With travel trailers being so cozy to sleep in while camping, it stands to reason that they would be just as comfortable to ride in while driving to your next campsite. I mean who wouldn’t want the freedom to kick back on the couch or even take a nap while being towed to the next destination on their big adventure? Especially if that destination is one of Florida’s many tropical beaches.
Imagine waking up in the morning, leisurely packing up the travel trailer while sipping a mimosa, and then taking a lovely power nap en route to a beachside RV park. By the time you hit the beach you’ll be fully refreshed and ready to go.
This delightful scenario begs the question, is it legal to ride in a travel trailer in Florida?
No, it is not.
Unfortunately, it is against Florida state law to transport passengers in a trailer camper that is being driven on state freeways, highways, or city roads.
But it is actually good that these laws are in place! This isn’t just another case of the man ruining all of our fun for no reason.
** Every attempt has been made by the author to verify the accuracy of this information. Local and state road laws change without warning and may have been changed since the writing and publishing of this article. The author assumes no responsibility for errors or inaccuracy. **
Why Can’t You Ride in a Travel Trailer in Florida?
There are a number of reasons why Florida doesn’t allow people to ride in a travel trailer while it is being hauled, and most of them have to do with safety. Simply put, riding in a travel trailer while in motion is dangerous.
Even when a trailer camper is equipped with an abundance of safety features, having people riding in the back of a travel trailer can put you, your passengers, and other drivers at risk of injury or death.
Trailer sway is a well-known and much feared phenomenon amongst travel trailer owners. Trailer sway occurs when forces on the side of a trailer that is being towed cause the trailer to begin moving side to side behind the towing vehicle.
As the sway continues it can begin to build momentum, swaying more intensely with every second. If left unchecked, this can cause your vehicle to spin out of control and jack-knife, or flip both your trailer and the towing vehicle.
While extreme weather and other vehicles can cause dangerous trailer sway, it is often a result of improper weight distribution in the trailer itself. If people were to be occupying and moving about within the trailer as it is being towed, their shifting weight could throw the trailer into a state of uncontrollable trailer sway.
While this is not always the case, a vast majority of travel trailers do not have seatbelts. Large fifth-wheel trailers can be found with seat belts in them, but that is when they are specifically designed by the manufacturer to safely carry passengers. Some states do allow passengers to ride in a travel trailer and so trailer manufacturers will add this safety feature to certain models.
Even if your trailer does have seat belts, it is still illegal to ride in a travel trailer in Florida. Regardless of this safety feature, Florida says no.
So, if you find yourself hauling towards the Florida-Georgia state line with some of your crew playing cards in the trailer, find a safe place to pull over and move them into the tow vehicle before crossing the border.
Can You Ride in Any RVs in Florida?
Truck bed campers are the only type of RV that Florida allows passengers to ride in while in motion.
When you think about it, it makes sense how riding in a truck bed camper is safer than riding in a travel trailer. Truck campers do not run the risk of trailer sway. The camper itself forms a strong connection with the truck, essentially becoming a single, solid unit with no ability to fishtail like a trailer does.
Additionally, truck bed campers ride so high in the air that a rear-end collision from another vehicle has less of a chance of injuring the passenger, especially if they are positioned in the sleeping berth above the cab.
If you live in Florida or find yourself traveling there often, consider purchasing a truck bed camper from a custom RV manufacturer. Durable, and packed with luxury amenities, their truck bed campers are great for family adventures.
Other Florida RV Laws to Know
Keep these RV laws in mind next time you are cruising to Florida’s beaches.
No Overnight Street Camping
It is not legal to park and sleep in your camper on most streets and roads while in Florida. While this is true of many cities across the nation, it doesn’t prevent people from trying. Stealth camping in cities is frequently attempted by those living in vans and truck campers.
If you plan on traveling in Florida and want to sleep overnight on a street, research local laws and ordinances to make sure you are camping within the law.
In-town Speed Limit
The in-town speed limit for RVs in Florida is 30 miles per hour. Outside of cities and towns you may drive the posted speed limit, but once you roll into a city, ease off the accelerator. This is for your safety and the safety of others.
Any trailer being towed in Florida must be connected to the tow vehicle’s brake lights and turn signals via the 7-pin connector located near the hitch. This allows the trailer to mimic the brake and turn signals of the tow vehicle.
Boasting warm tropical weather, fun action-packed cities, and many relaxing beaches, Florida is a perfect destination for your next RV adventure. Just make sure to know the laws before you go.