This Sketchy Triple Tow Gone Viral Is Actually Almost Legal

The overall length is the real problem here.

byCaleb JacobsJul 7, 2022 4:49 PM
This Sketchy Triple Tow Gone Viral Is Actually Almost Legal
@brettbarloww via TikTok
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It doesn't take an expert to spot a sketchy towing setup. Almost anyone can tell when a trailer is begging for mercy, or when a truck is struggling to climb even the slightest incline. You might think, then, that this semi-truck pulling two trailers and a pickup might be against the rules just about everywhere. In reality, the number of linked-together vehicles isn't what's illegal; it's the length.

The road train was caught on video in the U.K. and posted to TikTok, where it's racked up more than 1.6 million views at the time of publishing. It's a headscratcher, for sure, especially considering what's being towed behind. The cabover box lorry, as they're called over there, is pulling a tri-axle camper, which is attached to a four-door truck, which is attached to an enclosed dual-axle trailer.

It's hard to estimate how much everything weighs, but under the U.K.'s Showman's Vehicle law, that's not the main consideration—it's all about the length. This was pointed out by Tire Meets Road, which quotes the legislation letter for letter:

"Where a ‘showmen’s vehicle’ (as defined in the Vehicles Excise Act 1971) is drawing a trailer 'used primarily as living accommodation by one or more persons and is not also used for the carriage of goods or burden which is not needed for the purpose of such residence in the vehicle,' such a combination is permitted to have an overall length of 22 meters."

That's equal to 72 feet, so let's do some math. It's all but impossible to measure the length of the lead vehicle or the rear trailer from the video alone, but the dimensions of the camper and pickup truck are out there. The Pinecreek RV is 35 feet long, according to the manufacturer, while the PE/PG/PH Ford Ranger is roughly 17 feet long. That totals 52 feet, leaving 20 for the semi-truck and stubby caboose. I'm inclined to say this combo exceeds the max limits, then, as the big rig looks longer than the Ranger on its own.

U.K. regulations also state that any vehicle towing more than one trailer must stay under 40 miles per hour on freeways and under 20 mph on other roads. This driver looks to be exceeding those speeds, though it's tough to say for sure without seeing a speedometer. It's not falling far behind other vehicles on the M1 motorway that connects London to Leeds.

If the driver wants to swap out that camper for a shorter one, or if they just pack lighter so the last trailer isn't required, then they might be good to go. Right now, though, I don't imagine it'd pass the sniff test from a passing police officer.

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