RV Safety Tips: How to Keep Yourself Protected on the Road
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RV Safety Tips: How to Keep Yourself Protected
Unless you’ve had an incident on the road or a run in with vandals, you may not have given thought to the level of protection you need while travelling in your RV.
For the most part it’s pretty safe, but given that car accidents take 38,000 American lives every year, it’s worth knowing what you can do to stay safe. Aside from road safety, there are also other things to consider such as rig security, first aid, and severe weather events.
Safety While Driving
This is a pretty broad topic, but let’s start with the basics.
First and foremost, you want to make sure your rig is in good shape before hitting the road. RVs are pretty notorious for needing constant maintenance – all that “shake, rattle, and roll” while on the road can take a toll. RV maintenance involves things like getting an oil change, checking fluids and most importantly, carefully inspecting your tires.
You want to make sure the tread is solid, and the tire pressure is up to par for your rig and tire size. Also, be sure to check that CO2 and fire alarms are working inside your rig and consider adding an on-board fire extinguisher if you don’t have one already. Locate the emergency exit – usually a window – and create a plan with those on board for getting out in case of a fire.
Bonus tip: Look into purchasing a tire protection plan next time you buy tires. We have one through Discount Tire and while it was expensive it is worth it!
If you’re not so handy with the mechanical stuff yourself, be sure to make an appointment to take your RV into a dealer or mechanic for maintenance before heading out on your trip. You can also have them do a maintenance check on your onboard systems such as your refrigerator, furnace, hot water heater, etc. And it is always a good idea to inspect the seals on your slide outs for cracks or any other issues that may mean a leak while you’re on your trip.
If you do find yourself facing a blown tire or other incident on the road, make sure you have an emergency roadside kit that contains reflective cones, flares or something similar. It’s also important to make sure you have quality insurance coverage and roadside assistance for your RV.
Coverages for RVs are different from what you might be used to on a standard automobile. Call and talk to your insurance provider to make sure you have sufficient coverage for a tow truck and damages. Good Sam offers quality insurance and roadside assistance for RV’ers if you are looking for plans.
Another very important consideration is the safety of those who are riding inside the RV with you. Travelling in an RV is fun, especially for kids and teenagers and it is so tempting for them to want to run around or ride in the loft while driving. However, in the event of an accident this could be catastrophic. Children who are car seat age should continue to ride in a car seat in the RV. This can be a little disappointing to young ones, but it does give them a boost to see out the window and enjoy the view! Think of it like an airplane: your seatbelt should be securely fastened while seated, but if you need to get up and use the restroom, do so carefully as there may be turbulence.
A final consideration for RV driving safety: Watch the weather carefully.
The biggest weather safety hazard to RV’s are high winds and snow/ice. You don’t want to find yourself trying to drive through a mountain pass just as an unexpected spring storm comes rolling in. Trust me, I’ve been there and it was scary. We also had to postpone a trip to Texas by several days when the 2021 winter storm hit. Even after you’ve set up camp, it’s wise to keep an eye on the weather. Tornados or strong winds that can down trees are no joke and you may need to seek shelter.
Watch the weather and adjust your schedule accordingly, most campgrounds are pretty flexible when it comes to weather as they understand the hazard. Do not try to push your way through dangerous weather conditions. It will only get someone injured or damage your RV. AccuWeather is a great app for watching the coming weather in various locations so you can plan your travel days accordingly. Weather notifications are sent via the app and watching the radar helps give you an idea of what is coming.
Safety at Camp
Once you have arrived safely and set camp, it’s time to think about safety measures that can be taken to protect you while you are there. If your RV is not equipped with a security system, you may want to look into one for both the cockpit and the cabin. If you’re not looking to spend an arm and a leg, there are plenty of budget friendly options.
For instance, I know a fellow RV’er who tightly loops a chain through the holes in the arm rests of both doors of the cockpit to prevent the doors from being opened. We use a simple $12 magnetic alarm from Amazon on the door to our cabin; it is very loud and gives us some peace of mind. Break-ins do happen, so it’s a good idea to have something in place for when you are away from your rig. It’s also not a bad idea to carry pepper spray, a taser or a firearm for personal protection from vandals and wild animals.
Wildlife is just a part of camping, and where there are people, there is food. Animals like food, especially bears – keeping a container or two of bear spray is a good idea. Be aware of the wildlife in your area and be sure to secure your food properly and dispose of garbage to keep critters from wandering into camp. Many campgrounds will have signage regarding wildlife that frequents the area and what steps to take to keep from drawing them into the campground.
Make sure you consider any health or injury concerns that may come up while you’re out. Be prepared with first aid supplies, any required daily medications and have a plan of action in case someone needs emergency medical help. If camping in a remote location, this is especially important. In an emergency, it may be difficult for an ambulance to reach you and get you the care you need so make a plan to drive to a more accessible spot or have the address of the nearest emergency room on hand. If you don’t have a vehicle you may need to plan to drive your rig to get help. Double check your first aid kit and make sure it is fully stocked with essentials like band-aids, gauze, pain relievers and bite cream.
Final Thoughts About RV Safety
Don’t make safety an afterthought. Taking time to implement these strategies will only add to your peace of mind and your RVing experience.