Can You Ride in a 5th Wheel?

Reid RV Living, RV Living Tips Leave a Comment

Every time we get in the truck to drive on a travel day our oldest daughter begs to ride in the 5th wheel. We’ve mostly just shrugged off her request and told her that it is unsafe and illegal. Of course, being the feisty eight-year-old she is, she challenged how we knew such laws. My wife and I looked at each other and quickly and realized that we didn’t actually know. Can you ride in a travel trailer? Can you ride in a 5th wheel? How about a truck camper? We turned to the internet to research what was is really allowed. What we found out surprised us and we’ve included it in this article.

truck camper

Is it Safe to Ride in an RV?

It depends on who you ask. My personal answer to this is no. In a 5th wheel or travel trailer, there aren’t any seatbelts. It isn’t really designed to be ridden in while being moved. On a hot day, you will not have access to air conditioning and could become uncomfortable very quickly. If unforeseen circumstances occurred, conditions in the RV could become unsafe very quickly. For example in the case of a car crash, flat tire, or severe weather. This would easily change the answer whether it is safe or not.

Is it Legal to Ride in an RV?

According to our research, for most of the country (United States of America), it is not legal to ride in a travel trailer or fifth wheel while the vehicle is being towed. However, the law changes by state and as many seasoned RV travelers know, especially when traveling on the east coast, you can rapidly change states over the course of hours. It is best to be kept up on the legalities of the states you plan to pass through that day.

Which States Can I Ride in an RV?

Every state is different when it comes to their highway laws. They have different rules on where passengers can ride when it comes to specific RV’s. Here is what you need to know before you hit the road.

Most states break it down into three categories, 5th Wheels, Travel Trailers, and Truck Campers. Here is a list of where passengers are allowed in each state:

This list was compiled by us and is intended to be a guide. Please check with each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to confirm the law. Please do your due diligence to make sure you comply with traffic laws. Some of these states it is technically legal but you are required to maintain communication with the driver at all times. (which is a good rule of thumb anyway)

State 5th Wheel Travel Trailer Truck Camper
Alabama No No Yes
Alaska No No No
Arizona Yes Yes Yes
Arkansas No No No
California No No No
Colorado No No Yes
Connecticut No No Yes
Delaware No No Yes
Florida No No Yes
Georgia No No No
Hawaii No No No
Idaho No No No
Illinois No No No
Indiana Yes Yes Yes
Iowa Yes Yes Yes
Kansas No No No
Kentucky No No No
Louisiana No No Yes
Maine No No Yes
Maryland No No Yes
Massachusetts No No No
Michigan Yes Yes Yes
Minnesota Yes Yes Yes
Mississippi Yes Yes Yes
Missouri Yes Yes Yes
Montana No No Yes
Nebraska Yes Yes Yes
Nevada No No Yes
New Hampshire No No Yes
New Jersey No No Yes
New Mexico No No Yes
New York Yes No Yes
North Carolina No No Yes
North Dakota Yes No Yes
Ohio No No No
Oklahoma No No No
Oregon Yes No Yes
Pennsylvania Yes No No
Rhode Island No No Yes
South Carolina Yes No No
South Dakota Yes No No
Tennessee Yes Yes Yes
Texas No No No
Utah No No No
Vermont No No No
Virginia No No Yes
Washington No No Yes
West Virginia Yes Yes Yes
Wisconsin Yes No No
Wyoming No No Yes

can i ride in a 5th wheel

Now, just because we found out it is technically legal in some states doesn’t mean that we’ll let our kids kick back in the 5th wheel on travel days. We’re going to use our best judgment as parents and be as safe as possible. Please use caution and good judgment when choosing whether or not to allow passengers in your RV while driving. Always research the rules and be safe!

If you do decide to ride in a travel trailer or fifth wheel, it is important to communicate with the driver of your vehicle. In this day in age that would likely be a cell phone but if that is not available a walkie-talkie would be a valuable resource. Young children should never be left in a moving recreational vehicle unattended. If you choose to let children be in an RV in motion (other than a Class C or Class A RV) they need supervision.

I’m not going to lie, there have been days where all six of us have been piled in the truck where a quick snooze in the fifth wheel or letting the oldest take a break has been tempting. We just now have looked into the laws and regulations and have not tried it personally yet, but who is to say we won’t get desperate in the future and at least now we know the states where it is legal. What do you think? Is it safe for passengers to ride in a fifth wheel or a travel trailer?

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