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Author Topic: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?  (Read 62004 times)

leahkb

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Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« on: July 17, 2007, 01:58:13 PM »
My husband and I are new to RVing and heard someone talking about their wife riding in their 5th wheel while he was driving. I couldn't believe it. Then I was reading in one of Woodalls' books that it is legal in alot of states.  We always wear our seatbelts and can't imagine doing that. Of course, we haven't been on any long trips and I can see how tempting it would be to stretch out in bed for awhile and maybe watch tv.
Just wondering if many of you do this and if so, do you take any safety precautions?

Leah in KY

Carl L

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2007, 02:18:12 PM »
Here is what the California Vehicle Code Section 21712 says about that:

  (g) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle that is towing a
trailer coach, camp trailer, or trailer carrying a vessel, containing
a passenger, except when a trailer carrying or designed to carry a
vessel is engaged in the launching or recovery of the vessel.

  .....

  (g) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle that is towing a
trailer coach, camp trailer, or trailer carrying a vessel, containing
a passenger, except when a trailer carrying or designed to carry a
vessel is engaged in the launching or recovery of the vessel.

                ---------------//---------------
   
   (i) Subdivision (g) does not apply to a trailer coach that is
towed with a fifth-wheel device if the trailer coach is equipped with
safety glazing materials wherever glazing materials are used in
windows or doors, with an audible or visual signaling device that a
passenger inside the trailer coach can use to gain the attention of
the motor vehicle driver, and with at least one unobstructed exit
capable of being opened from both the interior and exterior of the
trailer coach.


Generally speaking riding in any trailer is a bad idea.   Lying down on a bed for nap unrestrained in any vehicle is a really bad idea.   Just a hard normal traffic stop could be disasterous to a recumbent, snoozing passenger.   Especially if the driver has no communication as in a trailer.

 
« Last Edit: July 17, 2007, 06:34:57 PM by Carl L »
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

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Ron

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2007, 02:47:00 PM »
Personally I feel that anybody that would tow any recreational trailer with passengers in the trailer should have their driving privileges revoked for lack of good judgement.  I believe all states have laws requiring approved seat belts for all passengers.  Just how many trailers actually have approved seat belts.  The idea of traveling with somebody in a towed trailer is just a real bad idea and anybody that would ride in a trailer while in motion, well I suspect their elevator just don't go to the top.
Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE

leahkb

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2007, 03:04:19 PM »
I agree. The person that told us his wife rides in their 5th wheel said a police officer pulled him over because she had the blinds open and he saw her in there. He said it is legal in about half the states. DOn't think I want to travel in those states!
Leah

Rick.T

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2007, 12:59:10 AM »
It's not smart in any way to move around in any moving vehicle. Saying that, a lot of MH owners on here do it on a regular basis. Mention a rider in a 5th wheel to some of these people and their eyes would widen and their mouths would open wide in astonishment. They would think the idea is horrendous. There are posts on here saying this exact thing. That in itself is not only hypocritical but it's hilarious. Why is it OK to walk around in the MH as it goes down the road which is 100% illegal in California by the way, yet not OK to ride in the fifth wheel which is legal in California?  I just don't understand. Neither vehicles offer anything in protection from a serious accident. This is well known. I'm really confused. A statement similar to: " I got up and used the john in the class A but I would never allow someone to ride in the 5th wheel." WHY? What is the difference? I myself see none.

Rick

hleap

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2007, 07:12:47 AM »
Rick,

I want to start off saying I don't condone walking around in a motorhome, but yes people do it. OTOH, there are a few major differences between a trailer and Motorhome that have a substantial effect on the contents when in motion. For one, a trailer does not have a sophisticated supension system, many just have leaf springs. The ride would be quite a bit rougher. Secondly, there is the connection between the tow vehicle and trailer. The articulation can  cause sway (severe in some instances) and could amplify any harmonics in the road surface. Also, trailers have their wheels centrally located which creates a kind of seesaw action from the front to back.
Howard
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2007 Holiday Rambler Endeavor PDQ
2007 GMC Sierra 4X4

Ned

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2007, 07:26:15 AM »
There is much better communication between the driver and passenger(s) in a motorhome than in a trailer.  The driver can warn of sudden stops or maneuvers in the motorhome while it may be impossible to do so with a trailer.  Motorhome passengers are belted when seated, but I don't recall ever seeing seat belts in a trailer.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

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buckle823

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2007, 12:00:20 PM »
I wouldn't even put my dog in a towed trailer. I think all passengers in a motorhome should belted as well. If you roll a motorhome and your unbelted, your toast.

