Is It Legal to Ride in the Back of a Fifth Wheel?

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cartoon drawing of a police officer that has pulled over a fifth wheel with someone riding in the back

Long travel days can be exhausting, even as a passenger. It can be annoying when you know you have a cozy fifth wheel right behind you. You might find yourself wondering if you could just ride in your comfortable RV, maybe even take a nap in your bed as you travel down the road

Today we will look at the legality of riding in your fifth wheel while in motion. 

Is it even legal to ride in your fifth wheel while it is in motion? The answer changes based on your location.

Some states allow you to ride in a moving trailer, though we don’t encourage it. States, where it is legal, will usually have restrictions, such as an age limit or the requirement of a line of communication with the driver (like a cell phone or walkie-talkie). Also, be aware of different laws as you cross state lines.

A young girl with pigtails plays on her tablet while lying on the bed in an RV.

States That Allow You to Ride in a Camper Trailer

These 23 states legally allow you to ride in a fifth wheel in motion: Arizona, California, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. 

If you choose to allow an occupant in your fifth wheel while in motion, be sure you obey each state’s laws. Many states require the riders to communicate with the driver, and some states allow riders in fifth wheels but not in travel trailers. 

A blue road sign welcoming drivers to the state of Oklahoma.
It is not legal to ride inside of a fifth wheel in motion in the state of Oklahoma.

Is It Safe to Ride in a Fifth Wheel? 

While some people do it, it can be dangerous to ride in a fifth wheel. The safety standards put into place for occupant safety in a vehicle do not apply to trailers. 

You may not enjoy travel trailers when in motion. Because the intended purpose is not for riding, fifth wheels don’t have occupant safety precautions. 

Can Pets Ride in the Fifth Wheel? 

Your pet can ride in the fifth wheel during transport. However, we don’t recommend it. The same safety concerns apply to them, and it can cause many pets to have anxiety or get injured. 

Plus, you typically will not have your fifth wheel air conditioners on while towing. This means your RV can heat up quickly in hot weather. Personally, we do not think the risk to your pet’s safety and life are worth putting them in your rig while towing.

Brown dog laying on bed while owner pets head.

The Dangers of a Moving Camper Trailer

Let’s take a look at why riding in a moving trailer is not only uncomfortable but sometimes even dangerous. 

Contents Shift During Travel

Considering how much movement happens in an RV as it travels down the road, it isn’t surprising that many belongings shift during travel. Cabinets sometimes open, and items can become projectiles. Even a lightweight object thrown at you during a rough bump in the road isn’t going to feel good. 

It’s an Uncomfortable Ride

Towable RVs experience earthquake-like movement while traveling. It isn’t going to be smooth sailing back there. You may think you will be cozy lying in your bed, but every bump in the road amplifies. 

Pets Can Become Traumatized

Placing your pet in a moving fifth wheel can traumatize them. The movement and noise during the trip may cause separation anxiety or fear of being in the RV even when parked. 

It’s Not as Safe as a Vehicle in an Accident

RVs simply aren’t built like passenger vehicles. While it can withstand the typical bumps and movement of travel, it will likely not fare well in an accident. If you’ve never had the unfortunate experience of seeing the aftermath of an RV accident, you may not realize how they typically implode and completely break apart on impact. 

Our Opinion: You Should Never Allow Humans or Pets to Ride in a Moving RV Trailer

We understand why it is incredibly tempting to ride in your RV while in motion. At first thought, it seems convenient and comfortable as opposed to the seat of a truck. Unfortunately, the benefits simply do not outweigh the risks in this situation. 

Have you ever been tempted to ride in a moving RV trailer?

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