Recreational vehicle safety means knowing your RV, maintaining it, and using it responsibly. A few safety measures can go a long way. Here are some basics to help protect you and your RV.
1. The safety of your RV rides on its tires. Know how much pressure they should have. Keep them inflated to the level. Besides adding to your safety, the proper tire pressure can increase your fuel mileage.
2. Know your RV’s weight limits. What is its gross vehicle weight rating? What is your rig’s cargo carrying capacity – the weight of things you can safely add? Stay within the limits.
3. Know the height and width of your RV. If you’re not good remembering numbers, make a cheat sheet. Write the measurements on a note card and tape it to your visor. It will be there for easy reference when you need to see if you can safely go through a tunnel or under an overpass.
4. Know where the fire extinguisher is in your RV. Bounce it every few months, have it inspected annually, get it recharged on schedule.
5. Check your smoke alarm. Make sure it has a good battery.
6. Service your house batteries. Make sure they have adequate water.
7. If you have a motorized RV, do (or have someone do for you) regular fluid checks – oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, anti-freeze, window washer solution.
8. Drive safe speeds. The posted speed limit is the fastest allowed speed limit, not the speed you are required to drive.
9. Slow down when road and weather conditions dictate. An RV doesn’t handle the same on a wet or snow covered road as it does on a dry road. Beware of the wind.
10. Recreational vehicle safety demands respecting other vehicles. Watch for motorcycles, as well as the big trucks.
11. Keep passengers seated while the RV is in motion. Everyone is supposed to be wearing a seat belt, according to many state laws.
12. Heat with approved heating appliances. The open flame of the galley range burners is an accident waiting to happen.
13. Keep a window or vent open a little.
14. Stock your RV for emergencies. Take along warm clothes and bedding. Carry enough food to last for a few days.
These are some of the basics of using a recreational vehicle safely. They may seem a bit restrictive. They may up your RVing costs. And, some of them take time and effort. But, the payoff is less worry and an RVing adventure that goes more smoothly. And, they may make the difference in whether or not you have a safe trip.