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Can RVs Go Through Drive-Thrus?

Can RVs Go Through Drive-Thrus?

If the question is, are RVs allowed to go through drive-thrus, the answer is yes. If the question is, should I take my RV through a drive-thru, the answer really should be no. 

You’ve probably seen a YouTube or TikTok video that an onlooker took of an RV side-swiping the corner of a fast-food restaurant trying to make the turn in a drive-thru lane. Or maybe you’ve seen a Facebook post with a photo of an RV stuck under a drive-thru awning. 

Don’t be one of those drivers. You don’t want to be the subject of a viral video on social media. Plus, you don’t want to pay for the damage to your RV or the restaurant either. Let’s look at why driving your RV through a drive-thru isn’t a good idea.

Will Your RV Fit in a Drive-Thru?

Just like you need to pay attention to clearance when you’re driving under a bridge, you want to pay attention to clearance when you’re going through a drive-thru if you decide to take that chance. Many drive-thrus have a bar overhead with a minimum clearance marker. 

Drive-Thru Clearance Sign
Even if your RV can clear the awnings, it’s best to play it safe and avoid drive-thru lines.

It’s possible that your RV could fit in the lane. Some big rigs and taller Class B vans may not be able to, but other Class B or Class C RVs and most travel trailers probably won’t have an overhead clearance issue.  

Pro Tip: Whether you’re considering going through a drive-thru or not, you should always know the height of your RV.

But overhead clearance isn’t the only consideration here. The biggest problem is the tight turns. You might not have an excessively tall rig, but if you’re towing a trailer or driving an RV other than a small camper van, you’ll struggle to make the turn after ordering your food. You run the risk of side-swiping a pole, taking out the menu, or damaging your tires while riding up on the curb.

Drive-Thru Line
Drive-thrus often have tight turns and curbs that make it difficult for RVs to maneuver through the line safely.

If you end up getting to the window, the distance from the cashier will become a problem. The mirrors on large trucks and motorhomes stick out farther than typical sedan mirrors. And the RV itself is wider than standard vehicles. You may end up having to get out of the truck or RV to pay and receive your food because you’re so far from the drive-thru window.

What Happens When You Try to Drive-Thru With a Fifth Wheel RV

Fifth wheels are taller than most RVs (clearance issues) and can be longer than many RVs depending on which model you have (tight turning difficulties). If you choose to go through a drive-thru with a fifth wheel, there’s a high possibility you’ll end up in a viral video and your day could abruptly end very badly.

Driver Attempts to Get Through Dairy Queen Drive Thru

Viral videos are truly the least of your issues, though. You’ll likely be liable for the damages to the restaurant, and if you don’t have good insurance, you’ll be paying out of pocket. Even if you do have good insurance, your premiums will probably skyrocket. Taking out the menu at a restaurant doesn’t look great on insurance forms. 

What Is the Typical Overhead Clearance of a Drive-Thru?

The typical overhead clearance is around nine feet. Don’t push this. If your rig is right under nine feet, don’t try to go through a drive-thru. 

You need to know your rig height. If you don’t know it, measure today. You never want to get stuck with clearance issues, no matter where you’re driving. 

Can You Pull a Trailer Through a Drive-Thru?

Depending on the size of the RV trailer, it’s possible to drive through a drive-thru but not recommended. The height probably won’t be an issue. But you still have to make tight turns. Sometimes, trucks pulling landscaping equipment struggle to make it around a drive-thru, which is why you usually see them parked in a nearby parking lot. So, it’ll be even more difficult to pull a travel trailer safely through a drive-thru.

never take a trailer thru a McDonalds drive thru. WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS??!?

How to Get Your Fast Food Fix in an RV

Typically, fast food restaurants are near other stores, restaurants, and shopping centers. Find a place nearby with a large parking lot (like Walmart RV parking) and leave the RV there. Even if you have to walk several blocks, it’s a much safer option. Plus, you can stretch your legs, walk the dog, and have a bathroom break all at the same stop.

If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to go inside and order, almost all fast food locations have a mobile order feature. Place your pick-up order, pull off somewhere nearby, and have a family member run in to get the order. If you’re using RV-friendly apps or searching for places to grab a quick bite, search the surrounding area for adequate parking. 

Play It Safe: Avoid the Drive-Thru Lane

Please don’t drive your RV through a drive-thru. The risk is not worth the reward. You don’t want to make the local nightly news, see a photo of your rig on Facebook with an unkind comment about your intelligence, or be on the hook for repairs. 

Fast Food Burger
Don’t let the temptation of a quick fast food bite distract you from RV safety. Take your time, park your RV, and enjoy your meal.

Use your fast-food stop to relax and rest on a travel day. Don’t be in such a hurry that you feel like your only option is to drive through the drive-thru. Leave your campsite with plenty of time to stop for lunch. Drive safely, travelers!

One of the big mistakes new full-time RVers make is traveling too fast. Learn how to avoid this and other common mistakes here: 17 Beginner Full-Time RV Mistakes You Can Avoid

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Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of The RVers, producers of “Go North” on Amazon Prime, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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Silas Longshot

Monday 4th of October 2021

Umm....this situation is gonna come down to very few reasons for this clown to try and run a 5th wheel trailer (this one's actually a shorter one) thru the DQ drive thru. The fool is drunk or buzzed to the point he doesn't remember the RV is hooked up. Or the truck & RV have been stolen and the crook got the munchies. NOBODY driving an RV they actually own would be stupid enough to try and pull it thru any kind of drive thru burger joint. That's also why he fled