CA rules of the road?

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CA rules of the road?

Postby cuyeda » Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:30 pm

I live in CA, and just found out that the legal speed limit while pulling a trailer is 55 mph. Which raises another question with regards to which lanes a car towing a trailer can be in.

Is it illegal to be in lanes other than the #1 or #2 (slow) lanes?

Is it illegal to drive in the car pool lanes with more than one passenger?

I have seen large RV's and buses in the carpool lanes, as well as large RV's in the fast lanes.
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Postby SilverFox » Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:53 pm

I would say Yes to your first question, I havent seen any Tow vehicles in the car pool lane so as to the second question I will defer.

Good questions
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Postby Leon » Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:55 pm

A motorhome is considered by california to be an Automobile which can use any lane. Pulling a trailer may require you to use the right two lanes (most areas are like that) but not all areas have that restriction. The #1 lane (closest to the center) is not a good place to be if you are trying to go anywhere near the speed limit when towing, as you will usually be around 20 MPH slower than the surrounding traffic. I myself usually travel around 65 because if I'm going any slower I get cut off, tailgated, and have even had a gun pulled on me, all while in the slow lane. California is on of the few states that have the stupid idea of tieing up traffic by making trailers go slower than everyone else. If I'm trying to go near the limit of 55 I'm even getting cussed out by trucks that are supposed to be going the same speed. The solution, speed and take it to court if you get ticketed. My 14000 pound motorhome can be driven at 70 while my car with teardrop at less than 5000 pounds has to go 55. :thinking:
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Postby Gerdo » Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:07 pm

Don't even get me going on the unqualified drivers that can just hop into a 50' 30,000 lb motorhome. There is zero training or license requirements. Buy it and hop in and drive away.
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Postby jimqpublic » Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:57 pm

From a fellow Long Beach resident-

Towing speed limit is 55. I generally drive up to about 62. Okay sometimes 65. But only when the other traffic is really zooming.

Lane controls- On a freeway or highway when there are x lanes going in your direction you can drive as follows:
1 lane- Duh!
2 lanes- right lane except to pass
3 lanes- right lane except to pass, then you can use the middle lane
4 or more lanes- right two lanes
Carpool/HOV lane- NO

Some areas have exceptions that will be posted- CA-99 through Fresno you can use the 3 right lanes.

"Truck Route" sometimes say "All vehicles with trailers" (5/99 split north of Grapevine), others don't specify. I don't know what the law is if it doesn't say "All trailers". I usually take the truck route.

Chain controls when icy: When towing any time that chains are required you must have one drive axle of the tow vehicle chained- even if you have 4WD and snow tires. If your trailer has brakes you must have chains on (one braked axle).

I carry chains for the Subaru and Chalet- but have 'forgotten' to put them on and it did fine.

PS-
The lanes are numbered from the left starting with #1.
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Postby doug hodder » Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:18 am

Cliff...I got ticketed on the way from SLO...65 while pulling a trailer. I asked the nearly 22 yr old CHP officer just what speed can "I get away with" as when I go 55 I seem to be an accident waiting to happen and that none of the trucks are doing 55. He just sort of looked away and mentioned that if I were to keep it between 60-65 I should be OK. Seems to be each CHP officers own discretion. Doug
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Postby sunny16 » Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:27 am

While dring to MdO last week I thought about the 55 rule in CA, too. The signs are posted eveywhere. I thought it was a bit dumb since every 18 wheeler that we followed, we had a hard time keeping up with. 65 seemed to be the norm althought 70+ on the flats worked pretty good at times. I was going to ask a trucker what they do with this law but never got around to it. We just stayed up with the trucks around us and figured IF we got pulled over, we would deal with it then. If I would have driven the 55 as posted we would never have gotten there. It was a long enough drive going 65-70 accross the state. We did see the Highway Patrol a couple of time during our trip but never was stopped or even looked at. I think one even passed up up once in CA. I guess it just depends on the officer's attitude. I can't remember any truckers going slow except for maybe on the steeper hills. Maybe next time I won't be so lucky!!
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Postby dmb90260 » Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:08 am

I guess size matters. When I pulled my teardrop I approached 65 often but did not go over that, gas mileage dropped only a mile or so gallon. With my "big" trailer I stick around 60. It is that law thing but it is also the MPG thing. With the Kenskill my MPG dropped from 15 to 10. :shock:
I get decent MPG at 60 so that is where I generally drive.

Lanes, I stick to the slow side but #4 & #5 often drop off and rather than keep making lane changes I generally stick to #3. I try to watch traffic and if #4 is open and I seem to be blocking traffic I move over. One advantage about the bigger trailer, when you start to change lanes people get out of your way. The teardrop did not seem to have that intimidating power. :o

When in doubt I watch the semi's and stay in their lane. This is very helpful with going across country in unknown territory.
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Driving in the fast lane

Postby Guy » Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:28 am

When driving in LA, with a handicap sticker and tear in tow, I have driven in the carpool lane since it is legal. When on the open freeways I have generally kept it down to 55, trying never to hit 60.

