Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Okay to let passengers ride in a moving travel trailer?

This photo, taken Wednesday, August 12, 2020, was released by the South Dakota Highway Patrol. The pickup towing the trailer lost control, and you can see the result. Traffic was stopped and backed up for two miles on I-90, where the accident occurred.

Many states allow passengers to legally ride in a travel trailer or fifth wheel trailer. But most do not. Few towable RVs have safety belts, meaning if you were to get in an accident with a passenger in the RV, they could be horribly injured or even killed.

Some RVers still believe it’s okay to allow passengers to ride in their trailers or fifth wheels. As you can see here, that is an absolutely terrible idea. Most travel trailers today are built so cheaply and with such lightweight materials that when they crash this is the result. Even a well-built RV can sustain horrific damage in a highway crash.

You will have a very difficult time finding an RV safety expert who will say it’s okay to ride in a towable RV. It’s not.



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Bob Weinfurt (@guest_158121)
1 year ago

I remember reading several years ago about a couple letting their kids ride home in their TT. The kids died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Bob p (@guest_158030)
1 year ago

My parents had a 34’ Coachmen Class A, one day my mother wasn’t feeling good and decided to go to the back and lay in the bed. I don’t remember where they were driving but the road was fairly rough therefore my she was bouncing quite a bit. Dad hit a fairly big whoop-de-do and mom flipped out of bed onto the floor. The motorhome wasn’t a slide out type and the queen bed had just enough room to walk beside. Dad was listening and singing along with the radio and couldn’t hear her pleas for help, she was stuck until he stopped for gas, she never did that again!

John Koenig (@guest_157970)
1 year ago

A roll of Duct Tape and a little Bondo will fix that right up….. 😉

Bob p (@guest_157939)
1 year ago

I know no one can ride in a ball type hitch of a travel trailer, some states allow people to ride in a 5th wheel or truck camper as long as they are able to be in constant communication with the driver. Many moons ago before extended cab pickups I had an insulated truck bed shell big enough for my 2 oldest children to stand up in, installing a Radio Shack intercom between the cab and shell with the capability to monitor their conversations it worked great for our family of 5 pulling our TT.

Paul (@guest_157995)
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob p

In the 70’s we let our sons ride loose in the way back of the family station wagon until a friend spunout on an interstate and her two girls were hurled out onto the pavement. Both survived with significant injuries. Eventually we even had seatbelts in the back of the wagon.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul
Bob p (@guest_158028)
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul

The kids were seated on a bench seat at the front of the truck bed and seat belted in.

Terri Carlson (@guest_91865)
3 years ago

I have to agree about not allowing people to ride In a trailer while being towed. That’s so dangerous. Way to many what ifs?????

KellyR (@guest_91365)
3 years ago

People seem to assume that RVs are built to the same safety standards as autos. However, back in the 50s, my dad did have our 16′ travel trailer land over on its side in a downtown city in Iowa. A bunch of towns people came and turned the trailer back on to its wheels and hook it up to the car again. The police escorted us to the town park where we were able to clean up the mess inside and go on our way. Things were built better then and people were nicer then. The only broken thing was the door handle that had smashed on to the pavement.

Gary G (@guest_91352)
3 years ago

My folks and another couple went to Mexico in 69 with a 33’ Airstream, once in Mexico my dad’s friend said he wanted to ride and relax in the trailer. After a little over an hour dad said he stopped to check on things, the friend said he had been trying to get someone’s attention for the last 45 minutes, he would rather train a two year old colt than ride in that trailer agin. Worst experience ever.

Michael L. Logan (@guest_91263)
3 years ago

Take a look at the old movie “The long long trailer” when Lucy tries to make dinner in the trailer.

John M (@guest_91208)
3 years ago

What is the difference with letting someone ride in a trailer or back of a pickup, or dogs allowed to ride on top of a tool box across the bed of a truck? (No seatbelts or restraints)

Bill (@guest_91376)
3 years ago
Reply to  John M

At least in the truck the ride is pretty much the same as the driver experiences, and the passenger has a chance of getting the driver’s attention if there is a problem. Most trailers don’t ride nearly as well, there’s no warning of lurches, and usually no way to alert the driver. Some states allow riding in trailers only if there is a way to communicate with the driver. That said, the military used to use trailers for transporting troops, my first father-in-law said he used to ride in one on liberty from Camp LeJuene to Washington, DC.

Bob p (@guest_216296)
11 months ago
Reply to  Bill

Back in 1962 in Marine Corps boot camp we routinely traveled in “cattle cars” which was a semi trailer with open windows towed by a semi tractor. I’ll bet they still do it today since they’re not regulated by government do-gooders.

Eileen Brown (@guest_91175)
3 years ago

We wouldn’t even let our pet ride in the travel trailer, and if we get the grandkids, they are riding in the toad as one of us follows the motorhome. Even if an accident isn’t as severe as this SD example, we spent enough time in EMS school to understand the forces involved in even a 30 mph crash. Virtually every fatality I have ever “worked” has involved someone without a seatbelt, and those are in much more highly regulated motor vehicles, full of safety systems like crush zones, headrests, airbags, etc. A TT, 5th wheel, and even a Class A all lack those safeguards, as do Class C’s for rear passengers. It just shocks me that folks would take this kind of chance.

Notfunny (@guest_91107)
3 years ago

There are several YouTube Videos posted showing the effects of riding in a Travel Trailer.

The Big QUESTION IS: Why would you want to do it??

The ride will NOT be enjoyable, even on an Interstate Hiway and especially BAD if you are driving on a Secondary or Country Road!

The Safety Factors are enormous! Get in an accident and probably get someone seriously injured or killed, as the Trailer is Destroyed! But then, Who cares about Safety Anyway!

Bob Packer (@guest_91164)
3 years ago
Reply to  Notfunny

Exactly the reason why I am considering a Class A. I don’t want my four dogs to be bouncing around in a trailer.

Eileen Brown (@guest_91177)
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob Packer

Our cat loves the pet door cut out under the bed in our new Adventurer!

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