Recreational Vehicle (RV) Safety

In order to stay safe on the road make sure to take precautions before you even begin your trip.

Realize your size.

Many road mishaps occur because of an RV's additional size and weight. For instance, operators accidentally drive under an overpass without enough clearance because they forget about the additional height. Know your RV's height, and keep it handy. Also know the clearances of the bridges and tunnels along your route—especially on back roads. A road atlas specifically for RVers or semi drivers can help.

Maintenance is important.

An RV that's mechanically sound will be less apt to break down. Be meticulous about maintenance. Make a pre-trip checklist, and do an inspection every time you get behind the wheel. Utilize these safety tips to ensure the proper maintenance of your RV:

  • Inspect all belts, and hoses for cracking and replace where required
  • Check headlights, turn signal, tail lights
  • Check your tires for the correct air pressure and sufficient tread depth
  • Check any hitch or towing equipment
  • Check your fire extinguishers and smoke alarms
  • Clean your cooking vent hood to avoid grease fires
  • Make sure food is secured safely within kitchen cabinets

Have a plan if you do break down.

Carry your cell phone and know the emergency numbers to call. Also leave your itinerary with relatives or friends in case of emergency.

Adjust for weather.

Heavy winds, rain, fog, and ice make RV driving treacherous. If possible, plan your trip to avoid bad weather or factor in extra time so you can delay travel if necessary.

Always wear safety belts.

Passengers should be belted in also. Laws don't require RV's to have safety belts in all areas where passengers can sit, but it is better to be safe so buckle up!

Most common causes of RV Accidents include:

  • Fires that occur from leaking LP gas (propane)
  • Tire blowouts: Overloading, under inflated or old tires
  • RV awnings and steps: RV outside steps not put away before traveling and not storing awning properly during travel and questionable weather
  • Clearance and height driving mistakes: RVs hitting bridges and gas station overhangs
  • Overloading: Uneven weight can cause restricted braking and steering
  • Slide-Out: Making sure that the slide-outs are retracted before driving away
  • Pests, bugs, rodent infestations: When the RV is stored for any period of time, mice, squirrels and many other rodents are well known for chewing on the wires, plastic and rubber lines in the RV

For more RV safety information visit the RV Safety & Education Foundation.