Yes, it is legal to open RV slide outs at a rest area. That is, none of the 50 states have laws or regulations against this. However, you should only do so with caution to due to narrow parking lanes at rest areas. This is because trucks can easily slam in your slide out.
Is it Legal to Open RV Slide Outs at a Rest Area?
None of the 50 states have laws or regulations concerning the opening of RV slide outs while parked at a rest area. However, there still may be situations where this could be illegal in certain states (see below).
Overlapping Parking Spaces
The following states have regulations that require you to keep your vehicle within a single parking space. Hence, you will need to make sure that your slide does not hang over into an adjacent space…
- 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.“
Blocking the Flow of Traffic
The following states have regulations that prohibit your vehicle from parking within any public area in such a way that it blocks or impedes the flow of traffic…
- 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.”
If Another Vehicle Crashes Into Your Slide Out, You Could Be at Fault
If you opened up your RV slide outs, and another vehicle struck your slide out, you could be at fault. If your slide out impeded the safe flow of traffic, or if it encroached into another parking space, then you will be liable for damages to the other vehicle and persons.
This will be the case in all 50 states, not just those mentioned above.
Opening Your RV Slide Outs Could be Construed as Camping
Twenty-three (23) states have laws or regulations that ban camping at official highway rest areas. See our other article, “Which States Allow Overnight Parking at Rest Areas” for a list of these states.
However, these states don’t offer a definition of “camping”. But generally speaking, it refers to sleeping on the ground, erecting a tent, or sleeping on rest area facilities. As long as you stay within your vehicle, and act like someone who is tired or sleeping, most law enforcement officers will not charge you with camping.
However, if it appears that you are enjoying some form of recreation during the night time hours, there are a minority of officers who will take offense and knock on your door. This is because rest areas are intended for drowsy drivers, and because there are lot of truck drivers who need a rest.
Our advise is to keep your slides in and act like someone who is too tired to stay awake.