The warm weather is here! If you’re heading out for some camping over the next few days, here’s hoping you’ve got your gear and site reservations in place. But if you’re using a recreational vehicle (RV), you’ll need to take a few extra steps before you’re ready to go.
Whether you prefer a motorhome, travel-trailer or a pick-up camper, we’ve got a few basic tips to keep you and your RV safe on the highway.
Know how much weight you’re carrying
Your vehicle or trailer will have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), which you should be able to find in your owner’s manual. If you’re overloading your vehicle, you’ll be putting a lot of extra stress on tires, brakes and engine – stresses your vehicle wasn’t designed to handle. If you’re carrying anything heavy, keep it as low as possible, and try to keep the weight of your vehicle evenly distributed. Uneven loads can make driving difficult and dangerous. If you’re not sure how much your RV weighs, one option is to have it weighed at your nearest station. You can find a list of weigh stations here. You are only required to stop in at a weight scale if you have a licensed GVW exceeding 5,500kgs.
Make sure your vehicle is ready for the trip
You might be ready to get out on the road, but you need to make sure your vehicle is, too. Besides the obvious checks of your engine and brakes, make sure to look at your lights and signals as well as your tire pressure and your towing setup as well. The last thing you want is to have your vacation plans spoiled by mechanical problems.
Get informed and know before you go
Have a look at DriveBC and see if there’s any construction or other obstacles you might encounter on your journey. Don’t forget you can look up weather information and check out our traffic webcams there, too.
Also be sure to drop by our Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement Branch’s website. They have a lot of useful information on trailer and recreational vehicle towing as well as an excellent guide on gross vehicle weight ratings, brake requirements and Driver’s Licence Types For Recreational Vehicles.
This goes without saying, but it’s all the more important when driving a large vehicle or towing a trailer. Be sure to leave yourself lots of time to get where you’re going and don’t hurry. Remember, you’re driving with a big load, and the heavier it is, the harder it’ll be for you to stop! So keep an eye out for other drivers and make lots of room between you and the vehicle in front.
Page 1 of 28 comments on “On the Road to RV Safety”
Hi! Are RVs allowed on Highway 99 between Cache Creek and Squamish at this time? Thanks.
Hello – thanks for your question.
Drivers of recreational vehicles must obey winter tire and chain signs throughout the province from October 1 to April 30. For select highways not located through mountain passes and/or high snowfall areas, tire and chain requirements end March 31.
Sections of highways requiring winter tires or chains on board are marked with roadside signs. The symbol of the truck camper on the tires and chains sign represents all classes of recreational vehicles (RVs), including RVs that look similar to commercial buses.
The minimum tire requirement for recreational vehicles is M+S tires, however we recommend carrying chains or having the vehicle equipped with other traction devices in case severe winter conditions are encountered.
Otherwise, consider waiting to travel over high mountain passes such as this one at Duffy Lake, until the risk of extreme winter weather passes.
Here is a link to more information on winter driving and RVs. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/driving-and-cycling/traveller-information/seasonal/winter-driving/recreational-vehicles
I have a small camper with an overhang, am I legally able to tow a boat?
Thanks for connecting with us here. We reached out to our staff in the Commercial Transport division and they have advised they responded to your inquiry via email. Please let us know if you need anything further; otherwise, we will consider this question resolved. Thanks!
I am looking for information regarding fire safety with regards to RV’s and trailer parks (i.e., fire extinguisher requirements, minimum spacing between RV’s, fire rated materials that should be used, smoke detectors required, etc.). Anywhere I could find legislation or requirements?
Hello Jason – thanks for your question. We encourage you to reach out to WorkSafeBC and ICBC for more info on this.
What components are required for vehicles to qualify as n RV/Motorhome in BC? ie; toilet, stove, etc. Where is can this information be found ?
