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  • Writer's pictureTom Fowler

Is it Illegal to Drive with a Hitch?

Updated: Mar 8, 2022

Have you wondered whether it is legal or illegal to have the ball hitch in your truck’s receiver if you are not pulling a trailer simultaneously? Plus, you might be curious if it is legal or not to have one ball over the bumper. If you want to know the answer, keep reading for related topics.

If you drive an SUV or truck, it is normal to have a hitch on your vehicle’s back bumper. You may still think twice about whether it is legal or not to have a hitch while driving, even if you are using it throughout the year. Having one ball hitch on your vehicle’s receiver comes with advantages as well as potentially dangerous drawbacks.

Benefits of hitch on vehicles receiver

What are the Benefits of Having a Tow Hitch on the Vehicle’s Receiver?

Today, most vehicles have a trailer hitch on the bumper, and drivers reap some benefits of having a towing option. With balls in bumper hitches, you can increase your storage options. With ease, you can also bring leisure items, such as a camper or a boat on vacation. Many drivers with a trailer hitch have experienced fewer potential damages on the rear-end of their vehicle.

What are the Potential Dangers of Having a Tow Hitch on the Vehicle's Receiver?

Just like most things, if there are benefits, there are also drawbacks. Having a hitch in the receiver of your car can increase the occasion of whiplash in the case of a rear crash.

Any passenger in the tow vehicle is vulnerable to whiplash even if it has good tow straps. However, children and women are particularly susceptible to the condition. They can receive whiplash about two times more. Driving with a hitch on the bumper presents a danger to both the driver and the passenger since rear-end collision is one of the most common vehicular accidents on the road. That is why some legislators want to ban driving with a hitch.

Having a Ball Hitch in the Receiver of a Vehicle While the Driver is Not Hauling a Trailer at That Time, is it Illegal or Not?

The answer is no. Having a ball hitch in the receiver hitch of your SUV or truck, even if you are not hauling a trailer out of a ditch during that time, is not illegal. Additionally, it is not illegal to have more than one ball hitch on your bumper. However, be aware that having multiple ball hitches on your car’s bumper can obstruct your rear license plate; some hitches tend to block the plates.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol:

  • A license plate should be securely fastened to the vehicle to prevent it from swinging;

  • A license plate should be displayed horizontally, where the identifying letters and numbers face outward from the vehicle;

  • A license plate should be mounted in the upright position.

If you are driving a motor vehicle, be sure to keep your plate legible. You also need to keep it free from dust, grease, and other blurring materials and unobstructed. By doing so, the lettering remains visible at all times.

Beware of a law that prohibits explicitly. However, children covering any assigned numbers and letters or the plate state of origin with any material, such as colorless or transparent materials. That is because the material can affect the reflectivity or visibility of the rear license plate.

Leaving a ball hitch on your truck

Can You Leave a Ball Hitch on Your Truck?

Your ball hitch attached to your car needs to be a device approved by the public safety commissioner. The ball hitches should have sufficient strength to control trailers as well as support their weight. Plus, the hitch ball attached to a hitch receiver must be removed or detached when not in use. That is exactly what makes it more critical not to leave a hitch ball on the truck if it causes an obstruction.

Is it Illegal to Leave Your Trailer Hitch on in Texas?

If you drive on any highway in Texas, you will notice many cars or trucks with a hitch, even if they are not towing a trailer. Some trucks are parked in a parking lot with tow hitches on them. In Texas, leaving your trailer hitches even if you are not towing anything is not illegal since no laws prohibit it. However, the law requires you to ensure that it will not block the license plate. For more information regarding driving laws, talk to an injury lawyer near you.

Is it Illegal to Drive with a Hitch in BC?

It is a common sight for a person in BC to have a hitch attached to every other vehicle, even if they are not towing anything. In other words, do not be surprised to see people driving with hitches in BC because it is not illegal as long as the plate is not covered or blocked.

Is it Illegal to Drive with a Trailer Hitch in California?

Unlike other states, driving with a trailer hitch in California is against the law, just like running a stop sign or driving while using a cell phone is illegal. Contact an accident lawyer for more information. This is a primary. This means if you plan to have a trailer hitch on your vehicle, ensure you are pulling a trailer, and it should support the trailer’s weight. If not, expect a police officer to approach you, and you may also face legal trouble.


Having no hitches and ball on your vehicle may save someone from scraping their skin if they need to walk too close between the parked vehicles. You can also protect your bumper and tailgate from being bumped while at a red light or in a parking lot. However, there is nothing wrong with having towing hitches attached to a vehicle because it is not illegal in most states. This is not the only time you need to ensure that your license plate is not blocked or covered by anything. Beware that balls on the bumper hitches tend to obstruct the plate, and cops cannot read them properly, and it might be illegal in several states. Plus, always educate yourself on the unique traffic laws such as if it is illegal to drive without a hood or if it is illegal to drive without airbags. If there is any damage to your vehicle’s frame, do not hesitate to contact your insurance company to save you money from repairs.

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