New RV owners and experienced campers alike need a primer when it comes to driving an RV in snow.
Most of you will winterize and store your RV this winter, waiting for the summer months, but others will be driving south or simply taking advantage of the adventure waiting in the north.
Both of those groups have a chance of encountering snow, and we want to make sure you’re ready if you chance upon an unexpected snowstorm when driving your RV.
Invest in Snow Chains
You should always have a set of snow chains handy when you’re driving your RV in winter weather. If you find yourself stuck in an unexpected storm without those chains, you’re going to be spending a lot of time off the road — probably at a truck stop instead of your destination.
If there’s any silver lining about being stuck at a truck stop, it’s that you’ll be able to gas up your RV. You should always travel with a full tank of gas, but it’s especially important during the winter months when you might encounter a storm. In case you get stranded, you need to have enough fuel to use throughout the night. It's also a great idea to bring along an extra gas tank in case of an emergency.
Drive in Safety-Mode
Driving an RV on icy roads isn’t the same as driving your car. Back when you first got your driver’s license, you probably learned how to regain control of a front-wheel drive vehicle when it starts to skid, but RVs are rear-wheel drive. This makes driving a bit different, so you should take time to familiarize yourself with how it handles.
To keep the RV on the road in icy conditions, you should shut off your exhaust brake on diesel RVs. Otherwise, the back-end of your RV could swerve, putting you in the ditch.
Leave much more space than you normally would between yourself and the car ahead of you. When you start to slide on icy roads in an RV, you should slow down gently.
Use Your Judgement
Finally, some general knowledge for winter drivers in RVs.
Use your low beams because bright lights will reflect back off the snow, further reducing your visibility. And please, be sure to take it slow. Accelerating, braking and steering at a slow and steady pace will minimize any skidding and make the ride safer for all involved.
These safety tips are meant to help you weather the winter roads in your RV, but ultimately, the safest option may be pulling off until the storm passes. Use your best judgement driving your RV in those winter conditions.
Looking for a model that's winter-ready? Check out our recent post on the Open Range 3X.