Tips For Driving (or Towing) Your RV Safely

Whether you have a Class C, Class A, or are towing your camper around the state (or country), these safe driving tips can help you prevent an accident and damage to your RV. Before going on a trip, make sure your insurance is up-to-date and that you have adequate coverage. Feel free to contact us to review your policy and ensure it still meets your needs. 

To prevent accidents in your RV, follow these driving tips:

LOAD CAPACITY

It is important in such a large vehicle to ensure that you are not going over the manufacturer's recommended weight capacity—for the RV as well as the payload of your vehicle if you have a towable. Overloaded RVs are more prone to accidents or system failures. Common things people often forget to include in their gross weight and payload calculations:

  • Filled Water Tanks
  • Luggage
  • Sporting Equipment
  • Passengers
  • Pets
  • Hitch
  • Propane

Install a Camera and tow mirrors

Driving an RV, whether it is a motorhome or towable, is no easy feat and requires more concentration than when driving a car. Back-up cameras can help make maneuvering your RV easier and avoid common accidents. 

Towing mirrors on your truck can make a significant difference in monitoring traffic flowing around you and your towable RV. 

Wide Turns

Ever see a semi turn right from the left lane? That’s because it is long and wide, so its turns need to be long and wide as well. Your RV may not be as big as a semi, but the same concept is present. Whether you are making a left turn or a right, remember to turn wide to avoid clipping the curb, another car, or an object on the corner (like a hydrant). 

Driving Distance

As in the example above, an RV differs from driving a car. Aside from turns, your driving distance (the space between you and the vehicle in front of you) should be double the state’s legal recommendation. In Florida, it’s the “Three Second Rule”; you should be at least three seconds (although 4-5 is better) behind the car in front of you. Meaning it should take three seconds to pass an object after the car ahead of you has passed it. So, in an RV you should keep at a minimum six seconds behind, although 8-10 seconds is best.

By practicing this, you can help ensure you have plenty of room to come to a stop if need be.

Braking

When you leave ample space between you and the car in front of you, you allow adequate time to bring your RV to a complete stop safely. RVs are large, long, heavy vehicles and require a larger distance to slow down or stop. Sudden stops or slamming your brakes should be avoided at all costs as it can cause you to lose control of the RV. You should also downshift when braking to allow the engine to do the brunt force of the work and limit wear to the brake lines and tires. If you are towing, trailer brakes can greatly help when needing to stop or go slowly downhill.

Lane Position

Again, the RV is much wider than a vehicle, so it has less “wiggle” room within a lane. Check your mirrors frequently to ensure you haven’t drifted over the line or onto the shoulder. Until you get comfortable driving the RV, it is best to stay in the far right lane. Not only is this the lane designated for slower drivers, but it keeps cars and other vehicles to watch for on only one side. 

Parking

It's difficult to see the lines marking a parking space from inside of an RV. When needed, have a passenger act as a spotter or park towards the back of the lot where there are fewer cars and you can easily pull through and take up two spots to avoid hanging into the driving lane. 

Bridges

This is more about going under them than over them. Be very aware of the height of your RV (don't forget to include the height with the air conditioner!) and which bridge clearance levels you can make. Invest in an RV-specific GPS app or device. They are specially programmed to note low bridges and provide routes that avoid them based on your RV's dimensions. 

Mountains/High-Grade Roads

Whether going up or down hilly or mountainous roads, take it slow. Also, keep to the right! This allows more impatient drivers to pass and keep from distracting you. Select areas, especially mountain regions, may have pullover lanes to allow slower vehicles to pull over on to allow faster vehicles to pass safely. Many of these also have "runaway lanes" that allow large vehicles like semis and RVs to pull off on in an emergency (like going too fast downhill). 

Gas Stations

Mind your size! Avoid trying to stop at small or regular sized gas stations and look for designated truck stops. These gas stations are built around larger model vehicles, compensating pump placement and lanes to accommodate the wider turns and size of the vehicles that visit truck stops. 

Speak With A Licensed RV Insurance Agent

Speak with an independently licensed RV and travel trailer insurance agent to see how you can save on your towable's or driveable RV's insurance policy. 

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