Motor home or RV recreational vehicles are often more expensive than a regular home these days. Overall, sales of these traveling homes are down due to economic challenges that include everything from unemployment to the ever-rising cost of fuel – and the ridiculously low mileage a driver gets from these vehicles.
The one thing rarely discussed, however, in the decision to buy a motor home is the potential dangers inherent in these vehicles. Oh sure, most drivers believe that because it’s about the same size as a bus – or even rivals the size of a semi-truck there is a natural safety factor built into it.
Unfortunately, though, passengers mistakenly believe that because of its size – a motorhome is naturally safe.
Classes of RV’s
*There are three classes of motor home vehicles – which are decided by the weight of the recreational vehicle. The Class “A” vehicle is most like a home and not unlike stripping a truck chassis and overlaying it with the framework of a bus-only with living accommodations. The distinct advantages are roominess and a high perch for the driver.
*The benefits are disadvantages as well. These vehicles are cumbersome– and challenging to maneuver, park, back up, and handle in an emergency. Driving the vast majority of RVs requires no special license, and dealers will tell prospective buyers that handling them is simple.
Unique driver’s licenses may be required
In some states, the very largest motor homes may require a particular driving test or written test for a different class of driver’s license. Here is the statute for Texas relating to driver’s licenses required for RV’s.
*There are a variety of other types of recreational vehicles as well including the travel trailer, van/camper, attached cab, truck campers, pop-up campers, and fifth wheel models. All come with the need to develop expertise in handling before taking them out on the ‘open-road,’ and drivers would be well served with a little training before taking the road.
5 Safety concerns for RV’s
There are five areas of interest regarding RV accidents. We will cover each of these in order. They are seat belts, distractions, blind spots, weather, and vehicle condition.
Make sure everyone is wearing a seatbelt
An RV was carrying nearly a dozen people who experienced a tire blowout that caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle – sending it careening into a tree and killing two people. The others were admitted to the hospital with varying degrees of injuries. One minute the group was enjoying the celebration of traveling to an event and the next heartbreak.
Any safety precaution that one must consider for driving a car, truck, bus, or semi relates to motorhome driving. Keep the vehicle in good working order – and wear your seatbelt.
A recreational vehicle is prone to distractions, particularly when the vehicle is occupied by several people. The more people, the more likely a distraction for the driver. The more festive the occasion, the more likely it is that the driver would face events that may hamper his driving.
If you are traveling in a large group, set down the ground rules for interaction with the driver beforehand. It is in everyone’s best interest to keep the vehicle out of an accident.
Like an 18-wheeler or other large truck, many RV’s have blind spots similar to a big rig. Behind the RV and on both sides just behind the driver are notorious blind spots
Being aware of the blind spots is the first step in RV safety. Using your signals and making lane changes gradually after signaling increases the odds of a safe lane change.
Traveling in inclement weather is always an element of risk for any driver. Traveling in an RV is no exception. If the weather is sufficiently inhospitable, consider pulling over until the conditions improve. Professional truck drivers must discontinue their travel when the weather conditions require it. Driving a similar-sized vehicle such as an RV should demand no less.
Keeping your recreational vehicle in proper operating conditions will save time, money, and frustration on the road. Doing a pre-trip inspection, including tires, lights, and signals and fluids, is an excellent habit to start. Checking your windshield wipers and replacing them as needed is a natural choice. Keeping up with recalls and following safety items is a must. If you keep your RV in tip-top shape, your chances of an expensive repair on the road drop significantly.
If you have propane tanks, checking your tanks frequently is suggested. Propane tanks must be certified within 10 years of manufacture and every five years after that.
Tire safety is critical with RVs. Always by new tires and never retread. Replacing your tires as needed and before they become dangerous is a must.
RVs can be a lot of fun for families and those with an adventurous spirit. Keeping your driving safe and your vehicle’s improper operating condition are essential steps to make sure that you arrive at your destination safely.
If you have been injured in an RV accident, call the Baumgartner Law Firm for a no-obligation consultation about your rights, options and, next steps. Call (281) 587-1111!