Thursday, August 11, 2022

MENU

RVers and truckers forced to share a 20-mile right lane on Arizona interstate?

A new rule by Arizona’s Department of Transportation is creating a hissy-fit among truck drivers, and could prove frightening for RVers. A 20-mile stretch of Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Casa Grande is, at present, only two lanes in each direction. ADOT—the state’s highway agency—says too many accidents are caused by heavy trucks on that roadway. Until the stretch can be widened, trucks are now required to stay in the right lane only.

Peterbilt inches behind your rear bumper

right lane
Arizona DOT

How will RVers be affected? While the new regulations technically apply to commercial truck traffic, RVers may see some frightening fallout. Much—if not all—of this stretch of the interstate is a posted 75-mile-per-hour limit. We know several RVers who simply don’t feel safe towing their rigs at that speed. They habitually use the right lane while driving slower than the posted limit. Imagine being “in the lead” position in the right lane at 55 mph. Looking in your rearview mirror may present the ominous specter of a Peterbilt inches behind your rear bumper.

Truckers have expressed a similar concern. We spoke with Tony Bradley, president of the Arizona Trucking Association (ATA), the industry group representing truckers in Arizona. About ADOT’s new right-lane-only restrictions idea, Bradley “politely” described it as, “Not the wisest policy.” Bradley observed that ADOT took the position because, as it says, “heavy vehicles were involved in about 20 percent of crashes.” The truckers’ association responds, why doesn’t ADOT go after the cause of the other 80% of crashes? “The problem,” says Bradley, “is the folks going 95 and zipping in and out of traffic.”

“Law of unintended consequences”

Bradley worries the end result of ADOT’s restrictions will be the playout of the “law of unintended consequences.” The trucking association envisions not only impeded commerce, but “a wall of trucks following slower traffic.” Looking for compromise, the ATA asked the state to open up portions of the 20-mile corridor, allowing trucks to pass slower moving rigs. ADOT gave the idea a thumbs down.

right lane
Arizona DOT. Click to enlarge.

We asked ADOT about the issue. We got what truckers will probably view as anything but a useful response. “Trucks are restricted to the right lane only on a 20-mile section of I-10 between Phoenix and Casa Grande. The restriction is in place between mileposts 164-183, where the speed limit is 75 mph. Trucks can pass on the remainder of the highway between Phoenix and Tucson.”

Given that the men and women behind the wheels of those 18-wheelers are likely being paid by the mile, and given that they probably have a dispatcher hounding them, a restriction on “only on a 20-mile section” is cold comfort. Given that set of circumstances, the likelihood of being an RVer tailgated by a column of big rigs seems pretty high.



“RVers do have the right to travel in the right lane”

We asked ADOT for its advice to RVers who may find themselves in an uncomfortable situation on the interstate. “RVers do have a right to travel in the right lane, and we suggest drivers leave plenty of extra space between vehicles as a safety precaution.” Handy advice! We may be able to “leave plenty of extra space” ahead of us. Keeping the rear end in that same position is not up to us. Aside from jamming the “pedal to the metal” and hoping for the best, what’s to do? The only other options appear to be looking for an alternative route.

From the west, RVers could take SR 85 south near Buckeye, then I-8 west to meet back up with the 10 below Casa Grande. From the east side of Phoenix, it’s a bit trickier. You could take the Loop 202 to SR 87 below Chandler, and follow it and SR 287 south to the 10 at Picacho. Or go ahead and take the 10 all the way. Just say your prayers and make sure your insurance is fully paid.

ATA’s Tony Bradley has another wry view of the matter. Arizona’s legislature has appropriated $400 million to make that 20-mile stretch three lanes in each direction. The project to widen will begin sometime in 2023. “In a year or so,” Bradley says, “everyone will be sharing one lane on that corridor.” That is, until the project is completed. Right lane only? One for all, and all for one.


##RVT1058b

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

68 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Charles
1 month ago

I hate driving between Phoenix and Tucson for this reason. There are a lot of crappy truck drivers out there who try to pass a truck that is going .03 miles an hour slower than them. They cause a huge stack of traffic that gets frustrated. And snowbirds driving 55 in an RV. I love this rule. Stay in the right lane!

