A tonneau denotes a car industry-specific term that refers to the section of a truck or car that is kept open behind the driver’s position. Usually, a tonneau is meant for storing cargo. So, a tonneau cover is meant for keeping the section well covered. It is also called the pickup truck bed cover.
Many people are curious about the possibility of driving the truck while the tonneau is kept open. An open cover can obstruct the rear view to an extent. It may also increase wind drag, impacting mileage badly. However, driving with an open tonneau is not exactly illegal.
Why Would You Want to Drive with Tonneau Cover Kept Open?
Sometimes, it may be necessary to drive the truck with the tonneau kept uncovered. It may be necessary when the cargo is long. An open truck bed makes it easy to load and unload things from the tonneau on the move.
Legality of Driving with An Open Tonneau Cover
You won’t break any law by driving a truck with an open tonneau cover.
However, if the load is extended beyond 4 feet from the truck bed, it is necessary to keep an orange, red or yellow flag at the end. The flag must be around 16 square inches. This will alert other vehicles and motorists about the hazard and thus, accidents can be prevented.
If you drive at night, use a visible red light for better security. The light should be bright enough to spot from a distance of at least 500 feet. Also, you need to secure the load properly to avoid spillage or shifting while driving. This can pose a danger to other road users.
Transporting passengers in the bed section of your pickup truck is not illegal as well. However, it may prove to be risky. If not careful, passengers can fall off the truck and get injured. You can be held liable for such an accident.
The drawbacks of driving with an open truck bed
Before you drive a truck with the tonneau cover kept open, learn about the drawbacks.
- With the tonneau cover kept open, the security of your cargo is reduced. It may get affected by rain or snowfall badly. The risk of theft on the move is also there.
- When you transport things that are precious or perishable, using an open tonneau cover is just not prudent.
- If the cargo is lightweight, a gust of strong wind can blow these away, leading to hassles and delay. If the road is bumpy, the cargo items may fall off the bed easily.
Open Tonneau Cover & Mileage
The answer is yes. If you drive with an open tonneau cover, it takes a toll on the fuel economy. The covers help in reducing aerodynamic drag. However, using the tonneau covers help save gas but not by a huge margin.
Driving with an Opened Soft vs Hard Tonneau cover
If you keep the Tonneau cover open, it hardly matters it if is soft or hard. However, a hard truck bed Tonneau cover held by kept open by hydraulic hinges gets damaged if it is kept open for long. When you need to carry huge cargo, it is better to remove the hard Tonneau cover entirely.
Different Types of Tonneau Covers
You can pick from a wide range of Tonneau covers. The popular types are flip-up bed covers, fiberglass hard bed covers, canvas tonneau covers and roll-ups.
The single-piece fiberglass bed covers are both durable and aesthetic looking. However, they are not suited when your cargo is huge and tall. The Canvas bed covers are easy to set up and remove. The roll up and fold up types are good when you do not need to use covers once in a while. Snap tonneau covers are there but these are not liked much by the truck drivers. Using it is rather tedious for them.
How Can You Secure an Open Tonneau Cover?
Securing an open tonneau cover may be tedious. Under roll it for the best result. To hold the open tonneau cover you may use binder clips or straps.
Can Using Tonneau Covers Keep Thieves Away?
Well, using a tonneau cover will safeguard your cargo from theft attempts. However, a seasoned thief may not be deterred by a soft tonneau cover. They can use knives to tear open vinyl or cloth layers. Hard tonneau covers, however, are not easy to tamper with. It is better to use a retractable cover laden with electromagnetic locks.
Summing It Up
Tonneau covers help safeguard your truck and cargo from weather elements and miscreants, for sure. You can drive with the cover kept open but securing the cargo will be necessary. It will affect the fuel economy marginally. Since the tonneau covers are not cheap, invest in a durable one. Before you buy one such unit, ensure you check the options well and think of your usage needs.