Q: Is it legal to tow a vehicle behind another vehicle with only a tow strap?

A: Yes, it is legal, but there are restrictions and safety requirements. Minnesota Statute 169.82, Trailer Equipment requires that when one vehicle is towing another the drawbar or other connection must be of sufficient strength to pull the weight being towed. The drawbar or other connection may not exceed 15 feet from one vehicle to the other. When one vehicle is towing another and the connection consists of a chain, rope, or cable, the connection must display a white, red, yellow, or orange flag or cloth not less than 12 inches square.

Be sure that the vehicle to be towed is manned: you need someone in the vehicle in case there is an emergency. They will also need to apply the brakes when you bring the towing vehicle to a stop.

Now, accelerate very slowly until the tow strap is taut. Then, proceed forward at a creep. Drive very, very slowly. Do not accelerate or brake abruptly. You will need to give the driver in the vehicle being towed enough time to apply the brakes and bring the vehicle to a stop.

Remember that using a tow strap is primarily for pulling a car safely out of a ditch, snowbank, muddy spot, or any other place off the side of a road or highway.

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References and resources

1. Minnesota Statute 169.82, Trailer Equipment, located online at www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/169.82

2. How to Tow a Vehicle Yourself using a Tow Strap, located online at www.junkcartraders.com/blog/tow-vehicle-using-tow-strap

3. How to Properly Tow a Car, located online at www.liveabout.com/properly-use-a-tow-strap-281764

Ask The Chief” allows readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs and the department in general.

Submit your question to askthe.policechief@ci.red-wing.mn.us.

Generally one answer a week is posted RWPD social media sites and printed in the Red Wing Republican Eagle.