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RV Safety and Preparedness – Tips to Stay Safe While RVing

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RV Safety and Preparedness – Tips to Stay Safe While RVing

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Is RVing Protected?

Kait and I get questions on RV security and boondocking security so much, even when there’s not a worldwide pandemic occurring. A lot of persons are interested by security on the highway, and the way we put together for uncertainty whereas residing in such a small house.

It’s good to have a way of warning in the case of exploring distant areas and adventuring into the unknown. However we’ve by no means let our fears cease us. We imagine that with the proper preparation, RVing generally is a protected and enjoyable approach to discover.

Listed here are our greatest RV journey security suggestions, multi functional place. A lot of these are helpful irrespective of the way you journey or the place you reside, so we hope you’ll get pleasure from them no matter the place you might be!

Journey and RV Security Ideas

RV Safety Tips

Be Conscious of Your Environment

This rule of thumb sounds apparent, however it may be straightforward to overlook. Whether or not you’re parked at a Walmart or in the middle of the forest, at all times pay attention to what’s round you. If you cease someplace, get out and have a look round earlier than you decide to staying. We’ve stopped in locations the place we simply didn’t really feel protected. Relatively than attempt to speak ourselves into it, we’ve moved on.

We’ve additionally realized that these uncomfortable emotions are a matter of perspective. “Unhealthy” neighborhoods sometimes don’t faze us; we used to dwell in a single! We’re extra cautious after we’re within the backcountry in areas which are unfamiliar to us. Use your greatest judgment and solely keep in locations the place you are comfy.

Hold an Eye on the Climate

As RVers, we’re up shut and private with the weather, so we pay extra consideration to the climate now than we did after we lived in a home. Maintaining a tally of the climate is a key a part of RV security.

At all times know the climate forecast in your space, alongside along with your vacation spot and your route on journey days. It doesn’t matter how sunny and good it’s proper now. There are such a lot of locations the place the climate can change from blue sky to indignant thunderstorm quicker than you’d assume.

Heavy rain can imply the distinction between a dry campsite and a mud pit that feels extra like quicksand. Whereas a little bit of mud may dampen your tenting expertise (pun meant), numerous it could actually prolong your keep indefinitely by getting you caught. RVs are heavy and troublesome to tow out, so this could depart you with a big tow invoice. We’ve seen this occur a number of occasions. Don’t let it occur to you!

When pulling right into a campsite or boondocking site, we glance round to see if our web site is on increased floor if there’s rain within the forecast. (And sure, we realized this the laborious method!) We additionally be sure we aren’t within the path of a wash. Don’t assume you’re protected simply since you’re within the desert, both. Flash floods are widespread in many parts of the desert out west.

Extra RV Security Ideas for Climate:
  • Test the panorama the place you might be. Are you able to see clear paths the place water flows or swimming pools? You don’t need to be camped in these areas. Larger floor with good drainage is greatest.
  • Know the names of any our bodies of water close to your campsite, in case of a flood warning.
  • Know which county you’re tenting in. Climate warnings and alerts will usually be listed by county identify, moderately than by metropolis. There’s nothing worse than scrambling to determine whether or not you’re within the path of a extreme storm or not.
  • Test the National Weather Service website for the updates in the USA.
  • Read about our favorite weather app, and other apps we love for life on the road.

If you wish to know what it’s wish to trip out a extreme thunderstorm in an RV, try the video under. We had been nearer to a twister than we’d ever wish to be once more!

Plan Forward

Analysis the realm. A couple of minutes of analysis about a spot the place you’ll be camped could make an enormous distinction in an emergency scenario. Perceive what providers can be found – or not – in your space. The place is the native hospital, vet, or mechanic? On a latest journey throughout the nation in our camper, we had a difficulty with the truck. As a result of we needed to make certain we didn’t get stranded, we deliberate our route to incorporate main cities with a Ford dealership, simply in case we would have liked a tow or emergency service.

