Tips For Driving Your RV and Avoiding Accidents

First-time RVers are more common on the road today than they have been in recent years. With the rising cost of living, especially in real estate, many homeowners and renters have made the big transition into full-time RV life.

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

Load Capacity/Payload

It is important in such a large vehicle to ensure that you are not going over the manufacture’s recommended weight capacity and your vehicle’s payload capacity. Overloaded RV set-ups are more prone to accidents or system failures. 

Install a Camera

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. 

Wide Turns

Ever see a semi turn right from the left lane? That’s because it is long and wide, so it’s 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 located on the corner (like a hydrant). 

Driving Distance

Like in the example above, an RV greatly 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 4-6 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 five seconds behind, although 6-10 seconds is best.

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. If in the budget, invest in trailer breaks to help improve your braking.

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 one side, making it easier to keep track of them on the road. 

Parking

It can be 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 multiple spots. When you reach your destination, a spotter (or back-up cameras) can also help you back into your designated spot. If you are nervous about backing in, you can always upgrade to a pull-through spot, if they are available to make entering and leaving the park easier.

Bridges

This is more about going under them than over them. Be very aware of the height of your RV and which bridge clearance levels you can make. Invest in an RV-specific GPS app or device. They are specially programmed to take note of low bridges and provide routes that avoid them. 

Mountains/High-Grade Roads

Whether going up or down hilly or mountainous roads, take it slow and, if driving a stick, keep the RV in a lower gear. It is easier to lose control or brake improperly when on roads like these, leading to avoidable accidents. Also, keep to the right! This allows more impatient drivers to pass and keep from distracting you and allows you a shoulder to pull off on in an emergency. Always be sure to double check the routes you plan to take (using satellite views, RV driving apps, or advice from other RVers), as not all high-grade roads are safe for RVs.

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. 

Brandon's Independent Insurance Agents for Florida RV Insurance

Take your time while driving your RV, motorhome, or towing your travel trailer. Keep these driving tips in mind and be sure you have adequate coverage for your RV. Contact an independent insurance agent at Magruder Agency to discuss the all the possible coverage options available and what insurance is required while you travel with (or in) your RV in and out of Florida.  

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