With borders closed for non-essential travel and cottage rentals booked solid, many Canadians have taken to the open road for their summer vacation. Used RV and trailer sales have taken off as urban dwellers look to road trips to escape the condo and scratch that family vacation itch.
The RV community is a helpful and friendly group. Most owners listing their RV, fifth wheel, trailer or camper will try their best to pass on some basic safety tips and tricks. But along with that experience and wisdom, can pass decades of bad habits. Inexperienced RV owners have hard lessons to learn that may cost them, their family and every other driver on the road.
RV driver safety classes are always a good idea. An RV, fifth wheel, trailer or camper is not your family car. It's a home on wheels with all the bells and whistles. It's also a heavy sophisticated vehicle that out classes all others save transport trucks in terms of weight and size. Your decades of driving experience in your Honda or Jeep mean little in that RV. Every RV'r needs to know how to complete a full circle check, safe highway operation behind that wheel, how to adjust and use those mirrors, safe turning techniques, tire safety and RV care and maintenance.
Just What Do Newbie RV'rs Not Know?
1. Size Matters. The height of your RV will be a big problem when you don't have enough clearance for that bridge. Some navigation apps can help but not all are up to the task. Rely on your knowledge of the exact height of your RV and not your smart phone. Gas up at truck stops with dedicated higher clearance at the pumps and fellow drivers who know to give you the room you need. Say goodbye to drive through windows, hotel and motel porte-cocheres or covered entrance ways and learn to park that RV in safety before grabbing your food or checking in for the night;
2. Life Is Slow Out Here. Slow down, slow down and slow down. RV and trailer tires aren't rated for high speed. Your new wheels are specifically rated for slower speed. Your trailer should never be smoking down the fast lane of the 401 passing truckers left and right. Leave enough stopping space between you and the car in front of you. Don't ride the bumper of that little hatchback. You'll never stop your big RV or rig in time when traffic stops suddenly. Drive safe, drive slow and drive in control in the slow lane of life;
3.Where the Rubber Meets the Road. Your life depends on your tires. Monitor and maintain those wheels. Tire pressure over and under is dangerous. Invest in highly rated and recommended tire pressure monitors. A tire blow out will happen. Understand it will be much more difficult and frightening to wrestle that large vehicle to the side of the road. Pack a full safety kit including a reflective high vis vest, markers and reflectors. Know when it is not safe to leave that vehicle and change that tire on your own. Consider membership in an established and well regarded RV club that includes roadside service, tire change and towing. While we hope for the best, experienced RV'rs know to expect the worst;
4.Tow Trouble. Your truck must be properly rated to pull the trailer you are towing. Ensure your truck is large enough to safely haul that trailer. Tiny smart cars and compacts should never haul big trailers. Your tow vehicle has to be powerful enough to stop the momentum of that rig. Your tow vehicle must also be maintained and serviced in safety;
5. Drowsy Driving. Long hours on the road, especially when your co-pilot plays navigator only and isn't comfortable behind the wheel, can result in deadly crashes. Stop at rest stops and do another circle check. Take a break. Remember why you bought that RV in the first place. This is a vacation darn it. Not a race. Falling asleep behind that wheel will end that vacation in tragedy; and
6. Distracted Driving. RV drivers can't enjoy the sights and rubberneck like their passengers. Keep your eyes on the road and on the traffic in front of you. Bored screaming kids and sniping teenagers in the back seats are a real threat to everyone's safety and sanity. A lifetime of bad driving habits in your car will kill you in that RV. Your smart phone, GPS, and walkie talkies tethering you to your buddies in the RV behind you, will take your eyes and attention from your one job. Make driving that RV or towing that trailer your only job.
If You've Been Injured By an RV'r?
If you have been seriously injured in a car crash and suspect the RV'r or camper driver was a rookie and inexperienced behind the wheel, let the investigating officer and the collision reporting centre know. Get the medical care you need for your injuries. Then call an experienced injury lawyer.
Green, inexperienced RV'rs have flocked to our highways and roads this summer. They will probably keep truckin' well into the Fall. Their need for me time and their family road trip should never, ever compromise your safety on our roads.
Call your experienced local injury lawyer and find out where you stand.
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