Traveling in an RV is an amazing way to experience the world, but it’s also a big responsibility.
Taking your house with you everywhere you go means you’re driving with a lot of weight, and many small things to regularly maintain. These safety rules will help you create a routine for confident RV travel before you get behind the wheel, while you’re on the road, and in the campground.
1) Know Your Specs
Checking height and weight is part of just about any health physical, so why don’t we apply that to our home-on-wheels?
It might seem obvious, but knowing the actual height of your RV is a huge factor in safe travel. You bought your RV to explore new areas, right? Unfortunately, the unknown can contain a few restrictions. Keeping your exact height on a post-it note on your dashboard can prevent you from misjudging your height and attempting to travel under a bridge or overpass that’s a lot shorter than it looks.
Overloading your RV can also lead to dangerous and damaging situations. When your motorhome or towable RV is too heavy it puts an inordinate amount of pressure on your braking and steering systems, as well as your tires. This leaves you vulnerable to traffic accidents and tire blowouts that can have catastrophic results. Avoid this terrifying outcome by knowing your weight!
Always weigh your coach when fully loaded, and make sure that your total is within the manufacturer established guidelines for specific vehicle.
2) Buckle Up
Another no-brainer that too many people ignore: you should always have your seat-belt on the road in your RV!
We get it, it’s easy to get a little too comfortable in your home-on-wheels and not want to stay buckled in for longer journeys. However, it is always best practice to have your seatbelt on while the RV is in motion. Even further, it is recommended that passengers choose a front-facing seat in the RV. It may seem like a pain to stay put, but it can save your life in the event of a collision.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t only apply to humans! If you travel with a pet, look into a seat-belt harness to keep your furry companions safe as well.
3) Make a List, Check it Twice
One of the less glamorous sides of RVing is the prep time needed to have a safe and successful trip. At the end of the day, checking the following items for functionality may take up time, but the open road is well worth it!
When prepping your rig for travel always check that your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms have full battery and are functioning properly. These are non-negotiable items and can save your life in an emergency! You’ll also want to keep a fire extinguisher in your rig and keep an eye on its expiration date.
Another item to keep an eye on is your LP gas system. Specifically, check for leaks and pressure issues. To check for leaks, go to each propane fitting and spray them with a simple mixture of soap and water. If you see bubbles form, this indicates a propane leak and you should seek immediate repair for this potentially dangerous issue.
4) Insurance to Ensure Safety on the Road
Even with ample planning, careful driving, and regular maintenance, things can and will go wrong on the road.
Luckily, there are plenty of RV protection options to back you up in the event you do hit a road block (literally and figuratively!)
At minimum, we always recommend that RVers invest in a comprehensive emergency RV roadside assistance policy before hitting the road. This coverage is inexpensive, but can save you big should you need emergency service while traveling. From unlimited towing to lockout services and flat tire assistance, RV roadside assistance policies will be there to help and pay for some of the most stressful situations you might face while traveling. Check out our option for 24/7 RV roadside coverage here.
Not all breakdowns are emergencies, but that doesn’t mean they won’t cost you. In fact, the average RV repair costs around $300 per hour between parts and labor. Safeguard your wallet from these expenses by investing in an extended RV warranty, which you can learn more about here.
5) Batten Down the Hatches
A surprisingly common cause of RV accidents and damage is forgetting to secure all of your rig’s bells and whistles before hitting the road. Items left loose or extended, like awnings, front steps, and slide-outs, can cause major damage once your RV is in motion. We suggest making a list of items to double check when packing up camp. Getting in the habit of regularly checking these common and easily forgotten points can save you the stress, hassle, cost, and most importantly danger associated with experiencing physical damage to the RV!
A big part of staying safe on the road comes down to routine. Getting in the habit of checking regular maintenance items, safety gear, and the expiration date on your RV coverages will go a long way towards a smooth and stress-free road trip!
What is your #1 rule for safe RVing? Share in the comments section below!