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RV Info | Road Rules and Regulations

Make sure you know the RV road rules and regulations for all the states you plan to visit.


When you plan on traveling in your RV or if you are new to RVing it is important to understand the specific rules of the road and other regulations for RVs. The size of the vehicle often means that there are different rules for RVs than cars, especially for the largest RVs. Each state has its own rules and regulations, so when you are traveling in your RV it is important to make sure you know any specific road rules and regulations that apply to your RV in the state’s where you plan on traveling, as well as your own state.

Special Drivers Licenses

The first issue is special drivers licenses. In some states the size of your recreational vehicle may mean that you have to have a special drivers license to operate your vehicle. Some people may wonder if they have to get a Commercial Drivers License. These rules for Commercial Drivers Licenses are administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Although this federal administration sets minimum rules that apply to each state, but these states have the right to set more strict rules. Generally an RV used for recreation is not considered a commercial vehicle, and most states do not require that a driver of an RV have a Commercial Drivers License to operate their vehicle.

This does not mean that there are not more strict rules, and even special drivers licenses for operators of RVs. Be sure to thoroughly understand the requirements of each state you plan on visiting. In some circumstances you will need to understand the different classifications for motor vehicles, which may impact what type of special license you may need. These classifications are based on the weight and length of your vehicle. Larger and longer vehicles in some cases require that operators have an appropriate class license based on the class of the vehicle.

You can find a convenient summary of the basic rules for each state at ChangingGears.com. This list has information about each state and the drivers license requirements for that state, however, to be safe you should be sure to double check all of this information with the Department of Licensing in your state.

Safety Requirements & Special Traffic Laws

In addition to certain licensing rules for RVs, each state also has specific safety rules required of RVs. Some of these safety rules are are about when you are driving and others relate to safety requirements for the vehicle itself. Some basic rules to remember:

  • Always stay in the right lane, except when passing, turning or exiting the highway.
  • You can make right turns on red in most states, unless it is specifically posted that you cannot make the right turn on red.
  • You may also be required to carry certain safety items in you RV, depending on the size and type of vehicle you are operating.
    • This can include having safety chains, a breakaway switch and trailer brakes depending on the size of your trailer. Make sure you know and comply with the specific safety rules for your RV or trailer. You can find a summary of 2011 Driving Laws at Woodalls.com.

The link above also includes information on parking regulations that apply to rest areas, as well as size and weight limits allowed within each state. This is a great resource to determine a summary of rules and regulations for each state where you may be traveling, but make sure that you always confirm the information yourself, as rules and regulations can be updated and changed over time.

Towing Regulations

If you are towing, there may be other rules and regulation that apply to you. This includes certain towing safety requirements mentioned above, as well as length and weight limits. Make sure if you are towing that you know which rules apply to you. You can find a list of towing laws by state here, at TowingWorld.com

Final Words of Wisdom

Remember to always obey the rules of the road that apply to cars, just because there are more rules for RVs does not mean that the regular rules do not apply to you. RVing is a wonderful experience, you can see some of the most amazing sights in the world and continue to stay in the comfort of your own home-away-from-home. Make sure that you have a wonderful trip by complying with all of the rules of the road that apply to you, which is best accomplished by thoroughly knowing and understanding these rules and regulations.

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