RV camping is a way of life. Time slows down and scenic destinations become home. As you fill your weekends with plans to hit the road this summer, don’t forget these RV safety tips for a safer, more relaxing trip.
Become the master of driving your RV
Driving an RV comes with many new challenges. Reduced visibility, height restrictions, and route planning are just a few of the obstacles RV drivers face on the road.
1. Make sure your route is RV-friendly. Consider using an RV-specific GPS device or a Trucker Atlas to avoid low bridges and other restrictions on your route.
2. Give yourself plenty of room when making a turn. Whether you’re driving a motorhome or towing a trailer you will need to pull farther forward before starting your turn. Take time to practice making turns and backing up before your big trip. A big, empty parking lot is a great place to test how your RV makes a tight turn.
3. Write down the height of your RV. Secure a notecard with your RV’s exact height and weight onto your dashboard. As you drive, pay attention to the clearance signs posted on most overpasses. Keep in mind some gas station and restaurant drive-thru canopies may be shorter than your RV.
4. Check your state’s license requirements. Some states require special non-commercial licenses for driving certain classes of RVs.
5. Be aware of traffic conditions on your route. Avoid delays on your trip by checking traffic and construction updates. There are several free apps and websites that provide real-time traffic updates.
6. Take an RV driving course. Before you get behind the wheel of your RV this year, check out one of the many websites devoted to RV safety, like the RV Driving School Website, for driving classes.
Include safety essentials on your RV packing list
The freedom and autonomy of RV camping means you need to prepare (and pack) for the unexpected.
7. Don’t forget to include these safety items on your RV packing list:
- First-aid kit
- Fire extinguisher
- Jumper cables
- Duct tape
- Electrical tape
- Motor oil/fluids
- Tire pressure gauge
- Spare batteries
- Battery charger
- Wheel chocks/blocks
- Guide to operating your RV in cold weather
- Campground(s) contact information
- RV registration
- Insurance papers
- Warranty documents
- List of emergency contacts and medications
- Collapsible shovel
- Surge protector and extension cords
- Water bottles
For more RV packing lists check out these free lists from Outdoorsy.
Encourage child safety in your RV
It’s important to know the safety features your RV may or may not have available.
You will also want to research RV car seat laws in your state and the state(s) you’re traveling to during your trip. You can view a full list of car seat laws, for each state, from Safe Ride 4 Kids.
While every state has different car seat laws, there are basic child safety rules every family should follow:
8. Ask all passengers to wear a seatbelt. All passengers, especially children, should wear a seatbelt while the vehicle is in motion.
9. Identify the safest riding seats available. Children should always sit in designated, front-facing travel seats, not side-facing seats. If you are traveling with a baby that requires a rear-facing car seat, look in your RV’s owner’s manual on where is the best place to secure the car seat. Some RV’s may not have proper mounting for a rear-facing car seat so it may be best to also drive a vehicle for children requiring a car seat.
10. Make sure seating areas are free of large items. Children should never ride in an area where appliances or furniture could fall or unbolt in the event of a collision.
Get RV insurance specific to your RV and travel plans
11. Talk with your local, independent agent about RV insurance. Adding an RV to an existing policy is generally an easy process. A few questions your independent agent may discuss with you are:
- What is the year, make, model, type, length and value of the RV?
- How many days per year is the RV used?
- What is the value of the RV’s personal contents?
- Does the RV have extensive modifications?
- Is the RV at an RV park or campground? If so, is it mobile or permanently tied down?
Talk to your local, independent agent to discuss the best way to add your RV to your personal auto policy.
Read: Motorhome & RV Insurance Coverages and Ways to Save