I am an RV enthusiast with more than 50 years of experience owning, driving, traveling and living in recreational vehicles.
Recreational vehicle accidents occur more often than you think. Learning about them is highly upsetting, but it also serves to warn people about what can happen when things go wrong.
They often happen to RV owners who either did not learn what they needed to know before buying a coach or who did not pay attention while traveling in one. Some, however, are caused by other drivers who
- have these same problems,
- are high on drugs or alcohol or
- are sloppy with their driving habits.
For most people, recreational vehicle vacations are relaxing, safe and enjoyable, but for those who have accidents, they become horror stories.
In this article, you're going to see what happens in real life as the result of the bad decisions and choices some people make.
It isn't pretty, but it's the truth, and you need to see it for yourself.
The Fire Starter
It is common for people who have never driven large vehicles before to purchase a motor home or trailer at an RV dealership, and with little or no training, take it right out onto an interstate.
Some people get lucky, but others don't fare so well, like the man in the story I'm sharing here with you now.
One of the worst stories I have ever heard is about an older gentleman who purchased a shiny, new motor home.
He had never driven a big rig before, but he assumed that doing so wouldn't be much different than driving a van or pickup truck.
As a result, he chose not to take an RV driver training class.
Shortly after heading West for his first big vacation, he pulled into a Flying J truck stop to fuel up. Because his driving skills were so poor, he cut the turn into the pumps too close and hit them.
They caught fire and so did his coach. Both were totally ruined.
Fortunately, neither he nor any other travelers were hurt, and there were no other vehicles at the pumps when this happened.
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He knew enough to get out of the coach at the first sign of fire. If he had not done this, he would have been killed.
I doubt he ever tried to drive a motor home again, and it's a good thing if he didn't!
The Unseen Tree Branch
One of the problems with certain campground owners is that they can be sloppy about trimming tree branches that hang over their roads.
They make the mistaken assumption that people who buy travel units know enough to look up as they drive through RV parks, but many do not.
The problem is that many recreational vehicles these days sit high, so when you put that kind of height together with an overhanging branch, you've got the recipe for problems.
One newbie learned this the hard way.
She was pulling out of a park and, although she was trying to be careful, she forgot to look up.
Even though she was driving slowly, her roof hit a heavy tree branch, and she was unable to stop in time to keep it from doing major damage.
The branch actually curled the front portion of her fifth wheel roof back a few feet, and this also loosened and misplaced the area that was a few feet behind it.
It was a very expensive repair, but she learned an important lesson from it.
Always look up when you are driving in areas where overhangs of any kind are present. This, by the way, includes roofs!
Lessons like these are hard ones, but people can avoid having to learn them if they take an RV Driving Course that is taught by a certified instructor prior to taking their coaches out on the road.
The Driver Who Misjudged Distances
Recently an RV owner was driving comfortably down an interstate highway.
Traffic was minimal, the sun was shining and the road was clear.
As he came up on a slow-moving vehicle, he decided to move into the left lane, speed up and pass it.
Unfortunately, he misjudged his distances.
Instead of staying on the road, he accidentally veered too far to the left and was unable to correct what he had done before his vehicle ran smack into the metal guide fence that had been placed right where he ran off the road.
The entire left side of his coach was destroyed, and the insurance company totaled his unit.
Amazingly, he was not injured, but there's no doubt that he'll take more care when trying to pass vehicles on the highway in the future!
I'm adding a video of the accident here so you can see it for yourself.
Learn From These Stories
Just about anybody who owns a motor home, trailer or camper can tell you a sad tale that will make you think twice about buying a recreational vehicle.
Many who own them have no driver training or fail to practice using them before taking them on trips. When they do this, they are asking for trouble, and quite a few of them find it.
Furthermore, if they don't maintain them properly, they can run into even more problems. For example, not doing a daily check to make sure tires are properly inflated can lead to blowouts and rollovers while driving.
This is such a simple thing to do, but you'd be surprised at how many owners skip this step when traveling.
If you want to protect yourself from having the kind of accidents you've learned about in this article, my best advice is to
- learn to drive an RV before taking it out on the highway,
- maintain it well,
- pay attention to what you're doing when you travel and
- always be aware of what the drivers around you are doing.
RV accidents damage, maim and kill, so you should never assume one won't happen to you.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2015 Sondra Rochelle