Whether you are a first time RV user and want to see if the lifestyle is for you, or you have bought a motorhome and want to hit the road full time it is important that you keep safety in mind at all times. To make sure that you and your family stay safe when your wheels hit the road, here are a few things to keep in mind from essential RV parts and accessories to general tips:
Perform A Safety Check Before You Depart
No matter how experienced you are, having a safety check before you leave is one of the most efficient ways to prevent accidents. Since many accidents are caused by simply forgetting something, such as leaving steps attached or a hatch unlocked, taking a step-by-step approach will help stop common oversights:
Check your tire pressure before every trip, and examine your tire tread for any wear and tear.
Check batteries for any smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Do a brake test for both your parking brake and air brakes.
Check for fluid leaks under your RV or motorhome.
Make sure you have RV leveling pads.
Check your jacks and hydraulic jack.
Examine your oil and other fluid levels.
Disconnect all of your water, sewer, electricity, phone, and TV attachments.
Check your safety cables.
Make sure all doors are latched closed.
Make sure no burners are turned on, including the oven.
Take Corners Using The SAFE Method
Driving an RV or motorhome is not the same as driving a standard car, truck, or SUV especially when you go around corners. Due to the RV’s extra height and weight, it is recommended that you take corners using the SAFE method:
Slow down before the turn. Don’t try to slow down while in the turn. Slow down first then accelerate while turning.
Arc into the turn. Because your vehicle is longer you need to arc into your turns, but be careful with your signal lights so you do not confuse traffic behind you.
Finish your turns fully. Make sure that the rear of your RV or motorhome is past the pivot point before you straighten out.
Experience matters. The more you drive your RV, the better you are going to be. Don’t give up and keep practicing.
Use Proper RV Leveling Pads When Parked
Making sure your RV is level not only keeps you and your belongings from rolling around, it is necessary for things like an absorption refrigerator to work properly. To keep your RV level it is ideal to use a high quality synthetic RV leveling jackpad or level pads for your wheels. Without pads for your jack or wheels you could sink into the ground and get stuck, and wooden pads can break and splinter or cause damage to your tires.
Synthetic outrigger pads or RV leveling pads should be considered essential RV parts and accessories because they are as strong as steel to support even the largest RVs, they are light weight so they are easy to use, and they last for years and years without any signs of wear and tear.
Be Aware Of Your Height and Width
An extremely common RV accident is due to not remembering how tall your vehicle is. While it seems like a simple thing, hundreds of accidents happen due to this every year with RVs hitting bridges or an overhang. A great way to stay reminded of the height of your RV is to simply write it down on a sticky note or piece of paper and tape it to the dashboard. Every time you see a clearance sign you can glance down at the dash and make sure your motorhome will fit as a safety check.
You should also keep in mind that most RVs are much wider than a traditional car or truck. Many RVs are at least 8.5 feet wide, only 1.5 feet thinner than a 10 foot highway. On a traditional road that gives you less than a foot of room on either side of your RV so make sure you take extra care in traffic or on single lane bridges.