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Trailer Lighting Regulations: Staying Safe and Legal on the Road

Are you dusting off your trailer for a new adventure, or perhaps building one from scratch? Regardless of the reason, it’s crucial to be aware of the trailer lighting regulations to ensure your safety and comply with the law.

The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 lay down specific guidelines for the correct lights, markers, and reflectors that trailers must have. Let’s delve into the details of these regulations and learn how to arrange lights and reflectors for maximum safety and adherence to the law.

Trailers Built Before September 30th, 1990

If your trailer falls into this category, it must be equipped with the following essentials:

  • Two red side lights
  • Two red stop lights
  • Two red triangular reflectors
  • An illuminated number plate
  • Amber indicators designed to flash between 60-120 times per minute

Trailers Built After September 30th, 1990

For trailers manufactured after this date, in addition to the requirements above, they must also be fitted with front white reflectors.

Trailers More Than 1.3m Wide

Trailers that are wider than 1.3 meters must have at least one red fog lamp.

Trailers More Than 1.6m Wide

For trailers exceeding a width of 1.6 meters, front position white markers or lights are mandatory.

Trailers Longer Than 6m (Excluding Drawbar)

Trailers that are longer than 6 meters (excluding drawbar) must also be equipped with red/white side markers. So, side marker lights are only required by law if the trailer exceeds 6 meters in length.

Trailers Built After October 2012 with Brakes

For trailers manufactured after October 2012 and equipped with brakes, a reversing light must also be fitted.

Proper Arrangement of Lights and Reflectors

It’s not just about having the right lights; they must be positioned correctly as well. Here are the legal requirements for arranging lights and reflectors on your trailer:

  • Indicators: These should be placed between 350mm and 1500mm from the ground and a maximum of 400mm from the side of the trailer. The distance between indicators should be a minimum of 400mm.
  • Triangular Reflectors: They must be positioned between 250mm and 900mm from the ground and placed no more than 400mm from the sides, with a minimum separation of 600mm.
  • Fog Lamps: If your trailer is required to have red fog lamps, they should be separated and placed at opposite sides of the rear. The fog lamps should be positioned within 250mm and 1000mm from the ground, with a minimum distance of 400mm between them. Moreover, there should be at least 100mm of separation between the fog lights and the tail lights or indicators.

For more information on regulations, please see here on the website.


Ensuring your trailer complies with the lighting regulations is not just a legal requirement, but it is also essential for the safety of you and others on the road. Before embarking on your next journey with your trailer, take the time to inspect and arrange the lights and reflectors correctly, adhering to the guidelines we’ve covered. Safe travels!

To shop our range of lighting boards and magnetic rear lights, please see here. Alternatively, if you have any questions or are unsure about any of the information above, please contact us via our contact page or live chat.