There’s a lot to love about the RV life. You get to immerse yourself in nature and bring the comforts of home with you. If you’re someone who’s interested in renting an RV, it’s important to make sure you do so safely. This list of RV driving tips will tell you everything you need to know when it comes to safe, smart RV renting.
Why Does RV Safety Matter?
Safety is a concern whenever you’re behind the wheel, especially when you’re driving a vehicle you aren’t familiar with. It’s important to take time to get comfortable behind the wheel of a rental RV, as RVs handle differently than cars, trucks, and vans. Sure, there’s a steering wheel and pedals, but it’s a very different beast.
RVs take longer to come to a stop and have a wider turning radius than most non-commercial vehicles. On top of that, RV’s are expensive, so repair costs can get out of hand very quickly in the event of an accident.
RV Safety Tips
The following safety tips are easy to follow and will keep you and your family safe on the road in your rented RV.
Practice Before Hitting the Open Road
Practice makes perfect. Think about it — you had to practice before you got comfortable behind the wheel of a car, so why should learning to drive an RV be any different?
You don’t need a specialized license to drive an RV, so it’s up to you to practice before going on your trip. We suggest finding an open parking lot and finding out how to operate the RV before getting onto the highway.
Don’t worry — it’s easy to get a hang of. Once you adjust to the way an RV handles, you’ll be ready to drive it safely. Keep in mind that RV driving is unfamiliar to most people and can feel awkward in the beginning.
Watch for Weather
Wind, snow, and rain are big nuisances when you’re driving an RV. You’ll want to take a look at the weather ahead of time to make sure it lines up with your plans. Since RV’ing can turn into an outdoor activity, you should probably plan on checking the weather regardless.
If you’re driving along and feel the rear of your RV start to skid around, it’s best to pull over and wait it out. Prioritizing safety is always a good idea when you’re driving an RV.
Often, the extra weight of the RV makes handling more difficult in inclement weather. Avoid bad weather whenever you can to ensure a safe, enjoyable trip.
Don’t Drive When You’re Tired
Taking breaks when you’re tired is one of the best safety tips we can offer. Tired driving can heavily impair your reaction time and judgment behind the wheel.
With a vehicle as heavy and expensive as an RV, you’ll want to be fully alert whenever you’re behind the wheel. There’s nothing wrong with pulling over and finding a safe place to rest your eyes for a second if you start to get tired. Alternatively, see if someone else in the RV (who has also taken the time to learn how to drive it) can take over for a bit.
Practicing Safe Turning with Size and Weight in Mind
Turning in an RV is very different from turning in a normal car. Many cars can handle turns at a relatively high speeds without issues. RVs, however, are much longer, heavier, and wider than the average car. This means that you’ll have to reduce your speed significantly when turning.
When you’re learning how to drive an RV, be sure to focus on turning. This will help you gauge what speed you can go and how far you can turn the wheel safely. Never take a turn too fast — this is a relaxing vacation, not a NASCAR race!
Know the RV’s Height
Not only are RV’s long, heavy, and wide — they’re tall, too. You should find out the RV’s height and put it on a sticky note right next to the speedometer on your dash. It needs to be somewhere you can quickly reference.
The height in the owner’s manual doesn’t necessarily tell you your RV’s height. Even if it does, there can be antennas at the top of the rig that add extra height.
Why does it matter? Underpasses are made to a certain passable height. If your RV is too tall, you’ll smash into the underpass and damage the RV. The same is true for low-hanging branches and wires along the road.
As you approach a low-clearance section of road, keep an eye out for yellow diamond signs that have the clearance height posted. If the posted height is shorter than your RV, you’ll need to find another route.
Give Yourself Lots of Room
The most important tip we can give you is to give yourself plenty of room on the road. It’s hard to gauge how much room you’re taking up as you drive along, especially when you’re behind the wheel of an unfamiliar vehicle. Always err on the side of caution, especially when there are other cars around.
Driving closer to the shoulder means that cars to your left have more room to get by. One of the most common mistakes that rookie RV’ers make is assuming they know how big their vehicle is. You don’t want to find out the hard way that your RV is wider or longer than you thought.
Safe Trips are the Most Fun
Don’t forget that RV’ing is all about having fun! Staying safe during the ride will help ensure that you and your family have a great, stress-free trip. Keep our safety tips in mind as you’re renting an RV and you’ll have a great time. If you want to make sure you getthe right rental RV for your trip,reach out to us at Travelcamp.