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Are there any height restrictions for transporting an RV?

Published by Joe Webster.

What's in this article?
  1. Understanding legal Height limits
  2. How to Measure Your RV's Height
  3. State-Specific Height Regulations
  4. Challenges of Exceeding Height Restrictions
  5. Legal Penalties and Safety Risks
  6. Common Road Obstacles
  7. Navigational Tips and Tools
  8. Alternative Solutions for Height-Restricted Routes
  9. Professional RV Transport Services
  10. Criteria for Selecting the Right Transport Service
  11. Conclusion
Are there any height restrictions for transporting an RV?

Navigating the roadways with an RV requires a keen awareness of height restrictions to ensure safety and compliance with legal standards. Height limitations are crucial for the safe passage of RVs under bridges, overpasses, and through tunnels. This article provides an essential overview of legal height limits, focusing on general and specific regulations that impact maximum trailer length, maximum motorhome length, maximum combined length and maximum height for vehicles. Whether you're driving a small towing vehicle or a large motorhome, understanding these regulations is vital to prevent accidents and ensure smooth travels on both highways and local roads.


Height restrictions are critical safety measures imposed to ensure that vehicles, especially taller ones like RVs, can safely travel without colliding with overpasses, bridges, and infrastructure on designated highways. In the U.S., the legal height limits typically range between 13.5 feet and 14 feet. These limits are vital to prevent accidents that can occur from striking overhead structures, which could lead to significant damage to both the vehicle and the structure.

It is crucial for operators of larger vehicles, such as motor vehicles towing fifth wheel trailers or other large RVs, to be aware of these regulations. The maximum height, maximum trailer length, and maximum motorhome length are regulated not only on a federal level but also vary significantly between different states and localities. For example, maximum RV width and maximum combined length can also impact where an RV can legally travel, as some roads and bridges are not designed to accommodate wider or longer vehicles.

Adhering to these height limits helps ensure compliance with gross vehicle weight rating regulations and avoids legal complications. Operators should regularly check both federal and local guidelines as part of their travel planning to ensure all legal height limits are met, thus safeguarding their journey across various jurisdictions.

How to Measure Your RV's Height

Measuring the height of your RV is a straightforward but essential task to ensure compliance with height limits. Here is a step-by-step guide to accurately determining your RV’s height:

  • Prepare Your Vehicle: Park your RV on a flat surface to ensure accuracy. Ensure the RV is in a typical travel state, with all slides in and leveling systems disengaged.
  • Include Add-ons: Measure from the ground to the highest point of the RV, including any permanent attachments like AC units, antennas, or satellite dishes. These components can significantly add to the overall height and must be included to avoid underestimating the vehicle's total height.
  • Use Proper Tools: Utilize a straight, rigid measuring stick and a level to get the most accurate measurement from the highest point of the RV to the ground.
  • Record and Display: Once measured, record the height clearly and keep this information easily accessible, possibly displayed on the RV’s dashboard. An audible or visual device can be installed to warn if the vehicle approaches an area with clearance close to the RV's height.

Understanding and continually being aware of your RV's height is crucial, especially when navigating routes with potential low-clearance obstacles. This proactive approach not only ensures adherence to legal height limits but also enhances safety by reducing the risk of accidents related to overhead collisions.


State-Specific Height Regulations

Height restrictions in the United States are not uniformly applied across all states, leading to a patchwork of regulations that can affect anyone hauling taller loads or operating large vehicle combinations, including motor vehicles towing trailers or fifth wheels. For instance, the maximum height allowed on most federal highways is 13.5 feet, but some states may permit taller structures, while others might impose more stringent limits, especially in urban or densely populated areas.

Here is a breakdown of how these variations might look:

  • Maximum Trailer Length: This can vary, especially when considering the total combined length of a tow vehicle and its trailer.
  • Maximum Motorhome Length and Maximum RV Width: Some states have specific restrictions that might affect maneuverability on certain roads.
  • Fifth Wheel Trailer and Trailer Length: Often subject to different regulations because of their unique dimensions and the potential to exceed maximum gross weight limits.

A comparative table illustrating these differences can be exceedingly useful for drivers. It would list each state's allowed maximum length, maximum height, maximum combined length, and other relevant dimensions, ensuring that those vehicles towing trailers remain compliant, regardless of their route across state lines.


Challenges of Exceeding Height Restrictions

Exceeding established height limits presents significant risks and potential consequences that can affect the safety and legality of your travel. Collisions with overpasses, bridges, or tunnels are among the most immediate dangers when a vehicle exceeds the maximum height or maximum trailer length. Such incidents can lead to severe structural damages to both the infrastructure and the vehicle, potentially resulting in costly repairs and legal penalties.

Legal penalties: Fines for exceeding height restrictions can be substantial, and in some cases, may include liability for damages caused to road structures.

Safety risks: Apart from structural damage, there's a risk to overall road safety. Collisions resulting from height violations can lead to traffic disruptions and even accidents involving other road users.

