From a legal standpoint, no, RVs are not required to use truck parking at rest areas. Even though most rest areas do have signs directing trucks, RVs, and cars towards different parking areas, these are only meant to aid visitors, not to require them. However, all 50 states do have parking laws that apply to all public roads and public parking areas, and these laws could force a large RV to stay out of the “car parking” area.
Are RVs Required to Use Truck Parking at Rest Areas?
None of the states have laws or regulations that require RVs to park in the truck parking spaces of rest areas. They instead leave that to the discretion of each driver to decide where to park their rig. Even though most rest areas do have signs that direct trucks and RVs to specific areas, these signs are not meant as requirements. They are simply there to help visitors navigate the rest area.
To answer the question…. no, RVs are not required to park in the truck parking section of a rest area. However, if you choose to park your RV in the car parking section, you may be in violation of other parking laws.
All States Have Laws Against Blocking the Flow of Traffic
If your RV is large enough that it does not fit into a car parking space, and ends up blocking the flow of traffic, then you could be cited by a law enforcement officer. For that matter, medium to large RVs are advised to head straight to the truck parking area instead. However, if you believe your RV is small enough to fit into a car parking space, then you’re free to park there.
All states make it illegal to block the flow of traffic along public roads and parking areas. Each state will word these laws differently, and will codify them differently, yet the end result is always the same. If you choose to park your RV in the car parking section of a rest area, and your RV is long enough that it blocks other vehicles from moving safely, you will likely be cited by a law enforcement officer.
Here are some examples of states…
- California codifies this into their Code of Regulations, under the Transportation Department (21 CCR § 2205), stating… “(q) Users shall not block vehicular or pedestrian traffic.”
- Texas states in its DMV Driver’s Handbook, under Chapter 7… “Whether occupied or not, do not park or allow a vehicle to stand idling: 1. In front of a public or private driveway“
- Colorado codified this into Title 42 (Vehicles and Traffic), officially enumerated as (§ 42-4-1202)… “(1) No person shall stop, park, or leave standing any vehicle, either attended or unattended, outside of a business or a residential district, upon the paved or improved and main-traveled part of the highway.“
- New York codifies this into its Codes, Rules & Regulations, specifically under Title 17 Transportation, Part 156… “(b) In no event shall a vehicle be parked in such a manner as to block ingress or egress to or from a rest or parking area or scenic overlook, or to prevent the free movement of another vehicle therein.”
Are Vans and Pickup Truck Campers Allowed to Use Truck Parking Spaces?
From a legal standpoint, yes, vans and pickup truck campers are allowed to park in spaces designed for commercial trucks. None of the states we’ve examined have any laws or regulations that make this illegal.
However, if your van or pickup truck camper can fit inside a car parking space, it’s highly advisable that you park in the car parking section instead.
Are Small RVs and Small Trailers Allowed to Park in Car Parking Spaces?
Yes, a small RV or small trailer can be parked in a car parking space, assuming it can fit into that space. If however, your RV or trailer exceeds the length of that space, and blocks the flow of traffic, it would be a violation of law.
Can an RV Take up Two or More Car Parking Spaces?
Most states have not adopted laws or regulations that require vehicles to occupy only one marked parking space. But, there are a handful of states that have…
- Illinois codified this as an Administrative Rule, under its Transportation Department, as Section 533.60 Vehicles. Note that this applies only to rest areas, and not any other parking lot… “c) Vehicles shall occupy no more than one marked parking space.”
- Florida has codified some Administrative Rules under its Transportation Department (14-28.002), specifically to rest areas only. It requires that you cannot park in a space that was not designed to accommodate your vehicle’s size… “(6) All vehicles, including commercial motor vehicles, must be parked in the appropriate parking space designed to accomodate the vehicle.“
- New York codifies rest area rules into its Codes, Rules & Regulations, specifically under Title 17 Transportation, Part 156… “(a) Vehicles shall be parked only in those portions of rest or parking areas or scenic overlooks designated for parking and in accordance with the sign or striping scheme found therein.“
- Virginia has codified some Administrative Rules under its Transportation Department (24VAC30-50-10) prohibiting a vehicle from occupying more than one parking space… “G. No vehicle shall be parked in such manner as to occupy more than one marked parking space.“
Note: while states not mentioned above have no official laws or regulations that limit your vehicle to just one marked space, they may still have erected signs at some or all of their rest areas with additional rules.