Driving a recreational vehicle isn’t exactly like being at the helm of a freight train, but it’s certainly nothing like driving a sports coupe, either – or even a big old pickup truck, for that matter. There’s nothing quite as “American” as taking an extended RV vacation. If cruising from coast to coast in a recreational vehicle sounds like your idea of a fun time, then you’re going to want to read up on some safety tips before you head out.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are five key tips to piloting an RV safely:
This doesn’t just mean that you should keep your eyes open behind the wheel at all times – that much is a given. What it does mean, however, is that you should make full use of your mirrors, both rearview and side-view, to see as much as possible of the road and traffic conditions around you.
RVs are much, much heavier than your average car, and as a result, they can take a long time to come to a complete stop after you’ve applied the brake. This is easy enough to master if you had the road all to yourself. Alas, you don’t. Keeping a safe following distance behind others may help prevent you from having to stop that rolling mammoth on a dime.
In tire-talk, “love” means air and attention. But, when you’re driving an RV, it’s important to check your tires each and every time you head out on a major leg of your trip. With the weight your RV tires are carrying, your safety depends on them being properly inflated at all times. Get yourself a good quality tire pressure gauge and know exactly how much pressure your tires should have, then check them regularly.
In a vehicle as big as an RV, there’s lots of room to put stuff. But you can’t just go about haphazardly adding weight without potentially impacting your RV’s center of gravity. Always secure heavy objects down. The last thing you want is for something heavy to shift suddenly while you’re cruising along at 55 mph.
Driving what is most often the biggest thing on the road can lull you into a false sense of security. But, the fact is you can get seriously hurt in an RV accident if you’re not securely buckled in. As a rule, enforce strict seat belt use for every passenger when you’re on the road.
In addition to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s advice on things to do and not to do when you’re behind the wheel of an RV, here are a few bonus tips to keep at the forefront of your mind while tooling around the country in that monster rec vehicle of yours.
Now that you’re well schooled on how to drive an RV safely, be sure to review your motor home insurance policy to make sure you’re full covered for any eventuality. With motor home insurance, you can get a variety of options, including bodily injury and property liability, collision, contents coverage, personal injury protection and even coverage for your expensive sound system. Most insurance companies will also give you the opportunity to secure roadside assistance, towing and labor costs coverage.