One of the finest things I discovered when going on my six trips across the country is that by keeping the speed down I really enjoyed the trip more. This is easy, as long as you do not have a miles goal for a day but rather stop wherever and whenever you get tired. This is more difficult for teardroppers who have to get home on Sundays to get back to work and their truly busy schedules. However, for all the upset about fastdrivers bearing down on you or flipping you the bird. The hell with them! I take great pleasure in the vast number of drivers who pass me and give me the thumbs up for the teardrop. I just smile because I was on teardrop time!
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Re: Driving in the fast lane

Postby NutmegJoe » Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:40 am

Guy wrote:I take great pleasure in the vast number of drivers who pass me and give me the thumbs up for the teardrop. I just smile because I was on teardrop time!


Guy...I love doing that too! It's great being on teardrop time! I just stay in the right lane and let everyone else jockey to get ahead of the next guy. Much more enjoyable drive!
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Postby Gage » Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:58 pm

When someone flips me the bird, I just blow them a kiss as they go by. That keeps them upset for the rest of thier drive. :lol:
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Postby jeepr » Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:26 pm

California is one crazy state.

The last time I drove there, we flew into LA, rented a car at 3:00 A.M., and figured we would be out of LA before rush hour. Well, apparently it's always rush hour there! I hit the e-way and everyone had the pedal to the metal and were driving about 5 feet from the car in front of them! I learned real quick not to use my turn signal to change lanes, because if you gave the person notice that you wanted over, he would jump up and block you. You need to wait until they are distracted answering their phone or changing the TV station and jump over into their lane! :lol:

I think driving 55 through there would make you a traffic hazard!

Then driving down from San Francisco to LA, we took that route along the ocean. What a beautiful drive, if you were to ban all the loco drivers! The road twists and turn, there was stone wall rising up along the left and a guardrail (if you were lucky) and nothing on the right! I was driving a rented Taurus, driving about 5mph over the speed limit, white knuckling it around corners with the tires squealing in protest, all the while old ladies in Toyotas and Hondas were passing me on the blind curves and flipping me the bird! :lol:

It was bizarre!

Then I found out where all the VW microbuses went to die. Big Sur. Yep, I think it is a pre-requisite to moving there, a pair of leather sandals and a VW microbus.

Well, I am just rambling now, but you wouldn’t believe the things I caught while fishing out there! :lol:
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Postby cuyeda » Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:29 pm

doug hodder wrote:Cliff...I got ticketed on the way from SLO...65 while pulling a trailer. I asked the nearly 22 yr old CHP officer just what speed can "I get away with" as when I go 55 I seem to be an accident waiting to happen and that none of the trucks are doing 55. He just sort of looked away and mentioned that if I were to keep it between 60-65 I should be OK. Seems to be each CHP officers own discretion. Doug


Doug, saw your post about getting the speed ticket, and prompted me to get clarification on the car pool. I can shamelessly admit going faster than 65mph with my trailer at times. I was not aware of the 55mph rule until your post.

It is ironic to be stuck in the L.A. traffic on the 405 fwy, seeing the LARGE RV's/Buses in any lane they choose to be, including the carpool lane. Our trailers are considerably smaller than such vehicles, but we are subject to a slower speed and lane limit.
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Postby sdtripper2 » Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:59 pm

California DMV Rules for Trailers

<img align="left" src="http://www.caldrive.com/images/limit65.gif">Maximum speed limit for vehicles towing trailers
The maximum speed limit on most California highways is 65 mph. You may
drive 70 mph where posted. Unless otherwise posted, the maximum
speed limit is 55 mph on two-lane undivided highways and for
vehicles towing trailers
.


California State highway signs
related to trucks & trailers with 3 or more axles:

Image
California highway signs in pdf format
California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices Branch

California DMV Towing Vehicles & lane restrictions
When you tow a vehicle or trailer, or drive a bus or three- or more-axle
truck, you must drive in the right-hand lane or in a lane specially marked for
slower vehicles
. If no lanes are marked and there are four lanes or more in
your direction, you may only drive in either of the two lanes closest to the
right edge of the road
.


Carpool Lanes
Vehicles towing trailers are typically not allowed to use carpool lanes
because they must drive more slowly and are usually restricted to the
right-hand lane
.

California DMV Recreational Vehicles and Trailers Handbook

My experience:
I find that staying close to 60 MPH seems tolerable and staying with trucks
in the slow lanes seems to be a rule of thumb. Also find that going 55 MPH
saves me on gas as my mileage goes uP. However creeping uP to 65 MPH
or better seems easy to do when I get impatient. With Doug's reality check,
I now will reevaluate my lead foot placement.
Last edited by sdtripper2 on Sat Oct 13, 2007 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Claw » Thu Sep 20, 2007 6:34 pm

Illinios has similar restrictions on speed for trucks and RVs. 65 for cars and 55 for trucks and RVs with similar lane restrictions at certian places around Chicago. I have driven both RVs and tractor trailers here and typically the troopers will leave you alone if <65 is maintained.

I agree with Guy about keeping the speed down to make for a more enjoyable trip. The reason I believe one can enjoy the trip more is that there is little need for lane changes and no stress watching out for radar.
5 mph will not get you there significantly faster.
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