Bernie
1 month ago

I frequent that section of I-10 and I have no problem doing 75 (in my 35ft RV) on that section to help and do my part to help everyone.
It’s the grades and mountain curves where I slow down matching what the 18 wheelers do.
I see a lot of truckers pulling out to pass 10 below the speed limit and take 3-4 minutes to pass another 18 wheeler on I10 any every other trip ive taken. Clearly those jerks are the cause of this rule until that last section is widened to 3 lanes.

Michael Hawkins
1 month ago
Reply to  Bernie

What people don’t realize that these “slow” trucks are governed to stop the driver from over running the motor. So the owners are. To blame but they usually are not doing the driving. So one group is trying to make more money. Those ” slow pokes” have no choice but to block traffic, and most of them don’t care..Glad I am out of that rat race. Sorry but that is life in the fast lane.

Tim Hardy
1 month ago

Trucks are governed by their company for insurance and fuel mileage purposes.

Pope
1 month ago

Peterbuilt??? It’s Peterbilt

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
1 month ago
Reply to  Pope

Well, shoot! Thanks, Pope. My uncle drove Peterbilts for decades. I knew something didn’t look quite right, but it just didn’t register. It’s been corrected. Have a good night. 😀 –Diane

J downing
1 month ago

If you’re not ok with doing the posted speed limit then you should not be on that road. Period. You’re putting everyone else in danger because you refuse to use an alternate route. There are several alternate routes, 2 of them listed in this article. No one should be held hostage by a 70 year old in an RV who is scared to do the speed limit because the only time he has been in a vehicle that size was the test drive to buy the RV. If the person driving the RV doesn’t like being tailgated then take another route. It’s that simple.

Helmut
1 month ago
Reply to  J downing

Agree, as I stated below. These once in a life time RVer’s should not be allowed on the road without passing a driving test along with a ***** age/cognitive test.

Ron H.
1 month ago
Reply to  J downing

I’m a 77-year-old RVer who has traveled in all lower 48 states. I’m not afraid of speed limits, but I tow an older Honda that, according to its manual, should not be towed faster than 65. Therefore, we generally travel at around 60 mph. If the speed limit is 75, that’s the “maximum” speed, not the minimum. All drivers, including the slower ones, need to be patient and considerate of others who also have a right to travel that highway. Nobody should be pushed onto an alternate route so others can go faster. Slow down, reduce stress, conserve your fuel, enjoy the scenery and pass, if you must, at the next opportunity.

David
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron H.

Your “rights” end with being unable to operate your vehicle in a safe manner. If you can’t drive the posted speed limit, find a slower road. 65 in a 75 is ridiculous.

J.Warden
1 month ago
Reply to  J downing

If you know a little about safe driving with an RV, at least with trailer pull rigs, you would know it is not safe to go much over 55. And perhaps there is not work around…why not have the larger trucks take an alternate route?

Helmut
1 month ago

RVer’s going 55 in a 75mph zone ! There’s your problem. They are impeding traffic and are causing hazardous conditions and should be ticketed. Post signs to that affect and order them to use the suggested alternative routes. I’ll take an experienced trucker any day over a nervous lazy {bleeped} RV who had no business on the road if they can’t handle to traffic and speed zones.

Mike
1 month ago

First off trucks using the left lane to pass a truck going 1 mph slower than them is dangerous and annoying. This happens way too much on the east bound / up hill stretch.

Second, it’s doubtful that truckers are going to be tailgating anyone. They are mostly smarter and safer than that. Enjoy the convoy and increased gas mileage of being a safe distance behind a truck for the 20 mile section.

Lastly there is a road which parallels I-10 just to the east. If you don’t feel safe, jump over there for the short stretch and enjoy the new scenery.

Bob
1 month ago

I’ve never encounter a single trucker even doing 75 or even 70 in this stretch of highway or even the whole stratch from PHX to Tucson. The only things these truckers do in the 20 mile stretch is cut people off that are in the left lane doing the speed limit (or faster) and their going like 60 mph and take forever to pass whoever it is in the right line they want around. I’ve already seen truckers ignoring this new rule so I doubt it’ll do any good.

As someone comment about limiting RVers during certain hours. Maybe we should limit truckers from the stretch during rush hours cause this area is a cluster then.

