RV Safety Tips for Your Next Road Tip
Even the most experienced RV driver knows the importance of planning ahead to ensure a safe trip. If something goes wrong on a journey far from home, your RV dream vacation can easily turn into a nightmare. This is why it is important for RV drivers of all levels of experience to pay attention to vehicle preparation and load distribution, as well as to refresh their knowledge of potential risks an RV may face on the road.
Is Your RV Overweight?
If so, then it will definitely need to lose weight before embarking on the road. Even a slightly overloaded or imbalanced rig can have difficulties braking and steering, and too much weight can cause early failure in tires, brakes, wheels, the drivetrain and other important parts. Not only can this damage your vehicle, but it can also cause higher fuel consumption.
To combat an overloaded RV, first you need to visit a public weigh station and weigh the vehicle while it is fully loaded. Be sure to weigh each axle separately. If the weight is more than the manufacturer’s established limitations for the axle load, tire load or total load, then you will need to unload some of your cargo. In order to get your vehicle’s weight below the GVWR (the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, or maximum load your RV can handle, determined by the manufacturer), remove all of your belongings from the rig and only load the items you truly need. Store heavy items low to the ground, but make sure that they are secured and will not slide into fixed equipment or the water pump. Lightweight items can be stored higher up in order to maintain a low center of gravity.
As with your commuter vehicle, it is important to perform regular maintenance on your RV – not just prior to taking a trip. Before hitting the road, check all of your systems and equipment, and have an experienced RV repair shop give it a second look to make certain you don’t miss any important items that need repairing. Keep your tires to the proper inflation and check that your brakes are adjusted, especially the parking brake. Test that your fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors are working properly and have fresh batteries. Always carry at least two fire extinguishers that are rated at 5BC; one can go in the cockpit and the other should be placed in the galley.
Inspect all of your appliances and their connections. You can check lines for leaks by putting a small amount of soapy water on fittings and looking for bubbles. Check all of your appliance vents to make certain that small animals, such as prairie dogs or birds, have not made their home there. Finally, fill your LP tanks to 80 percent or 90 percent of their volume and confirm that the safety valve is in working order.
Are Your Driving Skills Up to Par?
The majority of RV accidents are the result of operator error, rather than the fault of the RV itself. Besides being conscious of the RV’s size, blind spots and physical limitations, it is also wise to write down the dimensions of the vehicle so as to avoid overhead collisions, side-swiping other vehicles or curb-hopping, among other accidents. When set properly, the side mirrors should show only the rear wheels in the bottom corner and a distance of 30 feet behind the RV. Whenever you stop for fuel, check your tires, oil and battery. When driving, avoid getting into crowds of other drivers whenever possible. If necessary, take a refresher RV safety course or practice driving your RV before leaving town.For RV maintenance and repair, Premier Coach Works is your one stop shop for all of your RV needs.