What are the rules for marking pickup loads?

Published 9:54 am Thursday, November 5, 2015

Ask a Trooper by Troy Christianson

Question:  If I am transporting an item that is sticking out beyond the back of my pickup box, at what length do I need to mark it with a flag?


Answer:  According to Minnesota State Statute (M.S.S.) 169.52, “When the load upon any vehicle extends to the rear four feet or more beyond the bed or body of such vehicle there shall be displayed at the extreme rear end of the load, at the times when lighted lamps on vehicles are required in this chapter, a red light or lantern plainly visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the sides and rear. The light or lantern required under this section shall be in addition to the rear light required upon every vehicle. At any time when no lights are required there shall be displayed at the extreme rear end of such load a red, yellow or orange flag or cloth not less than 16 inches square.”

Troy Christianson

Troy Christianson

I’d also like to mention for anything that is sticking over the sides of the vehicle, according to M.S.S. 169.80 Subd. 3, “No passenger-type vehicle shall be operated on any highway with any load carried thereon extending beyond the line of the fenders on the left side of such vehicle nor extending more than six inches beyond the line of the fenders on the right side thereof.”

Remember that no vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway unless such vehicle’s load is secure. Please make sure that whatever you are hauling is tied or strapped down where it will not shift over the sides or rear of the vehicle within the legal limits or come out onto the road.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, at 2900 48th St. NW, Rochester, MN 55901-5848; or reach him at Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us.


Troy Christianson is a sergeant with the Minnesota State Patrol.