Route1 POI database

Whacking your forehead on a low-hanging opening or cabinet can be extremely painful. Whacking your RV’s forehead on a low clearance bridge can be equally painful and a lot more expensive! The goal of this column is to help prevent RV low-clearance accidents (you’ll have to watch out for your own forehead).

The critical first step is to know exactly how tall your RV is. Don’t take anyone else’s word for it; measure it yourself. Park the RV on a level surface and, using a 16-foot tape measure and a helper, determine the highest point on the RV. Often it will be the air conditioner or a vent cover. To be on the safe side, take that maximum measurement and add a couple of inches to it. Make a label that says “minimum safe clearance XX feet, XX inches.” Replace the XXs with your measurements, of course, and stick it on your dashboard where it is clearly visible. That way, anyone who drives the RV will know what the required minimum clearance is for safe operation.

Now that you know your RV’s height, you need some tools to help you avoid low bridges and roadway obstructions. While you can always watch for warning signs, sometimes they are missing or obscured. You can purchase truckers’ guides that list low clearances, but most concentrate primarily on truck routes and major highways, which doesn’t always work well for RVers who like to get off the beaten path. Surely, there is a better answer!

Enter the GPS: The folks at recognized the need for easily accessible roadway clearance information and have developed a product called the Route1 POI database. Route1 is an extensive list of roadway heights, including low clearances, from 5′ 6″ all the way up to 15′ 11″, under railway bridges, pedestrian walkways, overpasses and through tunnels. They offer what is essentially a subscription service to their continuously updated and growing database for an annual fee of $19.95. With versions available for Garmin, TomTom, Navman, Delorme Street Atlas, Microsoft Streets and Trips and Google Earth, almost anyone can install and use it. And, since the prices of these gadgets have come down enough that they are in the affordable zone, buying a small GPS unit and adding the Route1 database to it is a good investment if it prevents even a minor accident.

Here’s how it works:
Go to and click on “Subscribe.” Fill out the registration form and enter your type of mapping device. You will receive the database files that are designed for your device and easy-to-follow instructions for installation. Subscribers also get access to all the other formats that are available. Once you have installed Route1 and selected the clearances below your vehicle height, your GPS system will alert you to the hazards on your route that are below the clearance height of your vehicle. Database updates will be provided for 12 months, and then you will need to pony up another $19.95 annually to continue receiving updates.

I tested Route1 on a TomTom, Delorme Street Atlas and Garmin Nuvi, and I thought it worked well. It is a little tricky to install on some devices, but the instructions are clear and concise. The user interface is not elegant, but it gets the job done. This is a fairly new and still-developing product, so we can expect improvements and enhancements in the coming months. When queried about coverage, Jon Mills at www. responded: “As far as we know, the database is easily the largest and most comprehensive available for low clearances. Not all bridges are included as yet, so we are adding to and refining the product on an ongoing basis to improve usability and functionality. Percentage wise, it’s probably in the region of 70 or 80 percent coverage at this time.” Route1 users who find any inaccuracy or omission in the database are encouraged to submit corrections and additions via e-mail.

Complete Product Name: Route1 POI database.

Company Name and Info: | 16 Broad Close | Barford St Michael, Banbury, GB | 44-186-933-7618 | |

Average Street Price: Annual fee of $19.95

Original Publication Date: ND/10