Can You Drive With A Tonneau Cover Open?

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Can you drive with an open tonneau cover? Most would answer this question with a definitive yes. After all, who wants to waste time closing and opening their tonneau covers every time they add or remove items from their truck bed?

This blog post will answer the question, “can you drive with a tonneau cover open?” and provide tips on safe driving with a tonneau cover open. 

Stay safe on the roads!

Is it legal to drive with a tonneau cover open?

The answer to this question is more complicated than a simple yes or no. While driving with a roll-up tonneau cover open may be technically legal, it is not advisable, especially if you have one-piece covers.

This is because open tonneau covers can obstruct the driver’s view behind you. If you have the one-piece tonneau cover, you shouldn’t drive with it open.

If it’s open, it becomes difficult for you to see potential hazards behind your vehicle. 

In addition, open tonneau covers can also increase the wind drag on your vehicle, reducing fuel efficiency.

Driving with an open hard folding tonneau cover

If you have hard folding tonneau covers like the Gator EFX Truck Bed Covers and the Backflip G2 Tonneau Truck Bed Covers, you may be able to drive with it open without much difficulty.

These types of Tonneau covers generally have panels that fold up towards the cab of your pickup truck. This gives you a clear view of the rear window, unlike the one-piece tonneau covers that don’t fold.

However, you should still be aware of your items in the truck bed. Loose items can still blow out of the truck bed and into the road.

We suggest that you check your truck bed cover and ensure it’s secure and that the lift arms are sturdy enough to withstand the elements while driving.

Let me quickly point out that if you’re driving under 35mph, your tonneau covers will be somewhat safe. 

But if you have a heavy foot, you risk damaging the truck bed covers over time.

Driving with an open soft-folding tonneau cover

guy with surfboard open a tonneau cover on a blue pickupIf you have a soft tonneau cover, it is not advisable to drive with it open, but that doesn’t mean you cannot. 

These types of covers fold up towards the cab. If you’re driving on the highway, it’s best to keep your cover closed to avoid potential damage from the wind.

Driving with an open hard roll-up tonneau cover

As we mentioned earlier, if you have a hard roll-up tonneau cover, it may be okay to drive with it open.

With your tonneau covers rolled up, the belongings in your truck bed are at the mercy of the wind. And you’ll need to protect them from theft and unauthorized access.

Ensure that you’re not carrying items that the wind can easily blow about. These items may fly out of your truck bed and harm the driver behind you.

Check the truck bed cover straps and ensure they’re tight when you roll up the cover completely so it won’t damage your cargo if it comes off loose in transit.

Driving with an open soft roll-up tonneau cover

If you have a soft roll-up cover like the Gator SFX tri-fold tonneau cover, it’s generally okay to drive with it open if it is adequately secured.

These covers can be rolled up and secured, so they shouldn’t present any dangers when driving.

If you’re carrying cargo that extends to the back of your vehicle, make sure that you have a red flag sticking out of the rear of your truck bed. It should be visible from a few meters away.

Also, if you’re carrying the cargo at night with the roll-up cover open, use a reflective red sticker/flag to warn drivers behind you.

Again, you should keep your items in place with straps to ensure they can’t fly out or move around in the truck bed. Drive slowly, too – under 35mph is ideal.

Driving with an open one-piece tonneau cover

Should you drive with an open one-piece cover? 

We don’t recommend doing it, as it can be dangerous. One-piece covers shouldn’t be open while driving, as they can spell danger for other drivers.

An open one-piece cover can block your vision out the back window. It can also come loose and fly off or get caught on something and rip open. 

And if you have cargo in the back, it can fly out and become a hazard for other drivers.

If you must drive with an open one-piece cover, make sure that it is adequately secured and that you can still see out the back window. 

Drive slowly and be prepared to stop at a moment’s notice. It’s also good to have someone else in the car to help keep an eye on things if you’re hauling goods in the truck bed.

retractable roll up tonneau cover

Reasons you shouldn’t drive with an open tonneau cover

Driving with an open tonneau cover can create many safety hazards. Here are some of the dangers you should be aware of:

  1. Wind drag can decrease fuel efficiency and increase wear and tear on your truck.
  2. Debris can fly into the bed of your truck and cause damage.
  3. If you have to brake suddenly, items in the bed of your truck could become projectiles. This may, in turn, harm the drivers coming behind you or cause serious accidents that may lead to loss of lives and lawsuits against you.
  4. Thieves can steal your belongings if you leave your tonneau cover open while parked.
  5. You’ll damage your tonneau covers when you drive with the covers open.
  6. Rear visibility is blocked, especially if the cover isn’t foldable or folds to block the rearview glass.

How to secure an open tonneau cover?

There are a few ways to secure an open tonneau cover while driving.

  1. One is to use bungee cords or ropes to tie it down. This will keep it from becoming loose and flying off.
  2. You can also use a tonneau cover hold-down kit or cover lock to keep it in place more securely.

Ensure that whatever you use is secure and won’t fly off while driving.


While it’s possible to drive with an open tonneau cover, it’s not recommended. It’s dangerous and can create several hazards for you and other drivers on the road.

If you must drive with an open tonneau cover, ensure it is adequately secured. Drive slowly and be prepared to stop at a moment’s notice if you notice anything wrong with your truck bed cover, be it tri-fold or one-piece.

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