MJ Cunningham
1 month ago

Just another reason for RVs to avoid the interstates when possible. I noticed that DOT did not offer an obvious change that might reduce accidents and that is to reduce the speed limit in the 20 mile section to 60 or 65 for ALL vehicles. Then have DPS enforce the limit with ZERO TOLLERANCE. As a former “big truck’ owner-driver, now RV driver, I would prefer the reduced speed limit to the new plan that mixes vehicle at different speeds

Even with this new “right lane” restriction, DPS will need to be out there to enforce it. This still does not eliminate the autos driving 95-100 out there.

Veronica
1 month ago
Reply to  MJ Cunningham

I have noticed more older vehicles and seniors driving on that strip yes truck down rivers do take up both lanes however a slow driver can hold up both lanes and I have never seen a slow driver pulled over! If The state would manage their money better our streets and roads would be in good condition not great but good as of now many roads in the city and on the highway are not safe in Arizona. The state instead of sugarcoating the roads basically a thin layer of color that fades within months would put the money to work the right way we wouldn’t be needing to repair our road so often, thanks to the good old boys we have the worst roads And streets I have ever seen. So state of Arizona stop being so cheap! our cities are growing and our roads are the same. I remember quite a while back hearing that a truck route was being talked about from phoenix to Tucson 20 years later they still haven’t They are still working on it? What ever happened with the commuter train from phoenix to Tucson?

J.Warden
1 month ago
Reply to  MJ Cunningham

Excellent suggestion to reduce the speed for all

James johnson
1 month ago

We cannot drive faster than 60 when towing a car as per our car’s owner’s manual, to protect the transmission. This situation is a recipe for disaster. Until it’s cleared up, RV owners may be wise to pull to the shoulder now and then to let trucks clear by. I suspect trucks will pass anyway despite the rule.

David
1 month ago
Reply to  James johnson

Then get off the freeway. Your car’s transmission should not be a safety hazard for everyone else. There’s absolutely no excuse for driving 10+ mph under the speed limit. Ever. Take another road.

Kev
1 month ago
Reply to  David

There is a posted minimum speed limit on I-10 and 60 mph is above it
I’m sure there are more people driving above the 75 mph speed limit, so I am obeying the law driving 60 mph
Agree with other poster reduce speeds for all through this stretch

gray
1 month ago

1st observation: state highway patrol lost control of our over-crowded freeways years ago. Now they’re either responding to wrecks or grudgingly complying with their mandated enforcement quota.

2nd observation: states with 75 & 80 mph speed limits are insanely unsafe. Common practice adds between 5 to 15 mph ‘over’ as a preferred speed. It would actually be more logical to post autobahn rules with NO speed limits. Let ’em rip. R.I.P.

3rd observation: driving the posted speed limit is now a road-rage trigger. There is no such thing as a slow lane. The slow lane is interchangeable with the so-called fast lane. No lane is safe from lane-weaving speeders.

4th observation: “safe & legal” driving is a white-knuckle, harrowing experience on U.S. freeways, best practiced on secondary (blue highways) roads.

5th observation: it ain’t going to get any better. Refer to 4 above.

Allen Worst
1 month ago
Reply to  gray

There is no such thing as “the slow lane.” Only the “driving lane” and the “passing lane.” If your not passing traffic that is traveling at or above the posted speed limit, stay out of the left lane period!

Helmut
1 month ago
Reply to  gray

Since you mentioned the German autobahn, there are some very specific rules and Germanic Ordnung that is required of all drivers. For motor homes, they shouldn’t even get on the road – even in the right lane – if they aren’t going to keep up with the flow and speed of others. But of course in the US no one gives a {bleeped} about following common sense road rules.

Ed Nopp
1 month ago

I know that this is going to be an idea that many will not like, but … I have known states that have limited trucks to certain hours of operation on certain roads. Seeing that most of RV travel is leisure travel, could hours of RV travel be restricted to daylight hours only on certain highways.

PS — I am a fulltime RVer. This is just an idea.

Nannuq
1 month ago

20 minutes versus 16 minutes truckers need to calm the hell down. 4 minutes ain’t changing {bleeped} for your haul.

James johnson
1 month ago
Reply to  Nannuq

I hate to tell you (as an RV owner), but if you can drive 15 mph faster, over an 8-hour gig that’s 2 hours of driving time saved.

Rick F
1 month ago
Reply to  James johnson

James, your calculations are accurate. However, the distance being discussed here is 20 miles, most certainly not an 8-hour leg.

