Trailer Light Safety
Trailer lights enhance the level of safety when towing any vehicle. In most
states, working trailer lights are required by law. If you are towing something
and your trailer lights are not in proper working order, you could be pulled
over for a ticket; or worse, you could inadvertently cause a traffic accident.
To avoid problems like these, learn how to properly install and activate your
1. After securely hooking up a trailer up to the towing vehicle, check the
connections between the vehicle and the trailer. Run your hand slowly along the
insulated electrical cable to make sure there are no tears or breaks. Any damage
on this cable could result in a short, so if you find anything, either fix it
with electrical tape or replace it.
2. Enlist the assistance of a helper who can operate the towing vehicle controls
while you confirm that the trailer lights are working. Ask them to turn on the
headlights, which should make the trailer’s running lights come on. This
includes the trailer tail lights, the license plate light, the rear clearance
light, any identification light, side lights and trailer front cap lights. If
any of these fail to come on, check that the bulb is properly screwed in. If it
still doesn’t work replace it. If you put in a brand new bulb and it still
doesn’t work, you need to check the light fixture itself. Make sure that the
screws are tightened securely to the metal skin, and remove any corrosion that
may be blocking the circuit. There is a white ground wire in the electrical
cable that must be connected to the trailer frame to create a ground. There is
also the possibility that the cable connector at the back of the towing vehicle
has come loose from the frame of the towing vehicle. Check this connection and
3. Have your helper flick on the turn signals inside the vehicle and make sure
you see the indicator lights on the trailer.
4. Ask your helper to drive a few feet forward and repeat the trailer lights
test to ensure that the wires don’t come detached or loose with movement.
If you follow these instructions for trailer light safety, you should be good to