Must Do Safety Guidelines For Your Next RV Trip
When it comes to RV road trips, safety is always priority #1 – for you, your family, and everyone else on the road. Use the following tips as a safety checklist every time you set forth on an extended RV trip.
Before You Leave
First and foremost, make sure your RV is well maintained and ready to go. This includes:
- Inspecting all belts and hoses for cracking or leaks
- Checking headlights, tires and turn signals
- Making sure your fire extinguisher and smoke alarms are working properly
- Cleaning your cooking vent hood to avoid grease fires
- Checking any hitch or towing equipment
- Check tire air pressure on all tires
In addition, always carry your insurance information in case of an accident.
On the Road
When driving your RV, the most important safety rule is to “see and be seen.” Always use turn your signals. Turn on your headlights during the day. Allow plenty of distance so other vehicles around you can anticipate. Use extra caution when driving on tight, curvy mountain roads.
Other basic safety rules to remember include:
- Don’t exceed your RV’s recommended weight capacity
- Make sure weight is evenly distributed throughout the vehicle
- Always stay in the right lane, except when passing, turning or exiting the highway
- Know how to use your mirrors to avoid the blind spots that can occur with large RVs
- Make sure all heavy items, especially propane tanks and other items with hazardous materials, are properly stowed and secured
- Follow the “20% Rule.” Because large RVs take longer to come to a full stop compared to cars, add 20 percent to your following distance and side clearance when merging into traffic
- Carry plenty of tools for emergencies, including flashlight, jumper cables, flares, wrenches, screwdrivers, tire repair kit, and duct tape
Know the “Rules of the Road” for the State You’re In
RV safety rules and regulations can vary from one state to another. So if your trip takes you through multiple states, it’s important to know and understand the specific rules of the state you’re driving through at any given time.
For example, some states require only passengers in the front seats to wear seat belts. Other states require everyone to wear a seat belt at all times when the RV is on the road. Regardless of state regulations in this area, wearing a seatbelt is always the safer way to travel.
States may also have different towing safety requirements, so make sure you know which rules apply to your RV. Also, depending on the size and type of your RV, some states may require you to carry safety gear such as safety chains, a breakaway switch, and trailer breaks.
As an RV owner and driver, safety is your responsibility. Taking the time to educate yourself about how to properly drive and operate your RV will make the road a safer place for everyone.