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Jul 13, 2005
Hello all. Although I havent participated much in this forum, I have been visiting it regularly however and I have learned a lot from your posts. I am confused about the width of class A Rvs. The disclaimer I see is that the motor home is 8.5 feet in width and some states restrict the width of vehicles to 96 inches. My question is, if you are driving an illegally wide vehicle in these states are you not automatically at fault in the event of an accident? Do they sell 8.5 foot wide Rvs in these states? I do not see any new class A MHs that are less than 8.5 feet wide. I am a bit confused and believe there must be a simple answer.

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Feb 2, 2005
West Palm Beach, FL
Unfortunately there is no simple answer. However, it is not something to be terribly concerned about.

The 102 inch width (8.5 feet) is legal on the entire US highway system (interstates and "US" national highways) unless specifically restricted for some local safety reason (which must have the concurrence of the US DOT).  On state and local highways, state and local regulations prevail, but there are few places that actualy restrict width to less than 102".  Few, however, does not mean none. A trucker's road atlas will identify those places.

You should also be aware that the 102 inches does not include "safety equipment" such as side view mirrors. Neither does the 96 inches, if that is the restricted width.  Things like awnings are counted, though. 

Are you automatically at fault in an accident? No. However, an opposing attorney will surely do his best to argue that any excess width somehow contributed to the accident. Whether it did or not - and whether a civil jury believes it did, would be decided on a case-by-case basis.

[edit]Corrected several typos - no change in content or meaning[/edit]

John From Detroit

Well-known member
Apr 12, 2005
Davison Michigan
One of the books I have in my "library" is the Woodall's guide to campgrounds and other RV things (IE: service and sales)

One of the features of the book is a state by state listing of laws we need to know.

IN most states 102" is legal, most everywhere,  A few states have some 96" roads (The book gives you guidelines for deciding)

New York is mostly all 96" with a few 102" (Freeways)  I would need to do a lot more research before I spent much time driving in New York.

As the other poster said, In the event of an accident.  The facts are:  Average car, about 20 grand last time I checked,  Average motor home, about 150 Grand, (This is a total guess) thus the motor home owner has "Deeper pockets" in the eyes of the folks in the car

Thus, their ambulance chaser will do everything in his power to convince the court (or jury) it was your fault.

NOTE: The above "Facts" have absolutely no bearing on who caused the accident.  I mean by no streatch of of the imagination can it be argued that the following described accident was YOUR fault... But trust me, the lying shyster of a plaintiff's attorney will try.

You are north bound on the 2 lane,,, An on coming motorcycle is mesmerized by your headlights and comes across the center line,, IN order to avoid the accidnet you steer toward (and onto) the shoulder, He still comes clear across the road, and now, on the shoulder of the NORTH BOUND lanes, the south bound motorcyclist does a head on with your motor home, Dying at scene.

(By the way... In the actually case this scenario is based on my sister-in-law was not driving a motor home but a much more modest 4 door sedan,  She not only drove onto the shoulder, but completly off it and across the ditch, sliding back into the ditch (Driver's side damaged by going into the ditch) and her 2nd husband (who was on the motorcycle) came clear across the road, also crossed the ditch, and hit her head on... The effect was the same as above (Dead at scene)  he was high on drugs and alcohol at the time.

My brother was her 3rd husband by the way

In this case there was no lawsuit as.... Well she was the damaged party

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