It’s important to know what you’re getting into when you buy an RV. First-time RV owners are prone to making mistakes, such as not test-driving the model or skipping on roadside assistance. Living in an RV can also be surprisingly dangerous if you’re not prepared. What are the most deadly mistakes and how can you prevent them?
Distracted driving is a big mistake
Just like regular automobiles, distracted driving inside an RV is a big problem. Car accidents cause thousands of injuries and deaths each year, and distracted driving is the number one cause. Distracted driving has become increasingly more common thanks to the standard touchscreens in most cars.
Drivers also get distracted while eating, drinking, and trying to use their phones while driving. The risk of distraction is even greater inside an RV because you may find yourself in many unfamiliar, beautiful environments. This can make it hard to keep your eyes on the road, which could result in you getting lost or causing an accident.
Many RV drivers also get distracted and forget to perform basic maintenance tasks on their vehicles. Getting a recreational vehicle road-ready often requires emptying plumbing tanks, checking the tire pressure, and making sure trailers are fully attached. If you forget to do something important, like connect the trailer’s breakaway cable, you may cause a severe auto accident.
Before you hit the road, make a checklist of everything you need and all the routine tasks that need to be done. While driving, avoid reaching for your phone and keep your eyes forward. If possible, have a passenger sit shotgun to remind you to focus.
Lack of security
Unfortunately, even official RV parks are not safe from burglary and other types of crime. If you fail to lock your RV’s doors, someone may try to break in and steal your belongings. Older vehicles are especially vulnerable because they don’t have the latest anti-theft technology installed.
The RV Odd Couple also warns that you may experience harassment while staying at a park. You never know who is going to be your temporary neighbor or how they will conduct themselves around you or your family. Camping in the wilderness is even more dangerous, and some RV owners even go missing in extreme circumstances.
For this reason, it’s better to park at a monitored park or campsite. This way, if anything suspicious happens, it will be easier to alert the authorities. Hide all your valuables away from plain sight, especially if you don’t have tinted windows.
This can be tricky for those who live full-time in an RV, which may house many expensive electronics. If that’s the case, look into installing an RV security system for your home. These systems are often portable and wireless, allowing you to monitor your recreational vehicle remotely through a smart device.
Watch out for RV fires
Just as you wouldn’t live in a home without a smoke detector, you shouldn’t drive your RV without protection from fires. A house fire is bad enough, but a fire inside a gas-operated vehicle is even more dangerous. It will also take more time to stop the fire if you have to stop driving first.
Most large RVs are equipped with ceramic and propane heaters, which can leak or get overheated. To protect your RV, make sure you have at least one smoke detector installed as well as multiple fire extinguishers. Turn off any propane tanks while the car is in motion and make sure your heaters have tip-over protection.
Shorts in the electrical system can also lead to an RV fire. A surge protector is a good idea if you have an RV with a lot of gadgets and appliances on board.