boat through Texas should be aware of.
- Drivers can operate up to 25,999 lbs. of towing vehicle without a special license. If the setup exceeds (or equals) 26,000 lbs., a class-B non-commercial driver’s license is required.
- The connection between the towing and the towed must be robust enough to pull your trailer’s entire weight. The connection cannot be more than 15 feet long unless it is built-in that is considered “structural.”
- The tow bar must be outfitted with a white flag or cloth for visibility.
- Safety chains of sufficient strength and flares or warning signs are required.
- Trailers more than 4,500 lbs need brakes; no such requirement is on the books for towed cars.
- The towing vehicle cannot be taller than 14 feet; maximum width is 8 1/2 feet.
- The trailer cannot be taller than 14 feet; maximum width is 5 1.2 feet, and the maximum length is 45 feet. The combined length of the towing vehicle and towed vehicle cannot exceed 65 feet.
- For passenger cars and light trucks towing trailers less than 26 feet long and carrying a boat, the speed limit is 70 mph on the interstate during the day, and 65 mph at night; except as otherwise posted.
- For fifth wheels, maximum daytime speed is 60 mph; that limit drops to 55 mph overnight. Keep in mind that if the weather is bad or, visibility is poor, you can still be cited for unsafe driving even if you are doing the speed limit. Be safe!
It should be noted that the above list is not meant to be exhaustive. Before taking to the road with a boat or any other vehicle in tow, check the government website for comprehensive rules. And don’t forget your Sign & Glide membership, so that you can continue to be safe once you make it to your destination!