Generally, folks traveling by RV travel short distances each day (150-350 miles), make frequent stops to stretch and sight see. Stopping along pullouts, rest areas, and places of interest help to make the most of your trips. Since driver fatigue is the number one cause of RV related accidents, you may want to remember the following guidelines the next time you head out on the open road.
#1 Driving Safety Tips
Change Drivers Frequently
If you are traveling with your spouse or travel partner, make sure you switch off often to ensure you’re only behind the wheel when well rested. If you don’t like driving at night, arrange your schedule so you only travel during the day time.
While eating does help you stay awake, it can add extra calories to your diet since your sitting the majority of the time. Chewing gum accomplishes the same thing but without the weight gain.
Don’t Take Medication
Some medications cause mild to severe drowsiness and often will make you extremely tired. Also, avoid mixing medications which can also have adverse affects, and impair your driving ability.
Recognize Signs Of Drowsiness
Yawning and heavy eye-lids are two of the most common signs of drowsiness. If you experience these, stop your vehicle as soon as you can and switch drivers. If you’re traveling along an interstate, pull off at the next exit, or better yet a truck stop or rest area. Walk for a bit or take a cat nap. Making frequent stops will help with drowsiness.
#2 Tire Safety Tips
Since tires are one of the most important parts on your RV and your tow vehicle, learning about the proper care for them can mean the difference between a memorable vacation or one filled with anxiety. While more RV tires have a life span of 4-5 years, always be sure to check the sidewalls for any signs of cracking.
If you particular unit has dual tires, its best to consider spending money on a high quality set of valve extenders. Once installed (which you can do yourself) it will make it a lot easier to reach the tire valves on the inside tires on a dual system. One end fits onto the valve, and then the hose gets clamped onto the hub of the wheel giving you easier access when reading and increasing tire pressure. Also, since checking your tires at a gas station can be a bit awkward, you may consider carrying an on board air compressor.
#3 Braking Tips
One of the commonly overlooked safety items on an RV is the brake system. Most people don’t realize how important their brakes are until they don’t work!
All brake systems should be routinely checked and tested. This is especially true after driving through water. While driving in wet conditions, apply pressure to the brakes (brake, release, brake, release…) until you have safely stopped your vehicle. If you have an automatic transmission, you can avoid going into a skid if you shift to neutral. Once the wheels grip the road you can then shift to drive and begin to maintain a safe speed.
Don’t brake and turn at the same time: While turning, momentarily take your foot off of the brake.
Most vehicles are now equipped with an anti-lock braking system which automatically goes through a repeated brake-release actions as soon as the brake is depressed which eliminates the need for pumping the brake.
3 Main Types Of Braking In Good Road Conditions
1. Threshold Braking: this is when you press as hard as you can on the brakes without locking them up or skidding the tires. Release brake pressure if the wheels lock and then re-apply without pumping the brakes. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use your toes to apply a firm, yet steady pressure on the pedal just shy of locking up.
2. Steer Around An Object: Use the threshold braking method above, and then steer to the left or right. If you are attempting to enter another lane, make sure there is a clear path before proceeding. While this may sound like common sense, many new RV owners forget they are in an RV and not a car!
3. Four Wheel Lock Braking: You’ll use this method mainly when you need to stop quickly. Press the brake as hard as you can and hold it down until you lock the brakes. While this is the fastest way to stop, with locked brakes the vehicle will continue in a forward direction and you will have no steering capabilities.
Common, Yet Not So Commonly Practiced Points To Remember:
While RV owners don’t require any special license to operate one at this time, make sure you are up to date on safety regulations, and keep yourself educated by doing your own training and be sure to practice, practice, practice!