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How to Protect Your Safety During RV Vacations

Updated on April 25, 2017
TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

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

Travel safety is an issue that people don’t like to think about when they are planning their RV vacations, but those who don’t consider its importance might just as well stay home.

There are all sorts of dangers out there and turning a blind eye to them can result in tragedy, so it’s best to at least understand what they are so that you can protect yourself as much as possible.

This is what can happen when you don't check for RV gas leaks
This is what can happen when you don't check for RV gas leaks | Source

Recreational Vehicle Construction Safety

People often get a false sense of security when they look at their travel units because they give the impression of being well constructed, solid and safe.

The truth is that many these vehicles have problems that need to be addressed before taking them on the road.

For example they may

  1. come out of the factory with chassis that already are overloaded,
  2. have poor wheel base ratios,
  3. have tires that may appear to be new but actually have been sitting around for years or
  4. have undetectable and dangerous gas leaks.

Furthermore, crash tests prove that they are not as solid as they appear, and in fact, quickly collapse in front end accidents.

Many also have high centers of gravity which can cause them to roll over easily.

Learning about issues like these can save lives if people take them seriously and take preemptive actions such as

  • making sure fire extinguishers are on board and up to date,
  • using carbon monoxide and propane gas detectors and checking them regularly,
  • weighing RVs at public scales to make sure loads are balanced,
  • learning to read tire ratings and changing tires every five years and
  • buying RVs that are more road stable.

Driving Safety

Thousands of people are injured and killed every year in accidents because many don’t realize that driving a recreational vehicle requires different skill sets than driving other types of vehicles due to the fact that they are bigger, heavier and respond more slowly.

Another reason is that even though you may prepare yourself properly to drive one of these RVs, the other guy may not.

Therefore, you always have to be alert when you are behind the wheel.

Furthermore, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to

  • take a good RV driver training course,
  • practice a lot before you hit the road and
  • choose a coach you will be comfortable driving.
  • test drive your coach prior to any trips,
  • stay within the posted speed limit when driving,
  • be especially careful when entering or leaving highways,
  • take care when pulling into truck stop fuel islands,
  • avoid driving distractions,
  • use a GPS,
  • make a passenger responsible for handling navigation issues and
  • keep a cell phone on board.

Mechanical Safety

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

When this happens, they are no longer safe to drive because doing so can result in accidents.

If you cannot afford to take proper care of your RV, 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.

This is why keeping your coach in top condition should always be your first priority.

National and State Park Safety

Every year tourists are injured or killed simply because they ignored the warning signs in our State and National Parks.

How Safe Is That National Park is an eye opening article that provides facts and figures about this issue and is well worth reading.

Warnings are posted everywhere, but accidents still happen. For example:

  1. People trying to take cool photos at the Grand Canyon 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.
  2. Visitors trying to touch wild animals have been killed or badly injured.
  3. 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.

Things like this happen every year. If you don’t want them to happen to you, take warnings seriously and abide by park rules.

Camping Safety

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 very unlevel site, for example, could create real problems for you.

Also, you should make it a point to test campground water before ingesting it and pay attention to warning signs in state and national parks.

The bottom line is that travelers should never let down their guard and should always use common sense when it comes to protecting their safety.

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

Personal Safety

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.

Health Safety

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.

One of the most important is health.

To protect your health you should

  • carry medical records with you,
  • install and using grab bars beside doorways and shower stalls,
  • be careful when exiting and entering your coach,
  • 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
  • carry a good supply of bottled water and
  • keep EpiPens available if anyone in your party has serious allergies.

It is also a good idea to find out where the closest hospital is located and try to camp as close to it as possible.

RV Exit Safety

Travelers generally pay little attention to those extra 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 door. Instead

  1. kick a window out or use the emergency release on one,
  2. put a dowel in the window to hold it open.
  3. cover the ledge with a blanket or bedspread,
  4. back out of the window, legs first, while hanging onto it with your hands and
  5. lower yourself down until you have to jump the rest of the way.

This method of escape will get you out quickly and safely and keep you from hurting yourself as you go never stop to grab belongings and always practice escaping before you take vacations.

Make RV Travel Safety Your First Priority

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.

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.

As you can see, learning how to protect your safety during RV vacations is important.

Hopefully this article will help you to have a safe and happy travel experience.

Do you think its a good idea to do what is necessary to be safe during your RV trips?

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