RV Safety Tips

Edited by Admin
RV Safety Tips

RV Safety: On the Road

An RV strikes an ideal balance between roughing it in the great outdoors, and having all the comforts of home. No wonder there are more than one million RVs on the road in Canada! An RV allows you both freedom and flexibility for your journey, and there are options to suit nearly every budget, from renting to owning a luxury model. If you’re new to RVing, though, there are a few things you can do to make your initial trips more enjoyable.

Learning to drive an RV can involve a bit of a learning curve. It’s recommended that you plan some short trips with your new RV first. Like rehearsals, taking short trips will give you the practice you need for the main event.

RV Driving Challenges

Some of the skills that you’ll need to master are:

  • Braking. An RV is very heavy. This means that you’ll need more time to brake than you’re currently used to. Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you, and pay close attention to any signs of trouble on the road ahead.
  • Parking. If you’re towing your RV, remember that when you back up, the trailer will turn in the opposite direction of your steering wheel. Try to avoid parking in tight spots, as it can be frustrating to make your RV fit properly. If you have trouble parking with just the use of your mirrors, don’t be afraid to ask someone to spot for you; it’s common practice with RVing. And of course, take your time!
  • Lane Position. At first it can be difficult to gauge how close to the shoulder your RV is. Use the mirrors to make sure your back tires are within the parameters of the lane markers. It’s best to stay in the right lane at first, so that you’ll only have to worry about how close you are to the traffic to the left of you.
  • Turning. RVs are long and wide. A good rule of thumb when making turns is to stay close to the centre line. Take your time and make sure that your turn is safe until you get used to where you’ll need to position the vehicle.
  • Mountains and Steep Hills. Keep the vehicle in low gear for both going up and coming down steep grades. Keep to the right lane, and don’t worry about other vehicles passing you. Be careful as you are coming downhill that the RV doesn’t pick up too much speed.
  • Bridge Clearance. First-time RV drivers often forget how high their vehicle is. Plan your route ahead of time and ensure that your RV will fit!
  • Filling Up. It’s best to put gas into your RV at truck stops, rather than standard gas stations. A truck stop gives you enough room to maneuver.

Stocking the RV

As well, you might not know exactly what you’ll need until you’ve had a trip or two to refine your packing list. There are a lot of things to pack for a longer trip, and it can be a bit overwhelming to try to do it all at once. Think of the various types of things you might need on the trip, and make separate lists. Remember to leave room for tools that will be useful if the RV needs a tune-up. You’ll also need to take clothing and footwear appropriate for various types of weather. In Canada the summer skies can be unpredictable, so don’t forget your raincoat. And be sure to take some warmer options like fleeces, woollen socks, and even toques for chilly mornings. But bring the swimsuit, sunhat, and flip-flops, too, of course!

You may want to keep second sets of dishes, cutlery, pots and pans, and kitchen equipment in the RV, rather than moving things back and forth. Buy cleaning supplies that can stay in the RV, too, and you’ll cut down on your packing time even more. Food, of course, should be one of the last things to go into the RV; one thing to remember is that you should plug the refrigerator in the day before you start filling it in order to make sure that it’s cool enough.

Keep a checklist handy, and make sure that everything you need goes in. Packing medications and first aid supplies can be particularly important. Also make sure that you have sunscreen and insect repellent, as well as toiletries like soap, toothpaste, shampoo, and deodorant. Bring enough bedding to ensure that you won’t be cold if the weather is inclement. And bring comfortable pillows, too. If you plan to hike, take hiking boots and a small backpack, along with back country supplies like water purifying tablets and a utility knife.

Take it slow and easy, and you’ll be a veteran RV-er in no time!