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Old 05-09-2021, 09:44 AM   #1
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How close is too close?

You know your coach is, lets say, 13 ft. tall. Youre clipping along, and see a clearance sign stating. 13 6 . Do you trust it? Slow down? (Which could lead to problems) How close is too close for you to take action? Or, not worry about it?
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Old 05-09-2021, 09:47 AM   #2
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Give me an inch I wont slow a mile.
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Old 05-09-2021, 10:03 AM   #3
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The sign indicated we should clear the bottom of the bridge by 2". I noticed the bridge was a slight arch type of concrete girder, so I slowed down and when traffic in the opposing direction cleared, I centered the coach straddling the center lane line. We made it!

Another time the police directed us onto a detour with a rope stretched overhead. The flagman told us "if you hit the rope stop". We didn't hit it so we were flagged us on. The rusty OLD R/R bridge overhead looked so narrow and impossible tight. Another flagman waved us through. The noise was horrendous! No not the bottom of the R/R bridge scraping the antenna and roof air-conditioned off, but the noise my wife made screaming!
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Old 05-09-2021, 10:14 AM   #4
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Since most clearance figures given have a safety margin of anywhere from 6 to 2 inches built in if it says 1 inch higher than your coach you're probably good. That said you do need to watch for detours where the bridge is over a dip in the road and although the measurement from the pavement to the road is OK when your wheels are on both sides of the dip, thereby raising the center of the coach, the measurement isn't OK. It never hurt so go a little slow or even stop in those situations, regardless of what other folks think.
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Old 05-09-2021, 10:17 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jandcinok View Post
You know your coach is, lets say, 13 ft. tall. You’re clipping along, and see a clearance sign stating. 13’ 6” . Do you trust it? Slow down? (Which could lead to problems) How close is too close for you to take action? Or, not worry about it?
In such a situation, you are likely not on an interstate or major highway truck route, as the height limits are above 14'.

Two important things to consider. First, how accurate is the measurement of your coach height, and second, where under the bridge is the measurement of the height limit?

You should know the answer to the first thing, and be confident in its accuracy. For the bridge height, you will only know that when you can actually see the bridge, where on the bridge the height is posted, and the shape of the bridge over your path. You may have to change lanes or even cross onto the center line to pass through, in an appropriately safe move, of course.

Let's not forget the "wild card." Possibly the roadway under the bridge has been resurfaced and the posted measurement was not yet changed. Just what is the clearance? On secondary roads, that may be a higher possibility due to coordination of the repair crews and survey crews or whatever department is responsible for signage.
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Old 05-09-2021, 10:20 AM   #6
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Luckily I can lower mine at least 2" and still drive since my rig is 13' high with the antennas higher.
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Old 05-09-2021, 10:25 AM   #7
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That depends on how I "know" my coach's height. Per the manufacturer's specs mine is 12' 6" but I've never actually measured it. When I entered the height into my Garmin RV 785 GPS I set it as 13' 0"

When we approach an underpass where we see a sign like that, so far always on side roads for us, we'll slow down and crawl through. We have a whip antenna for the radio above the driver and it's many inches higher than our air conditioners. If we hear the whip hit the bridge (and it's obvious when it hits a tree branch), we would stop and Get Out And Look (GOAL). That has never happened. Yet.

You need to treat bridge height signs with some skepticism. For example, look at the pavement underneath the bridge. If it looks newer, the road may have had a few inches of asphalt added and thus reduced the clearance yet the sign was not changed. If the bridge is arched, the sides may be way lower than the center. If possible, wait for oncoming traffic to vanish and drive down the center of the road.

The maximum height for a vehicle is 13' 6" in the USA. Interstate overpasses are rarely a problem nowadays but a few are. Here is a list that may help you: but I have no idea how often Coach-Net updates it or how thorough they are.


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Old 05-09-2021, 10:36 AM   #8
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My "conservative method" if there is a low clearance obstacle is to identify a nearby business (Google Map) and give them a call.

Do 18 wheelers drive under it? Even the most "unknowledgable" receptionist can answer that one.

If so, good to go.

Issue with "just barely clear" is that they may have added 2" more pavement!
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Old 05-09-2021, 10:46 AM   #9
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Obligatory ink, which I'm surprised no one else has posted yet: RV gets a close shave at the 11foot8 bridge - 11 FOOT 8

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Old 05-09-2021, 11:01 AM   #10
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My information is and do take this with salt if its an arch type bridge the measurement is the shortest point so it would be at the white line side.

The center should be much taller.

I was told that is mandatory from DOT. The only time it would be different is if there is multiple hight for different lanes.
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Old 05-09-2021, 11:04 AM   #11
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One thing to keep in mind, I have seen (while not driving my motorhome) more than one low clearance bridge where the road dipped right at the bridge. Point being, there may actually be a correct height listed for directly under the bridge but if you are in a long vehicle like many of our RV's are, then your front axle and rear axle may be on higher ground then directly under the bridge thereby reducing the clearance even more than the sign states (vs a straight level road under the low clearance bridge). ~Craig
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Old 05-09-2021, 11:07 AM   #12
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My motorhome is 12’ 9”
The Maine Turnpike (I 95) has a height limit of 13’ 6”
I always trusted the Maine Turnpike.
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Old 05-09-2021, 11:27 AM   #13
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DO NOT rely on the posted clearance height, especially on back roads and surface streets.

I had more than one garbage truck hit an overpass at speed.

The road below had been repaved several times and the sign was outdated.

If the margin is small, slow to a crawl and save big on personal injury and property damage.
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Old 05-09-2021, 11:35 AM   #14
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Our 5th wheel is 13'4" ACTUAL measurement to top of Front A/C Unit
Tows level
We ONLY travel secondary/back roads....

Our moto when traveling
When in DOUBT turn ABOUT

Simple.......alternate routes are available
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