I am seeing 300 px sections looking like they are 1/3 of a page, so I am curious, what is the maximum width possible for an element?
No such thing as a maximum width. What is one third for you might be one tenth for someone else and one and a half for another.
IMHO, hard pixel use should be kept to a minimum. I think for something like a border or shadow it should be OK. But for font size or container size it should be avoided altogether and a page should allow the content to adapt to look OK no matter how it’s being viewed.
While an element can be as wide as the screen displaying it, it’s a good idea to set a max-width to prevent lines of text becoming too long to read comfortably. (Scanning from the end of one line to the start of the next could be difficult on a 27" monitor. )
To add to @TechnoBear 's point, I tend to not go wider than 55-75 characters for a column for readability. Similar reason why newspapers and magazines are in columns. https://baymard.com/blog/line-length-readability
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