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2007, 12:07:30 PM »
Quote
OTOH, there are a few major differences between a trailer and Motorhome that have a substantial effect on the contents when in motion. For one, a trailer does not have a sophisticated supension system, many just have leaf springs. The ride would be quite a bit rougher. Secondly, there is the connection between the tow vehicle and trailer. The articulation can  cause sway (severe in some instances) and could amplify any harmonics in the road surface. Also, trailers have their wheels centrally located which creates a kind of seesaw action from the front to back

May I add that there are no seat belts or suitable anchored seats in any trailer, so it would be considered unsafe for passengers even if they were not up and moving around. 

And having had an accident while towing a travel trailer and observed what happens to the sidewalls and contents when it rolled onto its side, I can say emphatically there is no way I would let anyone ride in one I was towing.  Moving around in a motorhome may be risky, but riding in a trailer borders on suicidal, in my opinion.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

buckle823

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2007, 01:09:14 PM »
Gary,

What are details of how you guys rolled your trailer? Were you towing with full size van?

threeful

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2007, 01:28:09 PM »
I think it is unsafe to ride unbelted in a trailer or motor home regardless of their construction or the state law.  Some may want to rationalize the unsafe behavior by claiming better suspension systems and the ability to communicate to the unbelted person but the fact is it is unsafe. to the point that someone may die.  That is serious to me.  In any accident I was ever involved in, the only words I was able to say was "Oh S**t!  Think about it... "Oh S**t", does that give the unbelted person enough time to sit down, belt themselves in, and say thank you?

I don't want to sound "preachy" but when it comes to safety, rationalizing unsafe behaviors will cause injury and/or death..that is a fact.  Just because a law says it is OK doesn't mean it is safe...it just means it is legal.   One can always rationalize unsafe behaviors and convince themselves it is OK but should this forum condone behaviors that are unsafe? This forum is emphatic on their tow capacity position, and rightfully so. Thou shalt not exceed, in fact, you should be 10-20% under gross limits.  Some try to rationalize their reasonong for challenging the Forum's position by claiming they have better braking systems, they have added air bags, a better suspension, bigger wheels and tires etc. but they are quickly admonished for their unsafe reasoning.  

For those who rationalize this behavior is OK to do in a motor home but not as travel trailer or vice versa, remember you can't control when your tire will blow, when someone will pull out in front of you, or you swerve to miss a deer.  Anyone not belted will likely have an extremely high probability of being injured.  Take 5 minutes for the potty break or to put the pot roast in the slow cooker...you will get there at 5:05 instead of 5:00,  and you will have a higher probability of getting there.

Bill T.



Bill T
Central PA
2003 Sierra Fifth Wheel
2004.5 2500 Dodge 4x4

Ned

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2007, 01:46:32 PM »
First, you asked for the differences between riding in a motorhome and in a trailer and you were given some.  Second, nobody here has condoned moving around in any vehicle in motion.  Do people do it, yes.  Is it safe, no.  There is no rationalization there, just a fact.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Want to know what we're doing? http://blog.usabyrv.us

Carl L

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2007, 01:53:52 PM »
Rick,

I want to start off saying I don't condone walking around in a motorhome, but yes people do it. OTOH, there are a few major differences between a trailer and Motorhome that have a substantial effect on the contents when in motion. For one, a trailer does not have a sophisticated supension system, many just have leaf springs. The ride would be quite a bit rougher. Secondly, there is the connection between the tow vehicle and trailer. The articulation can  cause sway (severe in some instances) and could amplify any harmonics in the road surface. Also, trailers have their wheels centrally located which creates a kind of seesaw action from the front to back.

Boy howdy!    Any one riding in a trailer, tt or fiver, on the dreaded I-405 in LA better damn well be helmeted and strapped into a NASA grade crash harness.   I can remember passing a fiver on that stretch of road where the pitching of the trailer was enough to lift the bed of the truck slightly on the upswing  I floorboarded it to get past that poor shnook.
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

Prowler 23LV TT pulled by a '95 Ford Bronco

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2007, 05:43:53 PM »
Quote
What are details of how you guys rolled your trailer? Were you towing with full size van?

Long time ago when I was much more naive about this sort of thing. Towing a 24 foot travel trailer behind a Cadillac, which even with its automatic rear air suspension and a WD hitch (Reese dual cam) was too softly suspended for decent control. Anyway, dropped a trailer wheel off a low shoulder on a relatively narrow 2 lane and lost control (wife was driving, but I might not have done any better). Fishtailed wildly down the road for a bit before jackknifing and started going down the road backwards! Jackknifed again and this time the trailer went over on its side, twisting the hitch like pretzel and tearing the trailer apart. Furniture, appliances, pieces of sidewall and our belongings were flung everywhere. Not a pretty sight and I cannot imagine anyone inside surviving that sort of thrashing around.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

buckle823

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2007, 06:11:26 AM »
Gary, that sounds like a wild ride for sure. Looking back, what would have been a more suitable towing vehicle at the time?

