As you get ready for another camping season, it’s a great time to brush up on your towing skills. Here are some safe driving reminders and towing regulations you should know.
First, consider these collision statistics from Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation’s (MTO) driver handbook:
- 50% of reported collisions while towing an RV are single-vehicle collisions.
- 20% are rear-end collisions
- 30% of collisions are “lost control” incidents”
A collision, of course, is what we all want to avoid. So, with these statistics in mind, let’s look at some of numbers that not only affect your safety and the safety of those around you, but are also the law.
MTO RV Weight and Size Regulations:
- 6 m (8 ft 5 in) is the maximum width of any trailer allowed in Canada. And, this is the only thing the provinces all agree on. Height, length and allowable weights vary by region. Investigate and learn what limits apply in your home province. The good news is that most provinces and states (41 of them) offer what’s called reciprocity. This means that if you’re legal at home, you’re legal in its jurisdiction even if its limits are different. However, not all areas have signed on. PEI for instance, does not offer reciprocity so if you’re planning on travelling there, you will need to know what the local rules are.
- 907 kg (2,000 lb) is the lowest max gross weight of a trailer where independent brakes are required in the country. This is in Alberta, but each province is different. Newfoundland allows up to 4,500-kg (9,920 lb) on one axle! These rules are confusing at best, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and put brakes on all trailers over 907 kg.
License Classes for RVers
- 4,500 kg (9,920 lb) is the most common maximum weight allowed for a towed trailer in Canada, but not everywhere.
Allowed with a G-class (full passenger car license) in each province of Canada.
British Columbia 4,600 kg (10,140 lb) or less
Alberta 4,500 kg or less
Saskatchewan 4,500 kg or less
Manitoba 4,540 kg (10,008 lb) or less
Ontario 4,600 kg (10,140 lb) or less
Quebec 4,500 kg or less
New Brunswick 4,500 kg or less
Nova Scotia 4,500 kg or less
Prince Edward Island 4,500 kg or less
Newfoundland and Labrador 4,500 kg or less
Yukon 4,500 kg or less
Northwest Territories 4,500 kg or less
Nunavut 4,500 kg or less
11,000kg (24,250 lb) is the newest gross combined weight allowed for a recreational truck and trailer combination in Ontario (since 2011) with a modified A-class (truck driver’s license).
Several provinces in Canada have now moved towards an RV-friendly licence that recognizes the fact that trucks and fifth wheel trailers have become larger and heavier than what was conceived decades ago when most license regulations were written.
Some extra training and a medical is required; however, the modified licenses don’t require the level of training a commercial truck driver receives.
Some of the other provinces that have a modified RV-friendly licence are Manitoba, British Columbia and New Brunswick. Check with your local transport ministry for the latest rule changes.
Remember to brush up on your knowledge and towing skills before you hit the road this spring.