RV lengths

First post. Lemme just say that I am thinking about doing the RV thing, but it won't be for awhile. I'm a disabled vet who is being treated for seizures. Hope is on the horizon. It may be a few years, but I will be safe to drive again (only 37, so I got time and I insist I be safe, first).

My question in this. States have different length and width maxes. So my question is if I drop the dimes for a bigger RV (42-45 feet, 8.5 feet wide), will I need a CDL or do I just chance it or does that only matter in the state of registration.

Case in point. PA's limit is 40 feet while CA's limit is 42. So if I bought a 42 footer in CA and visited family in PA, would I have problems in PA? If so, what problems?

I hear lots of people talk about driving their rigs, especially their high end rigs like Newmars, Monacos and good GAWD, Foretravels (that Phenix is just AWESOME looking), but most or all of them are bigger than 42 feet.

I wanna be able to save now and plan for a rig that will truly last us (we are the kind of folks that tend to keep things until they wear out) and have the space to take the whole family (there are 6 of us now with NO future additions and no pets :( ) Anyway, anyone know about the length deal? Any help is appreciated.


Senior Member
RV lengths

According to the Trailer Live Campground Directory, there is no state that does not allow an 8 1/2' wide RV, only the District of Columbia. Federal highway laws require that all roads that have been built with federal funds must allow vehicles that are 102" wide, excluding safety equipment. This is a non-issue.

On the length, the only states with length limits of less than 45' are, DC(40'), Maryland(40'), New Jersey(40'), Rhode Is. (40'), and Wisconsin(40'). I have never seen any reports of a state writing tickets for RVs being over length when registered in a state that allows them. By the way, PA has a length limit for motorhomes of 45' as does California.

Some states do require special licensing for larger motorhomes, usually by the weight. I believe that California is one of those. But having a CDL does not change the legal requirements of any state. Your licensing must meet the requirements of the state where your license was issued and each state will honor that, as a general rule.
RV lengths

Don't believe everything that the "Trailer Life Campground Directory" publishes as fact.
The following excerpt was taken from the Calif. DMV web site listed below.
"RV Lengths
Many highways either restrict or recommend non-use for vehicles over a certain length. Vehicle Code §35400 restricts the operation of housecars over 40 feet only on specified highways and within one mile of either side of those highways for access to fuel, food, or lodging. These highways include, but are not always limited to, the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways and all state routes. For exceptions to this list, visit the Caltrans website at: www.dot.ca.gov."


Senior Member
RV lengths

Has anyone been stopped in CA for being over length, or know someone who has been when traveling from another state?