Stay safe on your RV adventures
Recreational vehicles give people the ability to travel where and when they want. Plane and train schedules, hotel check-in times and the like have no effect on them. Traveling the country in your home away from home can be a liberating adventure, no matter where you’re going. But it’s always important to make sure you’re safe as you do so.
If you have successfully mastered the art of driving a car, truck or van, the switch to a motorhome shouldn’t be too challenging. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make time for a few practice runs before you hit the highway, DMV.org cautioned.
Become familiar with the feel of the vehicle’s acceleration and how long it takes to come to a stop. Practice going around corners, pulling into parking spots and changing lanes.
Your RV isn’t crash tested the same way your car might be, Grizzly Law pointed out. As such, it’s imperative that everyone stay in their seats with their seatbelts on while the vehicle is in motion.
Some useful tips to keep in mind when driving your RV are:
- Pull into the intersection before turning to avoid making too sharp of a turn.
- Begin braking earlier than you would with a car.
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Don’t ride the brakes – they will wear out quickly.
Significance of size
It’s important to be aware of your size on the highway. Before you attempt to drive under any bridges or canopies, make sure you will fit.
Look for signs that note the clearance level, but don’t expect them to always be present or accurate. Every state’s laws are different about whether clearance levels need to be posted. And if the road has been repaved since the last time a sign has been updated, it may not be completely accurate.
As RVing Guide pointed out, you will be responsible for any damage you cause to a building, structure or, of course, your own RV.
Your height isn’t the only challenge. Your RV is considerably wider than most other vehicles on the road. Most models today are around 8.5 feet wide. While this is nice and comfortable when you’re living and relaxing in your RV, it can become more of a burden when you’re traveling. RVing Guide noted that you may need to get an oversized load permit to be on the road legally.
There are some safety features every home should have. Likewise, there are some items every vehicle should have in case of emergency. Since your RV is both, you’ll need to make sure all of these basic items are available in your motorhome before you get going.
As a home, your RV will need:
- A smoke alarm.
- A fire extinguisher.
- Working locks on all doors and windows.
- Functional lights, interior and exterior.
- A first aid kit.
- Food and water rations.
- Candles and waterproof matches.
As a vehicle, your RV needs:
- A toolkit for repairs and preventative maintenance, including screwdrivers, socket wrenches and pliers.
- Jumper cables.
- Tire-changing equipment.
- Safe fluid levels.
- Adequate air pressure in all tires.
In addition to these basic necessities, you can improve safety by adding things like backup cameras or an alarm system. Finally, some behavioral tips can help you stay safe:
- Keep interior lights on when you’re away from your RV.
- Park in well-lit areas.
- Keep valuables well-hidden, or leave them at home.
Taking your RV across the country can be exciting and fun. But the trip will be made even better if you keep some basic safety tips in mind.