Sometimes you have to come across situations in life when you have to carry some luggage or goods that don’t fit into the trunk of your SUV. So you have to travel with the back hatch window of the vehicle open.
Can You Drive With the Back of an SUV Open? It is not illegal to drive with the back of an SUV open if you have to move objects longer than the size of the cargo compartment or if it has a faulty latch. However, necessary safety measures should be ensured, including slow driving and securing luggage with a rope or strap.
You should avoid doing it frequently as it can damage the trunk and give you heavy fines due to improper cargo transport.
Can You Drive With the Back of an SUV Open?
If you have to drive with the back window of an SUV open for some reason, you must follow the guidelines and tips mentioned in the article.
Secure the luggage
It is the most obvious measure for protecting your luggage and any untoward situation on the road.
Use a rope or fastening straps to secure the items in the SUV. You can also use a cover or plastic sheets to cover it and protect it from bad weather and dust.
Don’t over speed
It is important to drive carefully for the safety of the goods in case of an open back, as the only barrier to protect them from falling is fastening rope.
Overspeeding on uneven roads, bumps, and sharp turns can make things go loose, resulting in their damage. Be cautious while driving over speed breakers or sewer holes to ensure a smooth ride and to make SUV less bouncy.
Don’t load beyond acceptable limits
Although these have good payload capacities, you should be careful regarding those limits while loading cargo.
For example, the open trunk can tempt you to overload the vehicle due to increased space, damaging the suspension system.
In extreme cases, its frame, engine, or transmission parts can touch the ground or rocks due to overloading.
Moreover, the length of the objects must not be so long that it makes the vehicle difficult to maneuver and poses a danger to other traffic.
Stay away from busy roads
You can drive with the back hatch of an SUV open for shorter trips. However, it is a wise practice to avoid busy roads and national highways in such conditions.
Furthermore, you can take shortcuts or link roads to reach the destination. It will reduce the chances of accidents and your encounter with cops.
Use side mirrors to keep an eye on cargo
It can reduce your visibility for vehicles behind you. Moreover, the rearview mirror will not be practical due to sight blockage by the cargo.
In that scenario, you can use both side mirrors to check incoming traffic. Moreover, it will help you to keep an eye on the goods to avoid them falling. You should also keep the back window of the SUV clean.
Make mirror adjustments before the start of the journey according to your requirements for safe driving.
Why would you drive an SUV with the open back?
Traveling with an open back of their vehicle is not usual for people to do without any reason. Instead, they do it under some compulsion or few possible reasons mentioned here.
Faulty latch lock
A latch or electronic lock secures the back door in its place with the body of the vehicle. In case of a faulty latch or a jerk on an uneven or bumpy road, it can open while you are driving.
The latest models have motorized back doors with electronic locks that the driver can open without leaving his seat.
A faulty electronic system can also malfunction the back lid, and you have to drive with an open backside of the vehicle.
To make extra space for large objects
If you buy an object longer than the available space and doesn’t fit in the trunk, you have to transport it with the back of the SUV open.
People often do this to carry their dog kennels, wooden logs, or any other piece of hardware. However, you have to do it with caution and by taking appropriate safety measures.
To save money by increased cargo space
SUVs come under the category of pickup trucks and have good payload capacity. However, they don’t have large cargo beds available as it is in pickup trucks.
To carry goods and groceries to utilize its entire payload capacity, you will need to keep its back open. Therefore, it will enhance the available cargo space.
Moreover, it will save money if you need to rent another vehicle like a pickup truck or trailer to carry the luggage.
What are the legal consequences of keeping the trunk open in an SUV?
There are no legal conditions regarding keeping the back of an SUV open or closed. However, various US states have different laws regarding safe driving on highways.
However, none of them prohibits you from going with the fully or partially open back of your vehicle until or unless it is safe.
If you load the cargo and secure it firmly in its place and the open trunk doesn’t suffer your visibility, then you have a free way to go.
However, if you load it in a condition that can harm other traffic, cops can fine you for violating public safety.
Do SUV electronic controls allow you to drive with an open back?
Open back in an SUV gives you a yellow warning sign on the dashboard and a beeping sound. It does with the help of a sensor located on the latch.
Moreover, it keeps the tail light ON as long as it is open. You can drive the vehicle with the warning sign, but keeping it can result in battery drain.
Drawbacks of driving an SUV with the back open
Drivers travel with an open trunk for a purpose, but it is not wise to do it for longer trips.
Damage to the trunk
Gas-charged lift supports to keep the trunk open whenever you release its latch. However, driving in such conditions will cause the gas inside the supports to compress and frequently decompress.
Moreover, continuous movement of the rear hatch is also a risk for the back glass. It can develop cracks or become loose due to its constant upward and downward movement if it stays loose throughout the journey.
Damage to cargo
Driving with an open-back hatch poses a risk to the cargo. Although you secure it by some means, any jerk on a bumpy road can still result in falling a few objects on the road.
It can damage the goods and also disturb the other vehicles on the road.
Weather and environmental conditions are other factors that can damage the goods.
For example, rain, windstorms, and dust can be detrimental if the cargo contents are clothes or other routine items.
Therefore, avoid traveling in such conditions for longer trips or use some means to cover them and protect them from water and dust.
Fines for unsecured loads
Public safety on roads has significant importance in all US states. If you load cargo beyond acceptable lengths or don’t secure it properly in the vehicle, you have to pay a few thousand dollars as a fine.
Moreover, if an accident occurs due to your fault or goods falling on the road, the situation can further worsen for you. Besides heavy fines, cops can give you jail time and cancellation of your driving license.
Smoke and dust inside the cabin
Going with the trunk open creates negative pressure and sucks exhaust smoke and dust inside the cabin.
The exhaust gases that can accumulate due to poor ventilation can affect your driving ability.
Moreover, inhaling it in higher concentrations results in intoxication, suffocation, and death in severe conditions.
Therefore, remember to turn on the fan and circulation of fresh air in the cabin to keep the CO level low inside it.