Have an escape plan. Park in such a method that if one thing had been to occur, you can also make a fast exit. Each time we park for the night time, we at all times again into our spot. This fashion we’re dealing with the exit and able to transfer shortly if wanted. Within the backcountry, we be sure to know the routes out and in. This may generally be achieved by taking a look at a satellite tv for pc map of the realm. At a campground, know the place key sources are situated (water, hearth extinguishers, bathhouses for shelter, camp hosts, ranger stations, and so forth.) in case you want them.

Should you’re a visible individual, try Kait’s tip on parking about two minutes into this video:

Make Positive You Can Name for Assist

One of many issues we love most about touring in a Class B van or 4 wheel camper is that we will go nearly wherever. We’ve been out within the backcountry so much, usually with out cell protection. Whereas we love the liberty that comes with being unplugged, we additionally perceive that if one thing had been to occur, we’d be on our personal.

As a result of we work from the highway, we’ve got some cool technology to keep us connected. Our weBoost Drive Reach cell signal booster has allowed us to get usable sign in some fairly distant areas.

However, after all, counting on a cell sign isn’t foolproof.

Not too way back, I made a decision to take my motorbike into the woods for a fast trip. One wayward tree stump and a minor crash later, I discovered myself mendacity on the bottom in excruciating ache, with a dislocated shoulder and a disheartening “No Sign” icon on my telephone.

Fortuitously, I used to be in a position to hike to a spot with simply sufficient protection to textual content Kait my location. Each time I am going out for a bike trip, I be sure to inform Kait my route and approximate timing. That method, if I’m not again by a sure time, she is aware of one thing is incorrect and the place to go search for me. Had I not been in a position to hike out or discover cell service, at the very least I knew she would finally discover me.

We’ve since bought a Garmin InReach Explorer. This can be a satellite tv for pc communication machine that enables us to ship and obtain texts by way of satelite and in an emergency scenario, push the SOS button to have search and rescue come to our support. The latest model of the Explorer is the Garmin GPSMAP 66i. There’s additionally the smaller Garmin inReach Mini 2 that’s good for hikers and mountain bikers.

Extra RV Security Ideas for Connectivity:
  • Inform your loved ones the place you’re going and once you’ll be in contact. Even after we’re collectively, Kait and I take precautions after we go off-grid in locations with patchy cell service. We at all times let household know the place we’re and when to count on to listen to from us.
  • Within the backcountry, take into account registering with the forest service or ranger’s workplace. That method, they know you’re there and are higher geared up that will help you if wanted.
  • Should you can, carry a satellite tv for pc communication machine so that you’re not depending on cell sign.

Have a Solution to Defend Your self

Whether or not you’re at a campground or out within the wilderness, there could come a time when you should defend your self. This may imply safety from one other individual, or from a wild animal like a bear or mountain lion.

There isn’t a scarcity of selections in the case of self-defense, from firearms to pepper/bear sprays to blunt objects. Decide the strategy that you just really feel most comfy with. Then, follow utilizing it. No matter you select, it’s necessary that you know the way to make use of it earlier than you ever must. (And hopefully, you received’t.)

Extra RV Security Ideas for Self-Protection:
  • Belief your intestine. Should you’re uncomfortable, don’t rationalize. Both depart the scenario or take steps to make your self comfy, like carrying one of many strategies of self-protection described above.
  • Be assured and conscious. Don’t be afraid to ask locals which areas are and aren’t protected for vacationers to go to, particularly after darkish. Attempt to not get buried in your telephone. You’re right here to see the sights, keep in mind? Hold your eyes up and keep engaged along with your environment.
  • Convey consideration to your self. This works for each human and animal predators. Your voice is a robust weapon; use it to carry different folks to your support if you happen to’re in an uncomfortable encounter with one other individual, or to let wild animals know that you just received’t be straightforward prey.
  • Take a self-defense class. Even if you happen to journey with a associate who seems to be like an expert wrestler, you in all probability aren’t collectively 24/7 (even when it’d really feel prefer it at occasions), so it’s a good suggestion for every of you to know some fundamental self-defense. (Kait took a terrific self-defense course led by Kathryn Cockrell, who impressed a lot of the following tips. Thanks, Kathryn!)

