The first time you go on an RV road trip, the last thing you’d probably be thinking of are the things you shouldn’t be doing.
To be fair, there’s something about the introductory drive across the country on a mobile home that tends to make you overlook things. RV guides will tell you that this shouldn’t be, especially concerning safety.
Driving an RV might not require a special license, but it requires skills different from operating a standard vehicle. RVs are typically larger in all aspects, which brings to light some safety issues you should know to reach your destination safely. That said, here’s what to never do when driving or towing an RV.
Don’ts of RV Driving
For your and your passengers’ safety, avoid doing the following when operating a recreational motor home.
1. Drive During Bad Weather
This is kind of a given; then again, you might overestimate your ride’s protective abilities. As robust as your RV is, it’s still vulnerable to the wrath of Mother Nature like everything else. Unlike an actual home that’s rooted to the ground, your RV’s foundations are its wheels, which can skid off the road or get stuck in a deep hole.
Bad weather should be easy enough to avoid for planned trips, but spontaneous travels are another story. In your rush to get everything ready, you could forget to look up the weather in the places you’ll be driving through. Even if you do, nature isn’t exactly known for being predictable, so it won’t be unusual to misjudge.
Strong winds and rain can cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle. Thus, it’s important to stop and take shelter somewhere when you see a storm brewing. If you get caught in one, park your ride and let the storm pass. Consider RV refinancing if you drive in bad weather often.
2. Drive Too Much
Non-stop driving can easily lead to plummeting moods and prickly behavior—for the driver initially and then for the passengers. Not to mention, it can tire the body immensely and put you more at risk of accidents. Thus, drivers should never push far beyond what their bodies and minds can manage.
A good option would be to abide by the 2/2/2 RV rule, whose first two tenets dictate driving no more than 200 miles per day and stopping every two hours.
Whether or not you have poor vision, don’t drive beyond daylight hours if you can help it. Fatigue from driving can make you less alert and prone to hitting a few bumps and potholes on the road. It could also, as easily, result in crashes.
Your cut-off for driving should be mid-afternoon of each day, which gives you more time to relax, recuperate, and even explore your stop.
Planning your trip around this routine should have you arriving at your destination before dark. Specifically, you might be able to get there early enough to pick the best camping spots and set up camp before sundown.
3. Drive Without Considering Overpasses, Bridges, and Tunnels
Before departing on your first road trip, consider your RV’s height and how this would impact your travel route. After all, you’d likely have to drive through tunnels, overpasses, and bridges en route to your destination. If these structures were too low or too weak for your vehicle, it could mean an incredibly long detour or, worse, a canceled trip.
This is how GPS units and apps can be an immense help for first-time RV travelers. In most of these apps, you can enter the vehicle’s dimensions, so you’re matched with the best possible route. That way, you’re able to avoid too-low overpasses or fragile bridges.
Research and plan your route ahead of time to ensure there’s nothing that would keep your vehicle from passing through.
4. Run on Too-Low Fuel
Regular gas stations can’t normally accommodate large RVs, and suitable ones tend to be few and far between when you travel on the road. Thus, gas up as soon as you notice your vehicle running on 1/4 of tank capacity, as it should take you some time to find the right gas station. There are apps you can use to find these locations and others that could be as important, such as checkers, pilots, next exits, flying js, and rest areas.
Continuing to drive when the fuel gauge is nearing empty can be a sign of overconfidence, which doesn’t bode well for you as an RV driver in general. That’s because you’re likely to disregard other don’ts on this list on account of your misplaced belief of being able to wing it.
Take Care of Your RV
Some of us purchase second-hand RVs, which require frequent maintenance. Before taking these recreational motor homes on the road, inspect the engine and other parts that could pose a trouble when in poor condition. Remember, how well you apply the above precautions won’t matter if your vehicle is in bad shape.