Ask a trooper: November 19, 2014


Question: Question: If I rent a properly licensed and lighted tow dolly from a rental company, can I tow a non-running vehicle that is not licensed (no current plates) and not insured?  Do I need tail lights in addition to the dolly lights?
Answer: First I will explain what a tow dolly is for those that may not know. A tow dolly is little more than two wheels, an axle and a tow-hitch, used to tow a front-wheel drive suspension vehicle behind a recreational vehicle or other larger vehicle. It is generally designed to tow a vehicle with the front wheels on the tow dolly. To answer your question, I would say you can do this as long as you’re meeting the following criteria:
• The vehicle you are using to tow the dolly is properly registered, insured and legal to tow the non-running vehicle (hitch, weight ratings, etc.).
• The dolly is properly registered and has the required dolly lights and reflectors.
• If the non-running vehicle sticks out beyond the dolly, it must be equipped with at least two tail lamps on the rear. The lamps must be on the same level and as widely spaced laterally as practical.
You may want to talk with your auto insurance agent about insuring the non-running vehicle. Even though the towing vehicle has insurance coverage, it might not apply if something happened to the non-running vehicle.
Question: I’m getting ready for the winter and preparing to move snow. I would like to know if I am able to drive my tractor on the highway so I can help my neighbors move snow. 
Answer: Yes, you can as long as the tractor has the proper lighting and reflectors. Here is what Minnesota State Statute 169.55 says about “Implements of Husbandry Lights.”
At the times when lighted lamps on vehicles are required:
• every self-propelled implement of husbandry must be equipped with at least one lamp displaying a white light to the front, and at least one lamp displaying a red light to the rear;
• every self-propelled implement of husbandry must also display two red reflectors visible to the rear;
• every combination of a self-propelled and towed implement of husbandry must be equipped with at least one lamp mounted to indicate as nearly as practicable the extreme left projection of the combination and displaying a white or amber light to the front and a red or amber light to the rear of the self-propelled implement of husbandry; and
• the last unit of every combination of implements of husbandry must display two red reflectors visible to the rear.
• The reflectors must be of the type approved for use upon commercial vehicles. The reflectors must be mounted as close as practical to the extreme edges of the implement of husbandry. The reflectors must be reflex reflectors that are visible at night from all distances within 600 feet to 100 feet when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlamps.
• Implement of husbandry; hazard warning lights. No person may operate a self-propelled implement of husbandry manufactured after January 1, 1970, on a highway unless the implement of husbandry displays vehicular hazard warning lights visible to the front and rear in normal sunlight.
• Also, at a speed of 30 miles per hour or less, you must display a triangular slow-moving vehicle emblem.
A portion of state statutes was 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,