Have an Emergency Plan and Evaluate it Typically, Particularly for Extreme Climate

What is going to you do if there’s a pure catastrophe in your space? How about if you happen to get separated out of your associate? Is there a gathering level? Run via numerous eventualities so that you just’re ready if one thing does occur.

For instance, if we’re at a campground and there’s the likelihood it’d flood, Kait and I’ll put together to bug out if wanted. We’ll unplug from the pedestal, put free objects away, and get the car able to drive at a second’s discover.

This doesn’t imply you need to by no means get comfy at a campsite! Be adaptable and modify to your circumstances. Would we put together for flood situations in southern California throughout a drought, if there was no rain wherever inside 100 miles? In all probability not. But when we had been in a low space with rain ten miles away that might trigger a flash flood, we’d be paying consideration.

Hold Passengers Protected Utilizing Seat Belts When Touring in a Motorhome

Most motorhomes have at at the very least two seats with seatbelts – the motive force and passenger seat. Should you’re touring with mates or household, be sure your RV has sufficient seat belts to accommodate everybody. Whereas it could be tempting in your passengers to roam across the RV when you’re driving down the highway, they need to stay buckled. Not solely may they get critically injured if the motive force needed to, for instance, slam on the brakes, however they might additionally impression the motive force inflicting them to lose management. For these of you with journey trailers, no passengers ought to be allowed to trip within the trailer whereas it’s happening the highway.

Should you want further house for family and friends, have certainly one of them observe alongside in a automobile so that everybody can arrive protected and benefit from the trip.

Create a Pre-departure Guidelines

A guidelines will help you make it possible for free objects get correctly secured, bay doorways get closed, levelers get pulled up, tires get pressurized to a protected vary, and so forth. We’ve seen and heard tales of individuals driving out of the campground with their awning or stairs out, or dragging their energy twine behind them (I’m responsible of this one myself.)

Too many occasions, we discovered ourselves with a drawer flying open as we drove as a result of we’d forgotten to latch it. All these oversights could be harmful. So, we made ourselves a guidelines. You can find our RV checklists here.

Don’t Overload Your RV

Overloading a motorhome places extra stress and put on on the tires, suspension and braking methods. This may trigger untimely failures and a rise in braking distance, making it more durable to keep away from an accident.

For trailers, even if in case you have a heavy responsibility truck able to towing effectively over your trailers GVWR (gross car weight score), overloading a trailer will stress the body, wheels, axles, brakes and so forth of the trailer.

All RVs include a sticker (sometimes a yellow sticker on the entrance door or contained in the RV close to the motive force’s compartment) that may specify the car or trailer GVWR. That is the max gross weight that the RV ought to be. In case you have a truck or motorhome, there must also be a GCWR (gross mixed weight score) which is the max weight of the car plus something your towing. They may also sometimes record a carrying capability. That is the distinction between the curb weight of the car and the GVWR. The carrying capability is how a lot stuff you possibly can carry alongside but it surely additionally consists of any passengers, water, and so forth.

weigh an RV. Most truck stops could have a CAT scale. Merely drive onto the size and push the decision button. Somebody will pop on and ask you just a few questions…sometimes they’ll need your truck quantity and some different issues truckers want to supply. We merely inform them we’re a personal RV. As soon as they weigh you, go inside and pay (as of penning this it’s $13.50) and so they’ll hand you a weigh slip. This may present the burden of your entrance wheels (steer), rear wheels (drive) and the trailer together with a mixed weight.

Test Tire Pressures Frequently

An improperly inflated RV tire can result in overheating and trigger the tire to blow out. This may result in extreme harm to the RV and a lack of management, particularly for big Class A motorhomes since they’re so tall and heavy. We’ve had a number of folks we all know have tire blowouts, certainly one of which brought on the motorhome to veer off the highway and into an embankment, totalling the RV.

When checking tire pressures, search for any dry rot and be aware the date that the tires had been produced. There’s a 4 digit code – the primary two are the week of the 12 months and the second two are the 12 months the tire was manufactured. RV tires have a lifespan of 5-7 years, no matter what number of miles are on them.

