Not only is this towing setup completely legal, it’s got a unique name to go with it.
A popular video on TikTok is making the rounds, shared by TikTok user @BrettBarloww, showing a semi-truck towing not one, not two, but three vehicles behind it making this towing situation into what’s technically a quadruple tow.
As of this writing, with over 1.3M views (and counting,) over 150 thousand likes, and 1,000 plus comments, the short video’s sparked a lot of conversation.
Check out the video for yourself below.
oh no the nicky nonk on M1 ????♬ Oh No! It’s The Ninky Nonk! – Andrew Davenport
A quick watch of the video (and a read through of the comments) shows enough context clues where, after a bit of Googling, it’s easy to figure out what’s going on.
First, the truck driving by isn’t your typical semi-truck like you’d find on any normal American highway, it’s a Euro-style cab-over truck AKA a lorry.
A commenter reveals this is the M1 motorway placing this quadruple tow somewhere in the U.K.
And, according to UK’s towing regulations regarding what vehicles and licenses can tow what, this tractor trailer is probably able to tow this many vehicles under their “Showman’s vehicles” sub-regulation.
According to the Showman’s Vehicle’s regulation (regulation linked here,)
“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 22m.”
22 meters is 72 feet (freedom units) which is roughly the length of a typical tractor trailer in the United States.
As this regulation is written, if you define your tow setup in the UK as under Showman’s vehicles regulation, you can tow as many vehicles as you like as long as the overall length does not exceed said 72 feet.
Towing, in general, increases a driver’s risk and this regulation takes that into account, imposing a handful of requirements towers towing under this regulation must follow.
First, you must give advance notice to police, giving them details about your tow setup and when and where you plan to drive.
Next, you must employ someone else, besides the driver, to look after the extra tow vehicles and to somehow (perhaps by flag or flashing lights,) warn other drivers of their presence on the road.
And, most importantly, Showman’s vehicles towing under this regulation are limited to 40 MPH on motorways and 30 mph on all other roads, a part of the regulation the driver in this video is not following.
So yes, it’s legal to triple, quadruple, or even quintuple tow under this regulation just as long as you follow the letter of the law, which, in this case, is not happening.
22 metres is not 172 feet and you’ve typed it twice!
Egg on my face! Thanks for the heads up, Ray.