RV Safety – Tips to Hit the Road Safely This Summer
Spring is here, and summer is fast approaching—that means that RV season is in full swing. RV’s offers an economical and increasingly popular way to enjoy breathtaking views, relax, and create adventures with amazing memories (and photos!). While RV vacations are full of positives, they, unfortunately, come with a handful of negatives—especially if you don’t adequately prepare for your adventures on the road. To make sure you and your loved ones are safe on the road this year, Jessup Manufacturing has created a list of precautions and an easy checklist to use when preparing for your next trip. Road warriors: take note of these tips, be safe, and have fun! We look forward to seeing photos from your adventures this RV season.
Tip 1: Secure Your RV Interior
It should be understood, but in case you weren’t aware- traveling by RV will be bumpy at times. It is essential to secure your RV interior before you hit the road as well as maintain its cleanliness throughout the trip to ensure you don’t have to deal with breakage during your trip or worse, trip, slip or fall.
If you fail to secure your RV interior, when you arrive at a destination— take time to look around the RV to make sure everything is in the same place as it was when you left. This might seem overwhelming or tedious, but RV’s are not overly big, and this can make a big difference in preventing hazards if you haven’t secured items. For example, you might find:
- Drawers have opened themselves and contents are spilled onto the floor creating a tripping hazard in the RV
- Food falls out of the refrigerator as soon as the door is opened
- Any items left on the countertops are broken on the floor
- Clothing slipped off hangers and is crumpled on the floor of the closet
- Windows previously closed have popped open
Bottom line—secure your RV interior before you take off. Because of the numerous things that can happen during the RV ride, some tips for securing the interior include:
- Close and lock all windows. If you forget to close and lock your RV windows, you could potentially have quite a mess (or thieves) on your hands! Since RV windows tend to stick, the best thing to do is to fashion a dowel cut to the track size of each closed window.
- Move items into closed containers when possible. If they do shift in the cabinets, at least they won’t be spill or spoil.
- Cabinets should be securely shut with door locks. If the cabinets don’t already have locking mechanisms in place, be sure to order some inexpensive child safety locks before your trip and install them into cabinets to prevent them from popping open.
- Balance your load. Overloading is one of the most common reasons for an RV accident because the uneven weight can cause restricted braking and steering. When you properly load and pack your RV, you will notice it will sway less when you drive, offering a more comfortable ride and less opportunity for internal items to shift. Our biggest tip to balancing your load is to consider the weight of all the things already in the RV (appliances, furniture, etc.). Then balance those items out to keep your unit bottom heavy and pack to distribute the weight evenly over the coach’s axles. In doing this, you will be much less likely to overturn because the driver can maintain better control
- Prevent RV slip and fall accidents by installing non-slip treads. Even when the RV is not in motion, it can be easy to lose balance, slip or trip in such a small space. The top areas we see non-slip treads being used inside include:
- Bathing areas: With such a tight space, it is easy for water to get splashed around outside of the shower. Our clients like to use our Flex Track 4100 Fine Grade non-slip tread on the shower floor and right outside the space where the toilet and vanity are located. The vinyl offers a non-abrasive feel to bare feet and is designed explicitly for indoor wet and dry applications making it excellent to use as your RV shower mat.
- Kitchen space: Specifically around the sink area, consider applying a Resilient non-slip tread. Our Safety Track 3500 and Safety Track 3600 are texturized and rubberized non-slip treads. This makes them strong enough to prevent slip and falls in shoes, but also comfortable enough for bare feet.
- Any interior steps: consider adding a Resilient grade non-slip tread on any stair located within the RV. Even with handrails, steps can still become troublesome areas for slips, and a non-slip tread is an excellent inexpensive option to prevent an injury.
Some roads are smooth sailing, but often weather and heavy traffic have created potholes, bumps, and other poor road conditions which can wreak havoc on a vehicle. The vibrations and conditions of the roads make it tricky to keep your items stable as your drive cross country. But if you secure your RV interior properly, issues will be minimized and everyone will enjoy a smoother, safer ride and overall vacation.
Tip 2: Safeguard Your RV Exterior
Ensuring the exterior of the RV is ready to hit the road is just as, if not more, important then the interior. Some of the basics for ensuring the safety of the exterior include having an RV trained mechanic look at it to ensure everything is running correctly. Making sure all moveable parts are in working order, the HVAC and portable generator are ready to go, and the RV battery is fully charged.
Less common items that should be on your checklist for safeguarding the exterior of your RV include:
- Ensure the tires are all the same size and in good condition. Okay, this one should seem like common sense, but tire blows due to under inflation or just worn out is one of the top causes for an RV accident. To keep the coach traveling safe and smooth ensure all tires have good tread and are equally inflated. If one is smaller than another, then the larger tire will be forced to carry more of the weight and be more prone to blow out. A tire blow-out can cause serious damage to the RV, on top of the safety concerns.
- Know the height of your RV. Often will underestimate the height of their RV and hit overhangs and even bridges. Be aware of clearances and use caution.
- Secure the RV exterior steps. Exterior steps are the top cause for several concerns including slip and fall accidents and not being put away from hitting the road again (this goes for awnings too!). To prevent slip and fall accidents on exterior RV steps, consider a non-slip tape of such as Safety Track® 3100 that can provide weatherproof slip resistance.
- Secure the RV every time you park. Wheel chocks are an essential part of RV travel. They should always be used when your RV is parked to prevent it from rolling forward or backward and hitting or rolling over something (or somebody). Wheel chocks are inexpensive, so make sure you always travel with some extras.
Tip 3: Prepare All Travelers for Safety & Fun
Beyond the exterior and interior of the RV, make sure you and your fellow travelers are prepared for the trip. A few quick tips to add to your preparations checklist include:
- Be prepared for an emergency. Have at least one cell phone, and emergency numbers are written down on paper. Also, leave your travel plans with a friend or family member.
- Plan for various weather conditions. Obviously, you plan your trip to avoid bad weather, but just in case be sure you are prepared for winds, rain, fog, or ice. Factor these in to allow for extra traveling time.
- Wear your safety belts and keep kids restrained when the RV is moving. Since laws don’t require RV’s to have safety belts in all areas where passengers can sit, make sure you do a count to ensure enough seat belts are available for everyone. Also, remember that car seats and booster seats are only approved to be used in a forward-facing position using either a seat belt to attach it or the lower anchor attachment.
Using a travel checklist every time you prepare for an RV trip will help you quickly and easily get the “must-do’s” accomplished and speed up your road to fun! These are just some of the ways to prepare for hitting the road in an RV, what are other tips that you do every time? We’d love to hear from all the road warriors out there on how they are preparing for their next adventure!