Different Test Gadgets: Brakes, Propane Tank, Batteries, and so forth

Common upkeep in your RV is essential. Whilst you may get away with not changing a set of squeaky brakes in your automobile, it’s a distinct story if in case you have a 20,000 pound motorhome that’s towing a 5,000 pound Jeep. I at all times love to do a walkaround of the RV to visually examine completely different elements. I’ll examine the propane tank for leaks, rust, free fittings, and so forth. I’ll have a look at the batteries to examine for corrosion and free connections. I additionally like to have a look at the body and tow hitch to examine for any apparent cracks and whereas I’m down there I’ll hold a watch out for any leaking fluids.

So how usually must you do these checks? It actually relies on how usually you utilize your RV. Should you’re RV sits so much, then I might recommend a great walkaround earlier than each journey. Should you’re a full-timer who’s at all times on the transfer then it’d make sense to examine each time you’ve the oil modified.

Preparation is Key

An enormous a part of RV security is just being ready. Listed here are some suggestions that will help you put together for absolutely anything that RV life may throw at you.

Have a First Assist Equipment

We’re our personal first responders. Having a primary support equipment and realizing easy methods to use it could actually make fast work of a finger that you just sliced open whereas chopping onions or save a life. First support kits are available all styles and sizes but it surely’s good to have the fundamentals available and construct the equipment from there relying on what you assume you’ll want and what you know the way to make use of.

Together with fundamental first support objects, we at all times carry a trauma equipment with us that features a tourniquet, sucking chest wound patches, intubation tube, Israeli bandages and some different goodies. Whereas we discover these to be vital objects, they’re ineffective with out the correct coaching. We had been in a position to take a CPR and first support class via our native county’s well being division. There are different organizations that host these kind of courses just like the YMCA.

Have a Supply of Clear Water

We at all times carry a number of RV water purification systems in our camper, regardless that we principally camp in locations the place clear water is available. Our main system is the Travel Berkey, which is ideal for RVing, however we’ve found others that work great as well.

So long as we’ve got entry to a water supply – any water supply – we will purify it and drink water that received’t get us sick. When there’s a pure catastrophe like a hurricane, an earthquake, and even one thing as unprecedented because the COVID-19 pandemic, bottled water is among the first objects to vanish from retailer cabinets. As a result of we’ve got our Journey Berkey, we by no means have to fret about how we’ll get clear consuming water. Read more about what we think of the Berkey and where to buy one.

Have an Emergency Meals Stash

A part of our RV security and preparedness plan is to at all times have 30 days or extra of meals with us. You could assume that’s not potential in a small house like a van or a truck bed camper, however let me guarantee you – it’s!

Right here’s the important thing, although: solely retailer meals that you just’re truly going to eat. We love dry items like rice, quinoa, beans and different grains. They’re straightforward to retailer and have a protracted shelf life, so we buy them in bulk. Once we open a bag, we purchase one other one to interchange it.

Kait may also purchase freeze dried food or MREs for me once they go on sale.

Extra RV Security Ideas for Meals Storage:
  • Along with dry items, canned meats or fish (we favor sardines in oil) are additionally nice to have available. We will eat them as snacks, or add them to energy bowls.
  • When meals you get pleasure from go on sale, purchase further and add them to your stash. You don’t want to do that ; it may be as straightforward as simply selecting up an additional merchandise or two each time you store. Once we traveled with our canines, we saved a stash of treats and pet food for them, too.

Carry Some Instruments and Have a Fundamental Understanding of Your RV

This fashion, if one thing breaks, you might not must pack up and drive to a vendor for service. Having your house in a service bay could be an aggravating expertise, and it’s good to have the ability to keep away from the prices concerned with having another person full your repairs.

Should you can troubleshoot and even repair one thing your self, it can save you money and time, and get again to having fun with the RV way of life. 