Common Road Obstacles:

Overnight parking and low-clearance barriers: Places with low clearances that might not be immediately evident.

Urban underpasses and historical overpasses: Often have lower clearances than newer constructions on major highways.

For operators of large RVs or commercial vehicle combinations, understanding and adhering to these height restrictions is crucial. Knowing the specific state regulations and planning routes accordingly can help avoid these challenges and ensure a smooth, compliant journey.

Navigational Tips and Tools

When planning RV travel, navigating with height restrictions in mind is crucial to avoid any unforeseen difficulties. Here are some practical tips and tools for route planning:

  • Use Specialized GPS Systems and Apps: Invest in GPS systems and mobile apps designed specifically for RVs, which include features for height restrictions. These tools can alert you about low bridges, tunnels, and other obstacles based on your maximum RV height and maximum RV width. This proactive tech helps in avoiding routes that aren't suitable for your vehicle's dimensions.
  • Consult the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA): The FHWA provides resources and guides about federal highway restrictions, which are invaluable when planning interstate travel with large vehicles like fifth wheels or motor vehicles hauling substantial loads.
  • Review Posted Speed Limits and Road Signs: Always keep an eye out for road signs indicating height restrictions, especially in areas where posted speed limits may require sudden stops or slower driving to maneuver safely under a low clearance.

These navigational aids are essential for anyone hauling taller loads or driving large vehicle combinations, ensuring compliance with all height restrictions and helping to plot a safe and legal route across various terrains.


Alternative Solutions for Height-Restricted Routes

Navigating through areas with low clearance can be a significant challenge for RVs, especially those close to or at the maximum trailer length or maximum motorhome length. Here’s how to manage these challenges effectively:

  • Detour Planning: Always have a backup plan. Before your trip, identify alternative routes that accommodate your maximum combined length and maximum RV width. Tools like RV-specific GPS systems are invaluable here, offering detour options that avoid low clearances and other size-restrictive obstacles.
  • Professional RV Transport Services: For those not comfortable navigating tricky routes themselves, professional RV transport services offer a stress-free alternative. These services are equipped to handle large vehicle combinations and are well-versed in maximum trailer and vehicle restrictions across different states. They use this knowledge to navigate the best paths that comply with same restrictions and ensure safe delivery of your vehicle.
  • Local Insights: Engage with local RV communities online or through apps to get insights into navigating local routes. Often, local knowledge can provide real-time updates on construction, sudden clearance changes, or recommend the best times and routes for overnight parking and safe travel.

By employing these alternative solutions, RV drivers can ensure that their journey remains uninterrupted and safe, despite potential route challenges due to height restrictions. These strategies, combined with accurate vehicle measurements and the right tools, will help maintain compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, safeguarding your trip against common travel pitfalls.


Professional RV Transport Services

Using professional RV transport services offers significant benefits, particularly when dealing with the complexities of maximum trailer length, maximum motorhome length, and maximum RV width regulations. These professionals are skilled in navigating routes while adhering to strict height and length restrictions, ensuring your RV is transported safely and efficiently.


  • Expertise in Height Regulations: Professional transporters are well-versed in both federal and state-specific height restrictions. Their expertise ensures that your RV, regardless of its maximum motorhome length or maximum combined length, moves without hitting low bridges or restricted routes.
  • Appropriate Equipment: They utilize specialized equipment that accommodates the maximum trailer length and width, ensuring safe transit under any conditions.
  • Route Optimization: With access to advanced routing technologies, professional services can plan the most efficient path that complies with all maximum length and height restrictions, avoiding potential delays and hazards.

Criteria for Selecting the Right Transport Service

When choosing a professional RV transport service, consider the following criteria to ensure they can handle your specific needs related to maximum length and other dimensions:

  • Experience with Large Vehicles: Ensure the service has a proven track record of handling vehicles of similar maximum RV width and maximum motorhome length.
  • Knowledge of Regulations: The service should demonstrate a thorough understanding of nationwide height and maximum length restrictions.
  • Equipment and Insurance: Check that they have the right equipment to transport your RV safely and offer sufficient insurance coverage for maximum combined length vehicles.

Selecting the right service will help you navigate the complexities of RV transportation, adhering to all legal requirements.



Adhering to height and maximum length restrictions is crucial for the safe transport of RVs. Understanding these limits is essential not only for compliance but also to ensure the safety of your vehicle during transit. Thorough preparation, which includes knowing the maximum trailer length, maximum motorhome length, and maximum RV width, is indispensable before embarking on transporting your RV.

For reliable and expert RV transport services that skillfully navigate height restrictions and respect maximum length regulations, contact A1 Auto Transport. Their team of professionals ensures that your RV is transported with utmost care and precision, adhering to all safety standards and legal requirements. Trust A1 Auto Transport to deliver your RV to its destination safely and efficiently, ready for your next adventure.

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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