With 50 states, there are a lot of opportunities for RV travel. There are also a lot of different RV rules while driving through these great United States! What you may not realize is that the RV laws while driving can change – sometimes significantly – each time you cross a state line. If you’re a new RV owner, this may not be something of which you were aware. But when it comes to RV travel and state laws, ignorance doesn’t get you a free pass.
Additionally, knowing and ignoring the laws can lead to a citation, accident, injury, or worse. Be sure you know the laws in your state and those you travel through as well as your final destination. Not only will you and your family stay safer, you’ll avoid the chance of incurring added expenses for a traffic ticket on your journeys.
RV Rules While Driving Start With Knowing Your RV Classification
There are several RV classifications and, as such, different laws for different states based on RV classification. Class A/B/C motorhomes are most notably different than any other type of RV because they are considered motor vehicles themselves. Fifth wheels and travel trailers are classified differently because they are considered a separate entity from the vehicle towing them.
Laws in the majority of states do not prevent passengers from being in the rear of motorhomes while on the road for the simple fact that motorhomes are, in essence, one space. So, it is important to know the exact type of RV you have, and the rules that apply, prior to embarking on your journey.
Can You Ride in Your RV While Driving?
Once you know your RV classification, it makes researching the state laws pertaining to your particular RV more straightforward. Passengers are prohibited from riding in a travel trailer or 5th wheel during travel in most states. The direct RV laws while driving mean being in these types of vehicles while moving are not allowed. Their frames are not constructed with the same strength as say, class B or C motorhomes, which have frames offering more driver and passenger protection since they are required to be crash tested and are equipped with airbags as well as seat belts. Since most 5th wheels and travel trailers are not equipped with seat belts, the enforcement of seat belt laws effectively prevents traveling in these types of RVs. It is also not safe for pets to ride in a travel trailer or 5th wheel.
Outside of New Hampshire – the only state without seatbelt laws – there are over 30 states with primary seatbelt laws and nearly 20 states have secondary seatbelt laws. However, simply because there isn’t a law stating you must wear one doesn’t mean that it isn’t a wise choice. There isn’t a magical safety net in New Hampshire; the absence of a law simply means you are trusted to make the safest judgement in your own vehicle in that state.
When it comes to class A/B/C motorhomes, the main rule is the seat belt law in whatever state you are traveling. If you stay seated and belted whether in the front or back part of your motorhome while it is in motion, you are most likely abiding by the law. But because each state’s laws are different, it is wise to check local state laws prior to traveling.
Are There RV Rules While Driving About Using the Bathroom or Kitchen?
Travel enough and there’s bound to be a time when Mother Nature calls at an inconvenient time. You may be thinking that’s the beauty of having RV amenities like toilets. While the facilities do function while the RV is in motion, the safest recommendation is to have the driver pull over to the side of the road first. Specific toileting clauses aren’t generally spelled out in the laws and RV rules while driving. It isn’t necessary because a person is not wearing a seatbelt while using the facilities and therefore is in violation of the primary seatbelt laws, which over 30 states have in place.
Similarly, cooking a meal generally entails standing or moving about in the kitchen area and, therefore, falls under the same said seatbelt laws. Imagine the injuries that could result from making a “quick meal” of macaroni and cheese if the driver had to make a sharp turn or stop abruptly and there was a boiling pot of water on the stove! Need a meal on the road? The tried-and-true cooler full of sandwiches and snacks within arm’s reach of where you are safely buckled into your seat never tasted so good.
RV Safety Comes First
It can be very tempting to utilize all the benefits that your RV has to offer while you’re driving on the road. But arriving safely at your destination is more important than convenience. It may result in more planning than you’d anticipated in order to look up the laws and RV rules while driving for the states you’ll be traveling through. But knowing the laws is important; as is understanding that they are intended to protect you along with other travelers on the road. So, resist the urge to use the facilities or walk around inside your RV while driving to avoid injuries and arrive safely no matter where in these wonderful United States you travel.
The professionals at RV Wholesale Superstore are ready to help you find the perfect RV for you and your family. Visit us in-person at 5080 W. Alexis Road, in Sylvania, OH or call us at (866) 640-9871
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