We had been reminded simply how worthwhile this may be not too long ago, after we found a leak within the roof of our new camper. The producer instructed us we may take it to any RV restore store to have it mounted below guarantee. Sounds nice, proper?

The issue was, the rain wasn’t going to attend for us to get someplace for service, and we didn’t need any water harm to our camper within the meantime. As a substitute, I mounted the roof myself. This saved us getting any mould or water harm, and we had been again on the highway the next day. 

We’ve been in a position to keep away from getting towed or having to get a lodge room whereas our RV sat in a service bay on many events, as a result of I had my tools and the basic knowledge of how to use them.

Extra RV Security Ideas for RV Restore:
  • Should you aren’t certain easy methods to repair one thing, do a little analysis. Don’t really feel like simply since you haven’t completed one thing earlier than, you aren’t able to doing it. With the proper instruments and a few dedication, you possibly can actually shock your self. Like something, do your analysis and proceed with warning. YouTube and RV boards can present a wealth of data, however if in case you have any doubts, contact an expert.
  • Hold digital copies of manuals for fast reference when one thing goes incorrect. (Digital copies are additionally searchable so that you don’t must flip via the complete guide to search out what you’re on the lookout for.)

Have a Again-up Plan

Even if you happen to’ve had reservations for months, at all times arrive with a back-up plan. We’ve pulled into campgrounds with plans to spend just a few weeks and, resulting from climate or the campground itself, determined to go away earlier than deliberate. Since we not often make reservations, after we choose a spot to remain, we’ll even have an concept of different spots we will go in case our unique plan falls via.

The few occasions we’ve been caught with out a back-up and wanted it, we’ve discovered ourselves burdened and scrambling to discover a place to sleep. Not enjoyable.

Whereas You’re at it, Have a Plan to Hunker Down

Should you’re a full-time RVer like us, you might not have a house base to return to if you should cease touring and keep in a single spot for some time. Like, say, if a worldwide pandemic breaks out!

Even once you’re not dealing with campgrounds closing and states shutting down during the coronavirus outbreak, you might want a spot to name dwelling for some time. For instance, we would have liked a spot to remain for some time once I had shoulder surgical procedure final 12 months. We hold a listing of family and friends we will name on if we’d like a spot to park briefly.

For longer stays or in locations the place we don’t have that sort of help, we will discover a lodge or e-book a long-term keep at a campground. If you e-book an prolonged keep someplace, there’s often a reduction within the type of a weekly or month-to-month charge. We’ve discovered these can generally be greater than 50% off the common nightly charge, so store round and don’t be afraid to ask.

Extra RV Security Recommendations on Preparation:
  • Perceive your insurance coverage insurance policies …. BEFORE you want them. We knew we had roadside help included in our coverage, however till we learn the positive print, we didn’t know any of the particulars. It’s good to have the main points helpful once you want them, like the truth that your coverage could solely cowl 1 hour of a mechanic’s labor on the web site of a breakdown and a tow of as much as 300 miles.
  • In case you have health insurance, are you coated in locations the place you’re touring? For a few years, we solely had protection in Texas (the state where we’re domiciled). Be sure you’re clear on what your medical insurance covers if you happen to’re outdoors your house state or nation.

Is it protected to journey in an RV?

It’s as protected as you make it. Should you observe the ideas I’ve specified by this publish then it’s my opinion, that touring in an RV generally is a protected approach to journey. After all issues can at all times occur however that’s true for touring by airplane, automobile and practice.

Is it protected to dwell in an RV?

Once more, I might say it’s as protected as you make it. Concentrate on your environment, the climate and be ready if one thing ought to occur. An RV is just not a sticks and bricks home – which means that if a extreme storm comes via, your RV could not climate it like a hard and fast dwelling would, particularly in the case of one thing like a twister. That stated, the fantastic thing about an RV is which you could transfer it out of the trail of hazard (assuming you knew it was coming).

I hope this publish makes you’re feeling which you could be protected nearly wherever, as long as you’re taking the time to arrange. As with every journey value taking, there are dangers, however we predict they’re value it. In case you have methods to arrange that we haven’t mentioned, please share them with us!

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