Ask A Trooper: Is it illegal for a trailer to have items hanging from the sides?

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, please send your questions in.

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Question: Is it illegal for a vehicle pulling a trailer to have a ladder or ramp hanging from the side of the trailer?

Answer: You are able to have ladders or ramps secured to the side of an enclosed trailer as long as you do not exceed the width of 8 feet 6 inches. This is the maximum dimension that may be operated on Minnesota roadways without a special permit. The maximum height is 13 feet 6 inches. If you exceed the height or width, then you would have to apply for an oversize permit.

A few trailer safety tips:


• Make sure the pulling unit of the trailer has the towing capacity to pull the trailer safely.

• Check the trailer tires for proper tire pressure and the conditions of the tires. If the trailer has not been used recently, check the tread and for any cracking on the side walls.

• Make sure you have the proper ball size required for the trailer.

• Be sure the safety chains are connected and all the lights are working properly.

• Adjust your mirrors so you can see behind the trailer when towing it.

• Adjust your trailer brakes according to the load. For example, if you’re towing a heavy boat you would need to increase the brake press compared to pulling an empty boat trailer.

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at,

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