What You Can and Can’t Do While the RV is Moving

 / By Lazydays - RV Tips On the Road
Understanding RV seat belt laws is key to knowing what you can and can’t do while your RV is moving.

You’ve completed your RV takeoff list and you’re ready to hit the road, but there’s something else to keep in mind when you’re on the road. It may be tempting to walk around the RV while someone else is driving or take a nap in the bed, but there are certain things that you’re not permitted to do while your RV is in motion. Keep reading to refresh your knowledge of what you can and can’t do when your RV is driving.

State Seat Belt Laws and RVs

Just as states have their own requirements regarding special RV licensing, seat belt laws can vary from state to state. If you’re driving through a state with differing RV seat belt laws, you’ll need to follow those rules, even if that’s not the state your RV is registered in.

Every state, aside from New Hampshire, requires adults in the front seats of vehicles to wear seat belts. For New Hampshire, those under 18 are required to have a seat belt in the front seats [1]. This applies to passenger vehicles, large trucks, and yes, your RV. There are also many states that require adults and kids in the back seat of vehicles to wear a seat belt.

For RVs, these state seat belt laws mean that all passengers in the cab area must wear seat belts. For good measure, many RVers also use the dinette or jump seat areas of their RV and buckle additional passengers in there.

Can I Ride in My Travel Trailer or Fifth Wheel On the Road?

If you are towing a travel trailer, 5th wheel, or other towable RV, you may be wondering if you can relax in the RV while it is being towed and driven on the road. Some states do allow this, though it differs from state to state.

Currently, states that allow passengers to ride in many towable RV types while on the road include:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Washington DC
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Check your state’s laws before hitting the road, as these regulations may change. Of the above states that allow passengers to be in the towed vehicle while it’s on the road, some states have additional requirements for the RV or towing setup to qualify. Certain states have towing weight limits, communication connection requirements between the RV and towing vehicle, and RV type restrictions for passengers to be in the RV during towing [2].

States that prohibit passengers from riding in a trailer or 5th wheel as it’s being towed often consider the safety keeping passengers in a towable during driving. Check your RV manufacturer’s information to see what additional safety measures may be in place and consider using seat belts when in the towable.

Can You Sleep in a Moving Motorhome?

While many states prohibit sleeping in the bed of your motorhome while it’s moving, you can sleep in the passenger seat or other buckled-in seating while the motorhome is moving. Some states do not prohibit sleeping in the bed of a moving motorhome, but doing so may not be a good experience for the sleeper. You want to ensure you’re sleeping in a secured set up in case the motorhome has to make any quick stops, so sleeping in the motorhome is best done in a seat where you can be safely buckled in.

Can You Walk Around in an RV While Driving?

If you’re driving in a state that does not require passengers to be buckled up, whether through standard laws or RV seat belt laws, you may be able to legally walk around an RV while it’s in motion. Before walking around the RV while driving, check the state’s laws to ensure you’re permitted to, as the regulations may have changed.

What Not to Do When the RV is Moving

Though state laws vary regarding seatbelts and moving around the RV while it’s driving, there are some things that are best to save for the campsite. Under no circumstances should you open your RV slides while the RV is in motion, and you should not drive with the slides open. It’s also best to ensure that any fragile items, like dishes, are secured. You should also clear off countertops before hitting the road so everything stays in great shape!

Finding RVs and Motorhomes

While RVing can make your drive more comfortable, some of your RV’s best features are enjoyed once you reach your destination. We offer a leading selection of RVs and motorhomes for sale, with new and used models from the top manufacturers. Ready to enjoy your travels? Stop by your local Lazydays RV dealership to see our vehicles in stock!


Sources:

  1. NHTSA, Summary of Vehicle Occupant Protection and Motorcycle Laws
AAA, Trailer Other Provisions

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