How to Stay Safe When RVing

Updated on July 22, 2017
TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

I have traveled extensively throughout the US for many years and enjoy helping people to enjoy their own vacations.

Few people realize just how dangerous the open road can be. For this reason, it's important to do everything possible to protect yourself, your fellow travelers and your vehicles when you take RV vacations.

While you cannot sidestep every issue that might arise during your travels, doing a good job of advanced planning and trip preparation will certainly help you to avoid or at least be reasonably able to deal with many of the problems that may come your way.

Predators, drunk drivers, thieves and scammers are everywhere, and breakdowns can and do happen often. Therefore it's up to you figure out how you will deal with unhappy situations if they should occur.

Tips to help RV travelers stay safe during their vacations.
Tips to help RV travelers stay safe during their vacations. | Source

Drive Defensively

It's extremely important to know how to drive your coach and learn what you need to do to defend yourself when you're on the move.

To prepare yourself you should

  • take an RV driver training course,
  • practice often,
  • test drive your coach prior to any trips and
  • follow safe driving guidelines.

You can avoid many mishaps if you stay within the posted speed limit, are careful when entering or leaving highways, take care when pulling into truck stop fuel islands and avoid driving distractions such as texting or trying to read maps while your RV is in motion.

For inspiration, check out the video I posted here to see how well a large motor home holds up in a head-on crash test!

Take Care of Your Vehicles

Repairing and maintaining vehicles is costly and time consuming. For this reason, many people allow their coaches to fall into disrepair.

When this happens, they are no longer safe to drive.

If you cannot afford to take proper care of your RV or tow vehicle, you need to find some other way to travel because to do otherwise can bring great harm to you, your loved ones and other people as well.

On the other hand, if you take the time to learn how to make minor repairs yourself and check your coach regularly for problems (and fix them quickly), you should be able to safely use your coach for many years.

Practice Safe Camping

Never assume that stopping points, even campgrounds, are totally safe. Many are not.

The world has changed a great deal since the days when people could stay overnight in rest areas or camp in unsecured and unguarded areas.

There is no way to know who is parked beside you or who may want to harm you, so it’s best not to

  • leave your doors and windows open,
  • allow strangers to enter your coach or
  • venture out after dark.

It’s also wise to pay attention to the site you choose because parking next to a wasps nest or on a site that is not level could create real problems for you.

Also, you should make it a point to test campground water before ingesting it.

Always keep your guard up and use common sense if you want to protect yourself and your fellow travelers.

Do whatever is necessary to protect your family and vehicles during RV vacations.
Do whatever is necessary to protect your family and vehicles during RV vacations. | Source

More Safe Camping Tips

When you are inside of a coach, there is only 3 inches of wall protecting you, and it doesn’t take much to shoot a bullet through that wall or break through it.

This is why you should do as follows:

  1. Only stay overnight only in campgrounds or in well populated spots that are monitored regularly such as Walmart parking lots.
  2. Hide your valuables and cash.
  3. If you do not feel safe in your campsite, drive away and find a better situation.
  4. If you hear unusual noises in the night, do not step outside to investigate. Instead call the campground manager or 911.
  5. If you carry a gun, make sure you know how to use it.
  6. Keep windows covered so that outsiders are unable to judge where you are when you're inside of your coach.

Remember that things can be replaced, but people cannot.

Prepare for Potential Problems

One of the best ways to stay safe is to do whatever you can to prepare yourself for potential travel problems.

For example you should always

  1. do a thorough systems and mechanical check of all vehicles you plan to use for your vacation immediately before leaving,
  2. carry equipment that can help you in the event of problems such as road flares, updated fire extinguishers, shovels and rope and
  3. make sure that your load is balanced and your tires are properly inflated

Create an Escape Plan

People often get a false sense of security when they look at their recreational vehicles because they give the impression of being solid and safe.

They aren't.

  • RVs will quickly collapse in front end accidents,
  • many roll over easily due to their high centers of gravity and
  • they can catch fire easily.

Do you know how you would react if any of these things happened to you?

Most people don't, but it's important that they take the time to create escape plans in the event of serious problems like these.

Learn How to Use Emergency RV Exits

Travelers generally pay little attention to those exit windows in an RV, but in a fire or accident emergency, they can save lives.

Always have someone show every person who will be in the coach how to use them, and organize a plan of action in case you need to get out of the unit quickly.

For instance, if you are in the rear of a unit and there is a problem up front, never try to exit using the entry door. Instead use the emergency window to exit your coach.

Always practice doing this before every trip so that you will be familiar with the procedure you need to use to stay safe.

You might also want to invest in a folding escape ladder such as the one we have which is call the Extend and Climb. It takes up little space, but you can connect it to your bedroom window so that you can climb out of your coach rather than jumping out of it in an emergency. Jumping can cause serious injury, especially for older RVers.

Xtend & Climb 770P Aluminum Telescoping Ladder Type II Home Series, 12.5-Foot
Xtend & Climb 770P Aluminum Telescoping Ladder Type II Home Series, 12.5-Foot

A perfect telescoping ladder to help RVers to safely escape in the event of a fire or accident, especially if the rear of their coach sits high off the ground.


RV Travel Safety Is Important

There is nothing in this world as wonderful as taking an RV vacation, but nothing so terrible as having it ruined due to a safety issue.

If you use the methods for protecting your RV travel safety that have been discussed here, you should be well prepared for whatever might come your way.

Do whatever you can to stay safe during your RV trips so that you won't be sorry you went!

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© 2016 Sondra Rochelle


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