leahkb

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2007, 07:42:53 AM »
 ???  Our laws in KY are ridiculous. Someone on a motorcycle doesn't even have to wear a helmet. And most of the ones I've seen, don't. It is supposedly legal to ride in a travel trailer, but we also have the seatbelt law. Like someone was saying, there are no secure seats in a trailer, therefore, no safe place to ride in one.  I don't think you should put yourself on such a tight schedule, that would make you justify letting someone rest in a towed vehicle. I would add an extra day, to allow for stopping and resting. But the guy I was talking to, does it on a regular basis. Maybe he's trying to get rid of his wife! I just would never do this for any reason.
Leah

Newt & Jan

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2007, 12:08:45 PM »
Maybe he's trying to get rid of his wife! I just would never do this for any reason

I dunno.  Maybe if we met his wife we might understand.
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Rick.T

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2007, 07:36:47 PM »
Sorry but I have to say what I see. For some reason MH owners are under this belief that they are protected just because they have a seat belt. It has no bearing when they are walking to the reefer or John though as was pointed out. It also doesn't guarantee or assure that someone will survive any accident. I've seen accidents with MH's where the RV was so totaled that no one survived. Period! Yet everyone points out how the trailer will disintegrate upon impact.:) Like the MH will hold together or something.:) If you believe this I have some ocean front property here in Redding for sale...lol.
I've been a rider in a 5er. I am speaking from experience when I say the ride was "no different" than riding in a MH. NONE! Both sway, rock and pitch. Both are hard to walk around in while moving. I felt just as safe in the 5er as I do in a MH. To bring up that one is hitched to a TV and one isn't would be a good argument  if it was common for 5ers to become "unhitched" for no reason. Thankfully it is so uncommon it's virtually impossible to find reports on it. 
Personally I see no difference from moving around in a MH unrestrained than riding in a fifth wheel unrestrained.  To admit to doing one while condemning another seems hypocritical IMO. Just my opinion.
Don't get me wrong here and think I am over thinking this or being rude or controversial. I just have a problem with people who condemn others for certain actions then turn around and admit to doing something comparable. It reminds me of what my parents used to say when they did things wrong in front of us kids. Something like..."Do as I say and not as I do".

Rick

Rick

cuts_up

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2007, 09:22:10 PM »
Didn't they ever see "The Long Long Trailer" with Lucy and Desi?
 :o
Kathy

Tom

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2007, 09:30:06 PM »
"The Long Long Trailer" with Lucy and Desi?

That was very funny and I still remember it today.
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Ron

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2007, 09:38:21 PM »
Nobody has expressed that it is OK to move around in a MH while in motion.  At least if one chooses to risk life and limb and do so at least they are in direct communication with the driver.  Moving around in a moving vehicle is not very smart. However, IMHO riding in a RV trailer of any kind is well just plain --- well you know what I am thinking.
Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE

Carl L

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #21 on: July 19, 2007, 11:48:24 PM »
Sorry but I have to say what I see. For some reason MH owners are under this belief that they are protected just because they have a seat belt.
.

Pardon me, but exactly who among the respondents in this thread has held that?   Myself, and the other staff members here have consistantly held that that one is at considerable hazard moving around unbelted in any moving vehicle.   Stop the vehicle and then move around.

Quote
It also doesn't guarantee or assure that someone will survive any accident. I've seen accidents with MH's where the RV was so totaled that no one survived. Period!


That is true of anyvehicle, from a Mini-Cooper to an M1A3 Abrams tank.

Quote
Yet everyone points out how the trailer will disintegrate upon impact.:) Like the MH will hold together or something.:)

All things are relative.   Given a choice I would rather be belted in the drivers compartment of a motorhome than anywhere in a trailer -- and my RV is a trailer.


Quote
I've been a rider in a 5er. I am speaking from experience when I say the ride was "no different" than riding in a MH. NONE! Both sway, rock and pitch. Both are hard to walk around in while moving.


Can't say I have ridden in a trailer because I would not.   But I have seen them pitching on a worn out concrete interstate (I-405), and I would not want to be back there in that unshocked box.

By the way, fiver riding is legal in CA only if you have safety glazing and communication with the driver.  You got both?

For that matter, have you run into a trailer with a DOT approved safety harness?
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

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leahkb

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2007, 01:56:43 PM »
It's not smart for someone to move around in any type of RV, towed or otherwise. And no, not everyone wearing seatbelts survives a crash, but I can tell you from experience in my job. I'm an RN that worked in trauma ICUs for many yrs. and 9 out of 10 patients I saw had a seatbelt on during the accident. That was always stated in their histories. If they hadn't, they wouldn't have been there.
Personally, we won't be riding our camper. Hope no one else does either.
Leah

cuts_up

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Re: Riding in travel trailer or 5th wheel while on the road?
« Reply #23 on: July 20, 2007, 03:05:32 PM »
That was very funny and I still remember it today.


I've always like that movie so I bought it on DVD to keep in the mh.
Kathy