Can you drive with a tonneau cover partially open?

We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Thanks for the support! 👍

Tonneau cover, a useful piece of equipment that protects the cargo by covering the truck bed. However, a few truck drivers operate the truck with the cargo open, which motivates others to do the same. It’s a good idea to find out if it’ll work with your vehicle or tonneau first.

In general, the answer is yes. The sort of tonneau cover you have or want to buy will determine how it is secured, how fast you can go, and what limits you have. Here you’ll find all you need to know about tonneau covers. Hard tri-fold, soft tri-fold, and soft roll-up are all available in a single piece. Although it is not ideal, driving with such a tonneau cover open is doable and, for the most part, legal.

Is it lawful to drive a car with a tonneau cover open?

It is allowed to drive with a tonneau cover open. However, keep the following in mind (Please note: Laws are different from state to state and country to country, please verify information with your local government):

  • When hauling a cargo that extends four feet over the edge of your truck bed, a yellow, red, Alternatively, the orange flag should be located at the end of the load. The flag must also be at least 16 by 16 inches in size. You’ll be able to alert oncoming cars and other motorists that you’re hauling a tall or lengthy cargo once you’ve done this.
  • If you’re transporting the weight at night, a bright red light seen from a distance of 500 feet is required. It should go without mentioning that you, the driver, are in charge of properly securing your cargo.
  • Passengers are not prohibited from being transported in the bed of the truck. It is, however, regarded hazardous, and you should proceed with caution. Several accidents have occurred in which passengers have been ejected from the back of a pickup truck. Keep in mind that a passenger riding in the back of a covered vehicle is in grave danger. Passengers are not regarded as cargo.

Following that, the section discusses the various types of tonneaus covers and how to utilize them effectively.

Opening a Tri-Fold Hard Cover While Driving

The sturdy tonneau cover with three folds may be secured in a variety of ways. When you upturn the first half of the three, you’ll have roughly an 18-inch-wide opening area in the midst of the bed. There is no way in this circumstance to keep the component in place.

You may, however, open the initial portion of the drive at a steady pace of 35 mph. With 36-inch, you will have a free area on the other side of the bed if you flip up the second portion. A plastic pin using a nylon thread can be used to hold this position. Furthermore, steering on the highway in this stance is allowed.

By reversing the final section, the sky will be visible from 8 inches of the bed. On the other hand, the tonneau cover will be folded completely and placed on the ground.

It is safer to travel on the highway with the tonneau cover tucked into the corner of the bed. It does, however, block the back window. As a result, you will be unable to see the load in the side mirrors.

Using A Roll-Up Soft Cover While Driving

When the roll-up soft tonneau cover is entirely at odds with the cab, you may fasten it. Alternatively, you may either fully open or fully close the roll-up soft tonneau.

Nylon straps and also plastic clips can be used to secure it after it’s rolled up, and you’ll have a totally open bed. Another advantage is that the soft roll-up tonneau does not obscure the rearview mirror.

Opened Tri-Fold Soft Cover While Driving

2/3 of the time of the available spots can be secured with soft tri-fold coverings. A tri-fold soft tonneau does open over 4′ of the truck beds to the blue if you have a 6.5′ truck bed.

The remainder area will allow you to transfer your essentials safely. You can drive with two-thirds of the mattresses open.

Opening A Hard Cover in One Piece While Driving

To travel along the highway, you may either close properly the tonneau one-piece covers or rather fasten them along with a bungee cord.

You may, however, pull out it open for a brief drive at 25 mph. You’ll have an inclined space in this circumstance and won’t be capable of carrying AC or another tall object. The one-piece cover provides the most secure protection, but it restricts several elements of vehicle ownership.

The Consequences of Steering with A Tonneau Cover Up

Although driving with an unlocked tonneau cover is possible, it is a dangerous activity.

These are some of the problems that might arise when driving with an unlocked tonneau cover: No safety, no weather protection, and items are lost.


Understanding many types of tonneau covers (ever wondered why they are called “Tonneau Covers”) is critical, and selecting one that meets the criteria will help you get the greatest results. Investigate the many varieties of tonneau covers, highlighting their benefits and drawbacks to assist you in selecting one that is right for you. Because they did not thoroughly research all of their alternatives, most consumers wind up purchasing the incorrect sort of tonneau cover.