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How to Put Safety First When RVing

Updated on March 18, 2017

There are good reasons why “safety first” should be the mantra of every person who owns and travels in a recreational vehicle.

The world has changed a great deal since the days when people could stay overnight in rest areas, camp in unsecured and unguarded areas or drink water directly from mountain streams without worrying about encountering problems.

Also, we have learned through sad experience about the dangers that lurk within every RV such as

  • the ease with which a fire can start,
  • how an imbalanced load can cause a roll over and
  • how leaks from propane tanks can threaten our lives.

As a result, we need to always be vigilant, follow clear cut safety standards, keep our travel units in top condition and use whatever tools we have to make sure that we are as safe as possible either when we are in our recreational vehicles.

Making regular checks for gas leaks can help to avoid RV fires.
Making regular checks for gas leaks can help to avoid RV fires. | Source

RV Travelers Should Never Assume That They Are Safe

For some reason, people seem to think they are as safe in recreational vehicles as they are in their homes.

They aren’t.

When you are inside of a coach, there is only 3 inches of wall protecting you from human predators and wild animals.

It doesn’t take much to

  1. shoot a bullet through that wall
  2. have a bear claw smash through it or
  3. become the victim of a break-in.

RVers who wish to protect themselves and their equipment need to be aware of this fact and do all they can to put safety first when they're on the road.

The advice that follows can help them to do this.

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

Develop an Exit Plan for Emergencies

Travelers generally pay little attention to those extra exit windows in an RV, but in an 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 door. Instead

  1. kick a window out or use the emergency release on one,
  2. back out of the window while hanging onto the ledge with your hands and
  3. lower yourself down until you have to jump the rest of the way.

This will get you out quickly and safely and keep you from hurting yourself as you go.

Never stop to grab belongings. Just go!

Protect Your Health

There are many types of emergencies you may have to deal with while traveling, so you need to be as prepared as possible for what may come.

To protect your health you should

  1. install and using grab bars beside doorways and shower stalls,
  2. make sure you have a first aid kit that includes all of your prescription medications as well as items such as snake bite kits and water purification tablets and carrying a good supply of bottled water on board and
  3. keep EpiPens available if anyone in your party has serious allergies.

Be Proactive When It Comes to Travel Safety

It is also extremely important to take the types of preemptive action that can protect travelers and their equipment.

Among other things,

  • keep fire extinguishers on hand and make sure all travelers know how to use them,
  • stay within the posted speed limit when driving,
  • avoid driving distractions,
  • use a GPS,
  • keep a cell phone on board,
  • keep windows and doors locked when you are inside of your coach or automobile,
  • lock doors when leaving your RV unattended even for just a few minutes,
  • avoid staying overnight in unsecured areas,
  • never try to fight a fire; if one starts, get out immediately,
  • never stay overnight in rest areas,
  • never allow strangers to enter your coach,
  • only use campsites that are located away from stinging insects or other types of hazards and
  • keep food in sealed containers inside of your RV and make sure it is OK to eat.

Obey Warning Signs

People often endanger themselves during their RV trips because many of them are city people who don't understand that nature, while beautiful and exciting, can also be a killer.

At the very least, it can make them miserable. A good case of chigger bites or poison ivy can create really uncomfortable problems for campers who didn't take the time to find out where to walk and what not to touch.

Also, every year, many people are mauled, gored and killed in our National and State Parks because they ignored the warning signs that were posted there.

  1. People trying to take cool photos at the Grand Canyon, for instance, climbed over the guard rails, stepped back too far to get a good shot, slipped and fell backwards into the canyon. It’s been littered for years with their remains because accessing them is impossible to do.
  2. Visitors trying to touch or photograph wild buffalo or bears have been killed or badly injured for the same reason.
  3. Even those who decided it would be OK to step off of boardwalks in Yellowstone have been badly scalded when they stepped into the boiling waters of geysers.

Those signs are posted to keep tourists safe, but some simply refuse to comply.

Years ago some people were tent camping in an area within Yellowstone known to be a bear habitat. A bear came to their tent, killed them and then dragged their bodies into the woods.

This is one of the reasons that soft sided campers are no longer permitted within the confines of the park.

Things like this happen every year. If you don’t want to have them happen to you, take warnings seriously, research what you can about poisonous plants and insects and abide by park rules.

Safety First Is A Must

There is nothing in this world as wonderful as taking an RV vacation, but nothing so terrible as having it ruined because travelers did not make safety their first priority.

Your life is not worth a few moments of thrills or an attempt to get a really cool photo.

Don’t let your vacation end with an accident or a funeral.

If you carry the right equipment with you, make sure your vehicle is safe to drive and use some common sense with regards to choosing campsites, dealing with wild animals and dangerous areas, you’ll be OK.

Stay safe and be well.

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