Nannuq
1 month ago
Reply to  James johnson

I’m quite aware how math and time work. This is why I didn’t move the goal posts like you did. This is 20 miles of road not the 600 miles you implied. My point still stands and is accurate.

Nannuq
1 month ago
Reply to  James johnson

To come across as pretentious allow me to state, As both an RVer and long haul driver. Just typing that made me cringe. Let’s use your established 8 hour rule traveling through this 20 miles section of road with zero stops or slowdowns for any reason a person traveling would travel 595 miles in the same 8 hours instead of 600 miles. This is clearly a massive loss of time. /S However, I will concede if this is a regular route for a driver, passing through 2 or more times a week this would accumulate over the year resulting in hours of time wasted. However if a driver is passing through less than that it won’t even put a dent in the log book.

PaulBevers
1 month ago
Reply to  James johnson

But basically NO time savings on a 20 miles stretch…Do the math and slow down…

David
1 month ago
Reply to  James johnson

You can’t drive 15 over in any area I travel. Even on the 80 mph freeways where I live, they WILL stop and cite you. There is no reason anyone needs to go faster than 80 mph, especially on a freeway, and only in wide open areas, at that. On top of that, driver fatigue becomes a huge issue driving that fast for very long. Not to mention abysmal fuel economy.

Vanessa
1 month ago

I avoid freeways, especially in cities, well except I15 going from Vegas to MT…not much choice and never much traffic. I take the back roads and see the countryside. Enjoy the journey.

Last edited 1 month ago by Vanessa
Michael Galvin, PhD
1 month ago

As with many problems in society, including climate change, the cause is overpopulation.

Eric
1 month ago

One could make the case that all of our problems are the result of, or exacerbated by, overpopulation.

MrDisaster
1 month ago

ADOT probably would make it safer for ALL traffic if the speed limit were reduced to a more reasonable speed. Of course then they would need to coordinate with AZDPS to make sure the limit was enforced. There is simply no reason for any vehicle to tailgate another vehicle. Everyone should be driving responsibly.

Chris
1 month ago
Reply to  MrDisaster

This is my problem if I’m driving behind someone going 75 and I’m flying 75 with enough distance to stop if needed, stop going around just to get in front of me and tailgate the guy in front of me, it’s not the speed that causes the accidents and the 10-15 car pile ups, it’s everyone driving right on top of each other

USRVLady
1 month ago

Just my opinion but give the thru trucks the left lane so they are not having to dodge the incoming traffic. We also use the I-8 byoass.

CCreek
1 month ago

Want to make it safer? Lower the posted limit to 65/55 and patrol it.

I drive at 60, no more.

Joop deBruin
1 month ago

Whatever happened to pulling over to let everyone by? Growing up, this was the default for all RVs in the 60’s & 70s. Nobody went nuts for the short time you were in a train of 8-10 vehicles because we all knew the RV would get over and let us by.

Last edited 1 month ago by Joop deBruin
MrDisaster
1 month ago
Reply to  Joop deBruin

Well, let’s see…the shoulder of an Interstate is also known as a breakdown lane. Imagine a car stop ahead in that lane…unless there are designated pullouts.

Bobkat3080
1 month ago
Reply to  MrDisaster

Imagine trying to get back into the travel lane from a dead stop with your motorhome or trailer with that lane full of trucks doing 75!

Bill Lockhart
1 month ago

Just a suggestion, but something I’ve done in the past when I’ve seen an anxious trucker being deliberately blocked by pesky four (or more)-wheelers is to move into the left lane to let the rig go by on the right, then move back to the right when the lane is clear. It’s not always feasible, but it works in most cases, especially when the trucker is astute enough to realize what you’re doing. Sometimes you have to drive by watching your tail end, too.

Ted
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill Lockhart

This is what I do too. I’m on that stretch of I-10 often, in a car, and those semis are traveling at least 75 mph! Traffic is heavy most of the time. Getting into the left lane will be very difficult because the automobile traffic is running 80+ mph!

DPHooper
1 month ago

As stated in the article, why not address the 80% causing issues. Small vehicles darting in and out of RVs and Trucks.
RVs present more hazards in my opinion than Trucks. MOST Trucks drive well, MOST RVers not so much. How many of us RVers have taken a driving safety course and have the proper knowledge and license to drive our RV, esp large heavy ones.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Every Saturday and Sunday morning. Serving RVers for more than 20 years.