Restrictions on driving bigger than 40'

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RVcoupleUK

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Hi All,

In my search for the "perfect" RV ::), I discovered that there are some restrictions in California about driving an RV longer than 45'.

Is this a common thing or a one off.  Should I stick to a maximum lenght of 40'?

Oh dear......another complication :-\

Happy and safe travels

David & Angie
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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As a practical matter, the longer the coach the more restrictions you will run into. Legal restrictions aren't much of a problem, but campground access roads, camp site length, and (in some places) fueling station access gets progressively more difficult as length increases. Ditto for height and weight. And some public parks have overall length restrictions as well, usually for safety reasons (road width & curves).

But if you really want the space and comfort of a 45 footer, by all means get one. There will still be sufficient places to accommodate you and the US interstate highway system and most of the National highways permit that size rig and handle them without difficulty. That means you can get to (or very close to) every part of the country and you can use your towed car to travel about locally.
 

Jim Godward

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Actually the restriction in CA is for over 40" but it is only a requirement for a class of drivers license, similar to a CDL, and there are certain roads that you cannot frive on as well as you are restricted on how far from the highway you can travel.


Contact the DMV for detailed information as we no longer live in CA!  VBG
 

Carl L

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RVcoupleUK said:
Hi All,

In my search for the "perfect" RV ::), I discovered that there are some restrictions in California about driving an RV longer than 45'.

Is this a common thing or a one off.   Should I stick to a maximum lenght of 40'?

Your Class C driviers license will cover you in a motorhome 40 foot or less in length.
For a motorhome, over 40 feet up to 45 feet you will require a non-commercial Class B license.  Go to the DMV web site  and search on the term "recreational vehicle".  All will be revealed. 

By the way, with long long RVs you have problems with campground sites, particularly public CGs, and back country roads.
 

Alaskansnowbirds

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David & Angie,

I assume from your screen name, RVcoupleUK, that you are NOT California residents. If you are not California residents then you do not need a special driver license to drive a MH over 40' in California.
 

Tom

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Alaskansnowbirds said:
If you are not California residents then you do not need a special driver license to drive a MH over 40' in California.

Don, one clarification on that - CA, like other states, recognizes your home state/country drivers license, assuming it's good for the vehicle you're driving in the state/country where issued. I don't know what the drivers license requirements in the UK are for a coach that length; It may be that the UK license wouldn't be valid.

 

ArdraF

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David & Angie,

A very recent issue of either "Motorhome" or "Family Motor Coaching" had a state-by-state breakdown of legalities, including length, width, number of tows, etc.  Unfortunately we no longer have that issue.  Perhaps another Forum member has it and can steer you more precisely to that article or can send it to you.

When you look at a state-by-state breakdown, you realize there are more restrictions than most of us realize.  That said, most of us don't encounter any problems.  Our biggest concern when driving is looking for low overheads.  For example, last week we were going through Needles CA when we decided to get off and return to a business establishment.  I had remembered from a previous trip several years ago that "J" Street has a very low railroad crossing tunnel.  Sure enough, just as we were going to turn onto J St. we saw the warning sign - only 10 feet of clearance and we need 12 feet.  That's where our trusty Garmin helps us find an alternate route.  When we drive in Canada I always have to refresh my memory about how many meters of clearance converts to our 12 feet.  ;)

Some states have restricted widths for certain roads - usually because it's an old road or has narrow underpasses.  One resource we use is "The Trucker's Atlas" which indicates restricted roads by state.  You can buy them at truck stops.  Construction zones also present their own width issues.  When motorhomes were only 97 or 98 inches wide it seemed there was always plenty of room, but 102 inches with cement barriers on both sides sometimes feels like a very tight squeeze.  It's just a matter of slowing down and getting used to the Yank way of doing things.  ;D ;D

Hope you enjoy this adventure you're planning.

ArdraF


 

Carl L

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AlGriefer said:
CA has maps of the allowed and prohibited roads on their web site.  It really is not much of a problem.  The web site with all the information is here.

I would note tho that all of the scenic portion of CA-1 is off limits to 45 footers.  That is from San Simon to its terminus in the north.
 

ArdraF

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Carl,

Heck I won't even drive a car on the portion of CA 1 known as Devil's Slide!  It got it's name for a reason.  ;D

ArdraF
 

RVcoupleUK

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Hi All,

Thanks so much for your input...yes we are Uk residents and my UK licence entitles me to drive any commercial vehicle in the uk so I guess that means I'm Ok in California.  Your comments are much appreciated.

Regards

David & Angie
 

Carl L

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RVcoupleUK said:
Hi All,

Thanks so much for your input...yes we are Uk residents and my UK licence entitles me to drive any commercial vehicle in the uk so I guess that means I'm Ok in California.   Your comments are much appreciated.

I would not bet on that with respect to motorhomes with a length greater than 40 feet.  From the California Vehicle Code:

f) Any person from a foreign country, except a territory or possession of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or Canada, shall obtain a class A or a class B license from the department before operating on the highways a motor vehicle for which a class A or class B license is required, as described in Section 12804.9. The medical examination form required for issuance of a class A or class B driver?s license shall be completed by a health care professional, as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 12804.9, who is licensed, certified, or registered to perform physical examinations in the United States of America. This subdivision does not apply to (1) drivers of schoolbuses operated in California on a trip for educational purposes or (2) drivers of vehicles used to provide the services of a local public agency.  See the section  HERE.

Those long motorhomes require a Class B non-commercial license in CA.

Now you may never get busted for the matter, but on the other hand you could.  If I were you, I would consider an extra 5 feet of length is not worth the hassle -- stay at 40 or less.    You can wallow in luxury even in a 38 footer for goodness sakes.
 

ArdraF

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If I were you, I would consider an extra 5 feet of length is not worth the hassle -- stay at 40 or less.    You can wallow in luxury even in a 38 footer for goodness sakes.

Definitely!  We felt like we were in a castle when we moved up from our 30 foot Class C to a 34 foot Class A - and it didn't even have a slide!  We felt the same way again when we moved up to a 40 foot Class A with two slides.  I can't help but wonder why you think you even need or want a 45er.  A 40 footer is more than adequate for most of us, especially if you're just two people.  And, in fact, a larger one can be more problematic unless you're planning on always staying at super-duper RV resorts with huge sites.  Nine times out of ten we stay at places with limitations site-wise and a 45 footer couldn't even drive in, much less fit into a site.

ArdraF
 

AlGriefer

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Carl L said:
I would note tho that all of the scenic portion of CA-1 is off limits to 45 footers.  That is from San Simon to its terminus in the north.

Carl,

There are chucks on it that are usable, most notably around Monterey Bay.  My previous post points to the CalTrans web site that has the exact maps on it.

Al
 
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