6 Safety Tips You Need to Know Before Your First RV Trip
Getting ready to set out on your first RV camping trip? Here are six tips for making it a safe and enjoyable one.
Practice driving an RV.
Driving an RV isn’t tricky, but it’s very different from driving a car. Before heading off on your first camping trip, rent an RV to get acclimated to the differences behind the wheel. For example, basic driving skills like accelerating, braking and turning corners all require a different touch in an RV. Also, practice backing up so you won’t have any problems upon arriving at the campsite.
Perform a pre-trip safety check.
Whether it’s your first RV trip or your 100th, always conduct a safety check before hitting the road. Check to make sure:
- Your bay doors are closed and latched
- There are no loose objects inside the RV
- Your tow bar and safety cables are properly secured
- All power, TV, water and sewer lines are disconnected
- All jacks, steps, and awnings are fully retracted
- Oven, stove, and heater burners are turned off
Also, make sure the tires are properly inflated and have no bald spots, cracks in the sidewalls or other deformities that could cause a blowout.
Check the road and weather conditions.
Knowing what the roads and weather are like can help avoid dangerous situations, such as icy roads or high winds. It can also save time and aggravation by going around road constructions or closures. The National Weather Service offers phone numbers and websites for every state. You can find traffic and road closure information at the Federal Highway Administration website.
Know the dimensions of your RV.
To avoid hitting a bridge or overhang, post the height and width of your RV on your dashboard so you don’t have to guess whether you have enough clearance. Keep in mind that the typical RV has a width of 8.5 feet, which is only 1.5 feet narrower than most highway lanes.
Perform an engine maintenance check.
To identify potential problems with the engine, lift up the hood and inspect the following areas:
- Battery: Is the battery casing bulged, discolored or cracked? Are the terminal connectors tight and free of corrosion?
- Fluid levels: Check the engine oil, transmission and coolant levels, keeping an eye out for any signs of fluid leaks.
- Brakes: Give the air, parking and tow brakes a quick test to make sure they are functioning properly.
- Drive belts: Inspect all drive belts for cracks or signs of excessive wear, and to ensure they have the proper tension.
- Filters: Check the fuel, oil and air filters to see if they need replacing.
Have good RV insurance.
In addition to physical damage and bodily injury, your RV policy should also cover roadside service in case of an accident or breakdown. This should include towing your RV. Read the fine print to know how far the service will tow before you incur a fee.
Be safe, have fun, and when your RV needs servicing or repairs, bring it to the professionals at Premier Coach Works’ RV shop.