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Minnesota State Patrol

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

Answer: I get this question once in a while and have answered it on other occasions, but I will do so again.

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.”

I’d also like to mention for anything in reference to 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.” Loads can escape and cause all kinds of issues and dangers on our roadway, so please be careful out there. With all that said remember, no vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway unless such vehicle’s load is secure.

All portions of the law were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes.