Friday, September 22, 2023


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.


Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.


      • Because the ones making the law (a) don’t drive that section of I-10, and (b) are very poor at attacking real problems but excellent at making decisions to look good. The person(s) responsible for this rule should be required to drive that section of I-10 at least once a week until the 3-lane is completed.

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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

  3. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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?

    • Last time I looked at speed limit signs (usually) they will say “Speed Limit 75”.
      Limits mean not to exceed posted “Limits”.

  4. 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.

    • NEVER have I ever seen a sign that said u cannot go slower than a certain speed…..get real ….u buy the gas and pay taxes to use the road so use them….u in a hurry find a different road… both ways so bleep to u too.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

    • 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?

  8. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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

  9. 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.

    • 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!

    • 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 20 minutes versus 16 minutes truckers need to calm the hell down. 4 minutes ain’t changing {bleeped} for your haul.

    • 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.

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

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

    • 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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!

  16. 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.

    • 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!

  17. 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.

  18. I drive this section of the i10 every day. There is already a “stay to the right unless passing” law that is not enforced and completely ignored by almost everyone. Slow vehicles block the left lane all day every day.

    I’m confident there will be no enforcement of this new rule and it too will be meaningless.

    And for what it’s worth, trucks are not and have never been the problem. 99% of truckers know and follow the rules of the road. They only block the left lane momentarily while overtaking. Its passenger vehicles that camp in the left lane going 65 and blocking traffic. Start enforcing the existing laws and penalizing these people and traffic flow will be fine.

  19. If anyone believes the trucks will stay in the right lane; they don’t drive much. I have driven many miles all around and the trucks will do what they want . I have driven many interstates that have “no trucks left lane” posted especially in metropolitan areas. These roads are 3 and 4 lanes wide. The trucks will move to the left to pass anytime they please. Believing the trucks will stay in the right on this stretch of highway is being naive.Many trucks may observe the rule but many more will pass on the left.

    • What is the difference between a trucker passing (using the left lane) slower traffic in the right lane, than slow cars holding up traffic in the left lane. If I were driving an RV in the right lane ( on this stretch of road) and saw a trucker coming, I would move over if possible and let him by and then move back. I drove OTR trucking for 33 yrs. If a trucker is in the left lane, it is because of ramps or slow traffic. If law enforcement would enforce the rules that have been passed (especially speeding), there would be far fewer problems. But then we would have a lot of people complaining about getting tickets. When they add the other lane, it won’t be long before slow cars will be driving side by side in it and the center lane. Happy Trails

  20. So what is the time difference between 75 and 65 for 20 miles? Or even 75 and 55? Not that much. Most RVers do 60-65 so the truckers aren’t going to lose much time in the grand scheme of things. They lose much more time in traffic jams.

    • If an RV is going 60 mph. it will take 20 min. If a truck or car is going 75 mph. he will go 25 mi. in 20 min. time lost approximately 4 min. Happy Trails

  21. When flat towing with a Honda CRV the owners manual states “don’t exceed 65 mph”. That will be an interesting 20 miles next time. Wonder how many trucks I will backup in the right lane or cars in the left. ADOT did not think this thru “unintended consequences” anyone?

    • Then stay off the higher speed limit sections of highway. Oh, an inconvenient for you isn’t acceptable, but being one for others is?

  22. On I40 in NC & some of TN the same issues happen. Going thru the mountains the left lane requires trucks to stay in right lane. Most do but many don’t. The speed limit is 50 for them, cars RVs are 55. When trucks are in left lane they are well over the limit.
    Rarely see law enforcement except at accident. Use of cameras might be useful.

  23. That section of 10 is the worst. Potholes everywhere. If anything, id leave traffic to figure it out. It would work better than rules. The left lane is a heck of a lot better and i use it whenever traffic is light. Traffic runs around 90 and I dont like it. When an accident happens and a fatal one does in that streach everyday, the excess speed just multiplies injury. And police, you might see one in the 39 miles to go north from casa grande. They been talking for years and another problem is part of I10 goes through a reservation. I go the back way north.

  24. This 20 mile section of I-10 just hammers home the fact that: “You can’t go faster than the vehicle in front of you” Period!

    Truckers, bless their hearts, have been bustin’ their buttons with pride telling us all how nothin’ moves without them. Some of their crash victims don’t move either so maybe they’re right.

    I’m not a professional driver but I know how to adjust accelerator pressure, through my foot, to maintain a 3 second gap from the vehicle in front of me.

    This isn’t rocket science

    (the “hammer” pun was intended. : )

  25. My BIL is a trucker in AZ who drives from Tucson to Silver City NM 5days a week. He’s been driving trucks all his life. He says he sees at least one semi accident a day. He blames new inexperienced drivers and daily witnesses dangerous truck drivers. Having driven that stretch of I10 I’d say take the alternative state roads.

  26. Not a problem for this kid, despite I-10 being our default cross-country Snowbird route. I NEVER go thru or even around Phoenix, which to me is just LA transplanted to the desert. The work-around noted above, 85 to I-8, takes less time (no Phoenix traffic) and is only slightly longer. Works just as well in reverse. I have no clue why anyone would go thru Phoenix when there’s a good alternative.

    • That’s exactly what we do. Traffic on 85 and I-8 is alway minimal at best. I-10 in Phoenix is a nightmare and compares to the 405 in LA…. even I-17 is difficult to handle.

    • Ditto. Been doing that for years, both West & East bound, way before the improvements. Pretty peaceful drive, especially the I-8 part.

  27. The highway in question is another example of the ignorance of the people who are in charge of Arizona’s highways. That road was a problem for years and was poorly designed. Choking traffic from multiple lanes to four is insane. Add to that people towing cars, to Mexico to resell, at 50 miles an hour, driving side by side and traffic comes to a standstill. Efforts to build another highway to bypass the area also meet protests from the tight fisted people of Arizona. My advice to RVers is to plan to avoid that section of road and Phoenix altogether. There are more scenic routes with much less congestion. Now there is talk of moving the airport to that area and that will only cause more problems because they will likely not consider that if they finally do something with the current problem.

  28. Coincidently, we have been taking that bypass around Phoenix every time we go from Reno to Houston, simply because there is far less traffic and it is actually a relaxing drive. I hope that doesn’t change because of this “one lane” business.

  29. I’m not a fan of this, however, I have to travel through a small town (Refugio TX) twice a day for work. It never fails that trucks will fill BOTH lanes of travel through town, slowing traffic through a town with 6 stoplights on a Federal Highway. It drives me nuts. We should have had a by-pass by now, but rich ranchers have kept it from happening for 15 years. It’s gonna happen, just not in my time.

    • And here is the cause of some problems encountered… not the slow trucks but the person who is always in a hurry and just can’t stand to be behind a large vehicle. Start a little earlier on your way to work and arrive rested and ready to meet the day there. Getting all heated from traffic that is on your way to work only causes more problems for you. Slow down and enjoy life.

  30. Do we really believe that all truckers are going to obey the right lane only rule? Very unlikely. I can tell you as a retired police officer, I commended those who kept the flow of traffic going on my busy section of I 75. Rarely did I ticket speeders if they were driving safely and obeying all other laws.

        • Sadly there are so many drivers who think it’s alright to disobey the law. A law is a law, is a law, is a law! It is the duty of all drivers to obey the law. It is the duty of all “cops” to enforce the laws. No ifs, no ands, no buts!

          • I find it fascinating that some people have such a black and white view of the world without any grey areas. I do hope you signal 100′ before the intersection (or whatever distance your state mandates) when you are about to turn. Heck, I hope you use your turn signals at all as that seems to be a lost art. I’m also sure you have never swerved in your lane and even just for a moment crossed over the lane divider. Considering the issue being discussed I also assume that you have never allowed your vehicle to go even 1 mile over the speed limit. It’s the law of course.

            All kidding aside, prioritization of limited law enforcement resources dictates that some violations will go unpunished while others receive more attention. Nobody wants to live in a police state where there are enough officers to pursue each and every violation covering a myriad of laws that most people are completely unaware of.

            Man-made laws (malum prohibitum) are not sacrosanct and are not on par with an offense that is evil or wrong from its own nature irrespective of statute (mala in se).

            (Traffic laws are an example of malum prohibitum and rape would be mala in se. You inherently know rape is wrong without anybody telling you, but an arbitrary speed limit is something a person concludes is punishable)


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