Ask a Trooper

Posted: Monday, October 01, 2001

Question: Twice this week I've seen someone pulling a car down the highway with a chain or tow rope. This isn't legal, is it?

Answer: Only in an emergency. 13 AAC 04.275 states that any vehicle (including a trailer) being towed on a roadway must be connected to the pulling vehicle by a rigid connecting device. In addition, it also must have at least one safety chain that is strong enough to maintain control of the load if the regular hitch assembly fails.

There is a provision in that statute for pulling a disabled vehicle without a rigid tow bar in an emergency. However, when doing so, you must have a white flag at least 12 inches square tied to the connection (rope or chain) to notify other drivers.

Pulling your buddy's truck from his house across town to your house so you can fix it would not be considered an emergency.

Keep in mind that if you are pulling another vehicle, with or without a rigid tow bar, the vehicle to the rear must still have working brake lights, just as if you were pulling a trailer.

If you have questions that you would like to ask a trooper, please send them to: Alaska State Troopers, 4060 Heath St., Homer, AK 99603. Or you can e-mail them to The Alaska State Troopers remind you to always wear your seat belt. It's the law.

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