Essential RV Laws to Keep in Mind for Cross-Country Trips

 

Vacations can be a great time for family members to bond with each other. Taking a trip with an RV can eliminate the cost of staying in hotels and encourage spending more time with nature, but it also comes with additional responsibilities. Road trips can be stressful, especially if you overbook your plans (as this prompts rushing). An RV trip also requires travelers to set and monitor a budget. Most importantly, travelers should understand RV laws before planning a trip across the country.

Driver’s License Requirements

It may be necessary for the driver of the RV to get a CDL license, depending on the states travelers plan to drive through. Most states don’t require drivers to do so, and most of the ones that do require drivers with CDLs do so only if the weight or dimensions of the RV exceed the set limits. The number of passengers in the vehicle may also attribute to the need for a CDL license. (However, the number of passengers necessary to meet these license requirements is generally very high.)
Drivers should keep in mind that laws could always change; they should be certain that they meet the proper requirements for each state they intend to visit. If drivers without a CDL are caught driving in a state that requires one, it could result in a hefty fine, and, most of the time, drivers won’t be allowed to move the vehicle without a CDL.

Towing Regulations

In addition to driver’s license regulations, some states also have set standards for what an RV can legally tow behind it. The towing regulations for each state is different, but most set restrictions for the length or weight of the objects being towed.

Regardless of license requirements, whoever plans to drive the RV should be sure to practice driving it before the big trip as it can be quite an adjustment for most people. They should also make sure the hitch is always secure and regularly check conditions of the hitch or tow bar throughout the trip.

Safety Requirements

Drivers should make sure they are familiar with any special safety rules and laws specific to RVs. The safety requirements can either concern the condition of the vehicle or how the drivers handle the RV:

- Stay in the slow lane. Drivers should remain in the right lane unless they need to pass a vehicle or exit the highway using left lanes.

- Pay attention to signs. In most states, drivers can make right turns on a red light so long as there’s not a sign stating otherwise.

- Have the required safety items. Depending on the weight and dimensions of the RV, drivers may be required to have certain safety items. Some of these items are: safety chains, breakaway switches, and trailer brakes.

Driving an RV is a big adjustment for most people, so they should do their research and properly prepare for their trip. In doing the proper research, families can reduce some of the stress associated with road trips and better enjoy their vacation. Being well informed and prepared to hit the road leaves the only thing left to do is have fun!