Just kidding. Of course you should RV! But, remember, like old fashioned tent camping, there are a few safety precautions that will make your trip measurably more enjoyable.
Learn to drive to ensure you arrive. Braking, accelerating, and turning in an RV are markedly different experiences than in a car, truck, or SUV. Before your first trip, log plenty of hours trudging down the highway and make sure your RV licensure requirements are met.
Avoid commotion while the vehicle’s in motion. While an RV may have all the comforts of home, your home doesn’t barrel down the highway at 70-miles-per-hour. Stay seated while the RV is moving as bumps, sharp curves, and quick stops can cause more than bangs and bruises.
Seat belts save the lives of husbands, kids, and wives. There’s a reason that the majority of personal-use recreational vehicles are equipped with seatbelts. Whether you’re driving or comfortably lounging by the back window, stay safe by staying strapped.
No roadside service should make you nervous. It may be possible to ensure your towable RV through your vehicle insurance. However, larger recreational vehicles may be required to have separate insurance. Talk with your insurance agent about whether or not you need separate RV insurance or roadside assistance coverage. Consumer Affairs reports that RV insurance offers more comprehensive protection than auto insurance since it is essentially a hybrid home/auto policy.
Travel the nation, but not without a reservation. Never assume that any campground – even those far off the beaten path – will have availability at the drop of a hat. Always make a reservation and, as recommended by travel site Trip Savvy, keep a list of alternative RV parks handy in in case you are delayed and unable to make your arrival time.
Whether the sky is blue or heather, it’s always best to check the weather. You can’t control Mother Nature but you can control whether you face her head on or wait out her wrath. Weather can change quickly so always stay abreast of the current forecast for both where you are and where you’re going. Weather.com and NOAA.gov are helpful if you have access to the internet. Otherwise, pull in at the next rest stop and ask.
Stay well away, or you’ll become the prey. The opportunity to view unspoiled wildlife is one of the biggest benefits of owning an RV. However, the key word here is wild. Any animal that doesn’t come when you call it by name should be left alone. Never approach a wild animal, don’t use your horn to shoo a critter out of the way, and avoid the temptation to use food as a lure so you can get a closer glimpse. The National Parks Conservation Association offers more information on how to appropriately interact with wildlife here.
If it’s s’mores you aspire, be careful with your fire. Even if you have a fire pit or grill, always practice proper fire safety. The USDA Forest Service suggests clearing a 10-foot circle of bare dirt before lighting even a small fire. Remember, you may be held liable for any damages that result from your negligence.
Sleep tight, pack it right. Your RV might feel huge when sitting in the driveway, but it really has very limited space. Be selective when packing and don’t over stock your fridge or pantry. Wait until you’re close to your destination before filling your water reserve tank and invest in a small toolset specifically for the road. Don’t forget to pack your camera and appropriate clothing.
An ounce of preparation can make your vacation. So, get to know your vehicle, invest in the proper insurance, keep your eye to the sky, stay safe, and pack to perfection.