Displaying Flags on Vehicles

Displaying flags on vehicles can be viewed similarly to flags appearing on uniform arm patches. Some people wonder why the U.S. flag is worn backwards on uniforms. The important takeaway here is to remember that the star field must always face forward, or to the flag’s own right. This rule also applies to flying a flag on a vehicle.

It’s also important to remember that a flag displayed at the front of the vehicle is viewed as the flag with the highest honor. Therefore, when displaying flags on vehicles in the United States, it is imperative to display the American flag at the front. Use the image below as a guide.

Image of two vehicles with American flags properly attached to them.

Notice how the blue star field is always pointed towards the front of the vehicle regardless of which side of the vehicle it appears on. This also gives the flag a “blowing in the wind” effect. If the flag were flown the other way, the flag might appear to be retreating or moving backwards.

The American flag should not be draped over the vehicle’s top, sides, hood or back. It is also not recommended to display flags on vehicles at night unless the flag is properly illuminated. Read more about proper flag etiquette.

Displaying Flags on Motorcycles

The rules for displaying flags on motorcycles are similar to displaying flags on vehicles – but there are minor differences. When the American flag is flown alone, it should be placed on the center back of the motorcycle. The flag should be facing the “marching right” – which is the right side of the motorcycle when facing forward (rider’s perspective). When flying the American flag with another flag, the U.S. flag should once again be facing the “marching right”. If flown with multiple other flags, the U.S. flag should be placed in the center and higher than the other flags. Also, no other flags are to be bigger than the American flag. Use the image below as a guide.

Image of two motorcycles with American flags properly attached to them.

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6 Replies to “Displaying Flags on Vehicles

    1. When I was in the Navy, we were required to roll up and put the cover on the American flag on the Admiral’s car bumper if the car was expected to exceed 40 mph. Not sure if that is a “written” rule but, in my experience, flags get ripped and tattered quickly under high wind conditions and, out of respect and in concert with all the other flag etiquette, makes sense to me not to fly it in high speed conditions. BTW, max speed for most US Navy ships is at/around 40 knots.

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