Published earlier in PopUp Times Magazine
Everyone should be aware that state laws vary in regard to trailer towing and driving safety. When making your traveling plans this season,it is wise to contact the police or highway department of the individual state where you ’ll be traveling to make sure that you comply with their particular driving and towing laws. Penalties can range anywhere from warnings to arrests!
For example,taking a 20 pound propane canister through a Maryland tunnel is actually an arrestable offense, carrying a maximum $500 fine and/or imprisonment. (MD rules and regulations #11.07.01.01)
Going through a Virginia or Pennsylvania tunnel with that same canister (valve closed) is perfectly legal. The majority of states require the use of seatbelts for all passengers, and safety seats for children under a certain age.
Many states require your headlights to be on while your windshield wipers are. Most have RV safety laws, requiring trailer brakes, breakaway switch and safety chains for trailers exceeding a certain weight.
Some states require the use of these items (if you ’re a resident) on any trailer regardless of weight. Several states require RVs to have flares, reflective signs and a fire extinguisher in case of emergency. Many states also have laws regulating the speed of vehicles towing trailers.
Some states may force you to use right hand lanes,while others may simply restrict your speed to 55-60 mph. Some states will allow you to travel in car pool lanes (with the appropriate number of passengers), while others will not.
In a few states, there are additional restrictions involving the transport of 20lb propane bottles. Several states allow you to travel on highways with open valves on propane cylinders, and others, such as California and New Jersey, do not. Some states, such as Virginia, stipulate that you must close the valve before entering tunnels.Other states,such as Maryland, New York and Massachusetts, do not allow propane bottles in tunnels at all.
In New York, bottled gas is also prohibited on the lower levels of George Washington Bridge and Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and on some roads through Manhatta.
Some states,such as Connecticut,Illinois and Massachusetts, ban trailers altogether from certain roadways. To avoid frustration, travel delays, fines and potential dangers, it is wise to plan your route carefully, be familiar with the varied state laws, and abide by them!
There are several sources that you can refer to for finding out information on individual state laws:
Woodall ’s Campground Directory (www.woodalls.com) compiles a convenient “Rules of the Road ” list, organized by state, of driving laws and RV Safety Requirements. It includes the addresses and phone numbers of the appropriate state police or transportation department for further information.
Wikipedia has a list of toll roads by state. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_toll_roads_in_the_United_States)
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.