Can You Sleep In An RV While Driving?Anthony Day
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Riding in an RV can be very relaxing and loads of fun, but some people may not know if they can sleep in an RV while driving.
RVs have several modules for sleeping such as beds, seats, and sofas. Before going on your trip, you’ll want to know how to safely and legally sleep in an RV so you don’t get fined or suffer an injury.
For the most part, RV passengers are not legally allowed to sleep in any part of the RV without wearing a seat belt. They must also be sitting in an upright or slightly declined position. Applicable laws may vary depending on your location.
Since RVs are essentially moving houses, it’s easy to act in an RV as you would in a regular house. If you are the driver, you should be sure to inform your passengers of all that is required of them when riding in the RV.
The following information will help you and your passengers understand how to safely and legally sleep in an RV while driving.
Can You Sleep In An RV While Driving?
People new to RVs might think about sleeping in an RV as they normally would in a house or hotel room.
A big part of the fun of RVing is lounging and experiencing the comforts of home in a mobile and more compact environment.
Road trips are often quite long, so it can be tempting for RV passengers to lie down and sleep without a seat belt on rather than rigidly sitting for hours at a time.
It’s likely many people don't realize the rules of the road that apply to drivers and passengers of cars also apply to RVs.
If you don’t abide by relevant traffic laws, you may be subject to arrest or fines.
The amount of the fines vary from state to state and country to country, and can be applied to the driver, passenger, owner, or all three depending on the jurisdiction.
In the United States, the fines for not properly wearing a seat belt can range from $10 in states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to over $100 in states like Oregon and Illinois.
So if you want to stay safe and save some money, be sure you and your passengers are properly buckled up at all times when the RV is in motion.
Sleeping Methods Not Allowed In An RV While Driving
Unfortunately, passengers cannot sleep in a number of ways in an RV while driving.
Since beds are likely to be soft and spacious, they are one of the most desirable places to sleep in an RV.
The bed can be a dangerous spot to lay and sleep since it is not secure and leaves too much room for people to move around.
If the RV is moving erratically over bumps or through turns, passengers sleeping on the bed could find themselves on the floor or hitting an object that can seriously hurt them.
If the RV comes to a sudden stop, especially after traveling at high speeds, that could cause even more harm to passengers on a bed since their momentum could throw them forward very quickly.
Even if a seating area like a sofa has a seat belt, passengers are still not allowed to sleep there if they are not buckled up or lying down.
The same can be said for standard single-person seats in an RV.
If you recline the seat so far that you’re close to a flat position, you might put yourself at risk for a citation.
Putting aside traffic violations, citations, fines, and arrests, you should prioritize the safety of yourself and everyone else in the RV by sitting up in your seat and wearing a seat belt while driving.
Being able to lie down and take advantage of the RV bed might be something passengers look forward to doing.
You can do that all you like as long as the RV isn’t being driven.
If you are in the market for an RV with the idea that passengers can sleep in it lying down without a seat belt, you should keep in mind that they can’t and weigh that in your decision.
Sleeping Methods Allowed In An RV While Driving
RV passengers are essentially allowed to sleep sitting up as they would be in an airplane or standard passenger vehicle as long as they are buckled up with a seat belt.
Like in airplanes, vans, and other vehicles, passengers are permitted to slightly lean back as long as they don’t recline too much.
The amount passengers can recline is generally not defined clearly in traffic laws, but the idea is to be seated in a position that allows the seat belt to be effective.
If you are lying too flat, you might put yourself at risk of slipping under the seat belt if the RV makes a rough stop or turn.
No matter how athletic you are, it is highly unlikely you’ll be able to react to sudden shifts in the RV that could occur at any time.
The forces would be too strong to handle and you may have little to no time to brace for impact.
When using a seat belt in an RV, you should use it exactly as you would in a standard passenger vehicle like a car, truck, or van.
Though it might be more comfortable, you should not put the shoulder strap under your shoulder.
You should also not put one seat belt around more than one passenger.
Some RV passengers might think they can lay down in a seat while placing a seat belt over part of their body to abide with traffic laws.
Not only is that illegal in most cases, it can also be dangerous if the seat belt gets caught on your neck or other delicate area when the RV makes a sudden and hard stop or turn.
Even in a situation where someone is extremely tired and craving a comfortable rest, they must be sitting in a standard seated position or have the RV driver look for a place to park such as a parking lot or rest area.
Be sure to check with local laws and property restrictions to ensure you are legally able to park for however long you plan to park.
You should also carefully examine the parking area and surroundings to make sure it’s a safe place to park.
It’s a good idea to find a spot with well-lit areas that are near other people and have easy access to roads in case you need to leave quickly.
If possible, you should plan your route beforehand and designate your parking areas ahead of time.
You can arrange parking times in areas that might require reservations and fees.
You may also want to contact the parking locations ahead of time to verify all the requirements you will need to follow so there are no surprises when you get there.
If legal parking areas are tough to come by along your route, then you may opt for a regular hotel stay.
That might take out some of the fun of an intended RV trip, but at least you and your passengers will be safe and possibly more comfortable.
To prevent your passengers from sleeping in beds, sofas, and other tempting areas, you should consider securing those areas by covering them so passengers clearly know they are off-limits.
Just directly telling your passengers about what they should and shouldn’t do is probably enough for them to follow the rules, but making sitting areas with seat belts available for them will make it much easier.