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Behind-the-Wheel

Lights and reflectors required to trailers can be seen

The right trailer lights

Nine lamps and six reflectors are the minimum required by law to be installed and functional on your trailer.

If the trailer is not a small one, the number grows rapidly to stay in compliance depending on its length and width. And not just any lamp or reflector will do either, they all must be the right device for the right place and comply with standards.

Manufacturers of trailers must comply with the federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act and Regulations. Transport Canada publishes a guide to light and reflector requirements for trailers that shows where these items must be located and which compliance markings they are required to show.

Should you choose to build your own trailer, you will have to comply with Division 4 of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations. Those regulations hold you to the same set of standards as the commercial manufacturers.

The police and designated inspection facilities enforce the rules after construction is completed and the trailers are used on our highways.

The minimum consists of yellow side marker lights and reflectors at each side of the front, red side marker lamps and reflectors at each side of the rear, red stop lamps, tail lamps and reflectors at both sides facing the rear and finally a white license plate lamp.

All these devices are marked according to standards identifying them as acceptable for their purpose and may or may not be combined in the same unit.

If your trailer is more than 2.05 metres (80 inches) in width or 9.1 metres (30 feet) in length, additional lamps will be required. These generally consist of intermediate side marker lamps, clearance lamps and identification lamps, depending on which dimensions are exceeded.

Conspicuous markings, in the form of reflective tape, will be required for trailers over 2.05 meters in width and having a GVWR more than 4,356 kilograms (10,000 pounds).

When I started policing in the 1980s, trailers that were narrow enough to not obscure the lights on the vehicle pulling it were not required to have brake lights. This has not been the case for many years and all lights and reflectors are required, even for narrow trailers.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



More Behind the Wheel articles

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

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To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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