What are the safety regulations for trailer lights?

Trailer light regulations are crucial for ensuring safe and visible operation on the road. They vary depending on your location, but generally follow established standards like the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 108 in the United States and similar regulations in other countries. Here’s a summary of the key points:

General requirements:

  • All trailers operating on public roads must be equipped with a specific set of lights, including:
    • Tail lights: Red lights visible from at least 1000 feet (304 meters) to the rear.
    • Stop lights: Red lights, brighter than taillights, activated when the brakes are applied, visible from at least 1000 feet (304 meters) to the rear.
    • Turn signals: Amber lights on both sides, visible from at least 1000 feet (304 meters) to the front and rear, indicating intended turns.
    • Side marker lights: Amber lights on the front sides and red lights on the rear sides, visible from at least 500 feet (152 meters) to the side.
    • Clearance lights: Amber lights near the top corners of the widest part of the trailer, visible from at least 500 feet (152 meters) to the front and side.
    • Reflectors: Red reflectors on the back and amber reflectors on the sides, visible from specified distances under headlight illumination.

Additional considerations:

  • Number and placement: The specific number and placement of lights may vary depending on the trailer size and type. Consult the relevant regulations or your trailer’s manual for detailed information.
  • Visibility and functionality: All lights must be in good working order, clean, and unobstructed, ensuring proper visibility from required distances and angles.
  • Electrical systems: The trailer’s electrical wiring and connections must be secure and in good condition to prevent malfunctions.


  • It’s your responsibility to ensure your trailer complies with the relevant lighting regulations.
  • Operating a trailer with faulty or non-compliant lighting is illegal and dangerous, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Consult your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or transport authority for specific regulations and requirements in your area.

By adhering to these safety regulations and maintaining your trailer lights properly, you can contribute to safer roads and reduce the risk of accidents for yourself and others.