Hi there Tim,
Great question. It is our understanding that there is no one item that makes a vehicle an RV/motorhome, rather it is the GVW and manufacturer details which ICBC will need in order to insure. We suggest you reach out to ICBC directly with your question and see what further info they can provide. We are including a link to a PDF, published by ICBC, for more information: https://www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/Documents/towing-trailer-full-guide.pdf
We hope this is helpful. Safe travels!
i asked is law to weigh an rv in bc? then I get astory which has noting to do with the matter.
How about a yes or no?
You are only required to stop in at a weight scale if you have a licensed GVW exceeding 5,500kgs.
I once had to leave my rv on the side of the road, in the emergency lane, so that I could get a tire repaired in town. What are the legalities surrounding the parking of a detached trailer on the side of the road, and how would that differ if I would have maybe pulled into a rest spot, if I could have made it. I was a little worried because I couldn’t leave the lights activated on the trailer since I detached from it.
Vehicles (and even trailers) left on the road side or in our rest areas are monitored and eventually reported by our staff to the RCMP (if they’ve been left for multiple days. We suggest that drivers who need to abandon a vehicle leave contact information for follow up, should something prevent them from returning to their vehicle. Hope this is helpful!
Can I use commercial weigh scales to weigh my RV? Ron
You sure can, Ron. Here’s a list of stations. You might want to call before you go to confirm hours of operation. Safe travels!
I have two residences one in Bc and one in AB I just registered my truck in Bc after purchasing it in AB a year ago and did not have to pay the Pst if the same applies to my travel trailer do I have to pay PST to register it in BC?
Hi there Gerry – thanks for connecting with us here. Unfortunately, it sounds like a question for ICBC. We’ve included a link to contact them here:https://www.icbc.com/about-icbc/contact-us/Pages/default.aspx
I need to know the drivers license regulations in terms of regulations pertaining to length, weight, brakes and engine types. Where can I find these regulations.
Hi there Darren – check out ICBC’s page here: https://www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/types-licences/Pages/Towing-a-recreational-trailer.aspx
Hope this helps. Safe travels.
LOOKING FOR THE LEGAL CENTER OF GRAVITY INFO FOR LOADING CAMPERS. I KNOW IT SHOULD BE IN FRONT OF THE CENTER OF THE AXLE, BUT WHAT IS THE LAW?
Good morning Pete!
We checked with our staff in the CVSE and they informed us that there is no particular legislation governing this. We did find this article, which you might find helpful. You might also want to confirm that you are not exceeding any manufactured ratings on your truck as well. You can check directly with your truck manufacturer if you need clarification on that.
Hope that this is helfpul!
Where can I find the correct information about seat belts rules for a camperised shuttle bus. There wasnt any seatbelts in mine when I got it. can I have passengers sitting at be dining table or bed while im driving?
Thanks for your question about seatbelts for your camperized shuttle bus.
Please direct your questions to RoadSafetyBC which is the BC government organization responsible for that aspect of motorist safety. You can reach them via:
Toll Free: 1 855 387-7747
Victoria Phone: 250 387-7747 or
What licence do I need to drive a 40ft class a motor home with air brakes or without air brakes
Hi Kyle – great question. The good folks in ICBC have a page with all sorts of details of the requirements.
Hi, Wondering were I can find out info./regulations on hauling a camper and what length of campers can be hauled. I have a 2003 Ford 4×4 – 4 door Ford 150. I’ve heard stories about not exceeding box length with the tailgate down?
Hi Johnny B,
We have sent your question directly to the good folks at the CVSE and they will be responding directly to you. Thanks for connecting with us here.
Now with the weigh stations located on the highways of our beautiful province, can a non commercial vehicle just stop at the scale and weigh their vehicle? If so what is the procedure to drive on it? Maybe someone from the CVSE can provide that kind of information.
Yes, you are welcome to use the scales. The self weigh scales are always open to the public. With all other scales, and due to commercial traffic, we ask that you touch base with the CVSE officer on site before being directed how to proceed.
A couple helpful links:
List of inspection stations: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/cvse/inspection_stations.htm
Map of inspection stations: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/CVSE_Mobile/InspectionStations/