Some tips for safe RV driving
Published on July 7, 2023
With summer in full swing, RVs are taking Quebec roads by storm. Are you one of those who like to zip through Quebec in search of the province’s most beautiful spots? Here’s how you can adopt safe RVing habits that will save you a lot of hassle and insurance claims.
An RV in good working order
The first thing you should do is make sure your RV is roadworthy. And that, folks, means regular maintenance. On top of general mechanical maintenance, make sure that lights and headlights are operational and unobstructed. Make sure you’re as visible as possible. Don’t forget your tires—They should be in excellent condition, properly inflated with a minimum groove of 1.6mm or 2/32 inches). Do your mirrors and rearview camera give you a good view of what’s going on behind you? Adjust and clean them, as needed, so your view is crystal clear.
Your RV should also be equipped with a hitch that is installed and used based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. You should also know that if your RV does not have an independent braking system, it should be equipped with a safety device.
Proper towing capacity
Do you tow your car behind your RV? The first thing you should check is its towing capacity. You should factor in not only the total weight of the towed vehicle–see manufacturer’s brochure–but also the weight of your luggage and passengers, including any optional equipment. If your trailer weighs more than 1,300 kilos and exceeds the net weight of the towed vehicle, you must have a braking system installed by a specialist.
Adapt your driving
If it’s raining, hailing or you happen to be in a wooded area, slow down. The weather and animals can quickly turn your perfect vacation into a nightmare. So you should adapt your driving to the weather conditions and the environment you’re driving through.
Rain not only reduces visibility but can cause hydroplaning. The faster you drive on wet roads, the greater the risk of you losing control of your vehicle. If you feel that you’re vehicle is skidding, keep both hands firmly on the steering wheel, ease off the gas pedal and don’t slam on the brakes. If you’re hydroplaning, staying calm and collected is the best way to go.
The wind and other heavy vehicles that overtake you can also cause bumpy driving conditions. Make sure that you’re aware of the other vehicles around you and reduce your driving speed on windy days. Driving on highways isn’t the same as driving on dirt roads either. Stay vigilant at all times, whether it’s on the highway or backroad.
Beware of animals!
We often forget that the forest is a natural habitat for our furry friends. A deer or bear can spring out of nowhere at anytime and make you lose control of your vehicle. Even a porcupine or fox can wreak havoc. Resist the urge to honk so you don’t scare the animal. Slow down and try to drive around it safely. If it’s blocking your path, stop your RV and wait until the coast is clear. Your glaring headlights might blind it temporarily. Give it time to adjust and come to its senses.
And make sure to be extra careful if you’re driving at night. Driving at night affects our reflexes and it’s also the time when animals venture out and are the most active. And don’t let fatigue get the better of you. Find a rest stop if you need to.
The last thing you need while driving down the highway is to hear your dishes crashing in your kitchen. To avoid travel day disasters, there are several options on the market to help you secure your items such as velcro fasteners, straps or wall mounts.
You need to take extra precautions when you’re RVing. All vehicles wider than 2m must be equipped with emergency equipment which means you need at least 3 reflector triangles or flares. You should also have fluorescent garments on hand. It may save your life if you need to stop on the shoulder of the road for a mechanical check. A headlamp can also come in handy if you run into problems at night.
An emergency kit is also a must. You’ll find a host of options at your dealership or online. It should contain everything you need to get you out of a tight spot:
- Tire sealant
- Multipurpose screwdriver
- Glow sticks
- Pair of work gloves
- Survival candles
- Booster cable
- Safety hammer
- Belt cutter
- Tire pressure gauge
- Food and water rations
- Emergency blanket
- Matches or lighter
- Swiss Army knife
When you’re on the road, your RV is no longer a home, but just like any other vehicle. So it’s important that all passengers are properly seated and buckled up to avoid any distractions. If you’re travelling with young children, plan activities such as games, books, colouring and even a movie. Snacks will tide them over until mealtime. As with any other moving vehicle, no cell phone when you’re at the wheel!
If you’re transporting propane tanks for BBQing, they must be compliant and properly secured. You should also know that you’re not authorized to drive through certain tunnels while transporting large quantities of propane or butane. Find out before you plan your itinerary. And don’t leave home without your first aid kit.
In a nutshell, safe RVing is one of the best decisions you’ll make this summer. Make sure you’re aware of your surroundings, the weather conditions and the terrain you’re driving on. With an RV that checks all the boxes, you’ll make your next summer road trip a memorable one.