The most important, yet underrated RV topic is RV Safety. With so much to learn about RVing, it can be overwhelming. Don’t do what we did and make these Deadly Mistakes. Here’s our Top 10 Deadly RV Mistakes.
If we haven’t already met: We’re John & Mercedes, the RV Odd Couple. We sold our house & most of our possessions to RV pursuing freedom, independence, and adventure because life is too short! The following article is our personal experience. We are not safety professionals. There are affiliate links in this post. This means if you purchase and use our links, it will not cost you a penny more, but we will earn a small commission. Thank you in advance as these help us offset the costs of the blog and creating the video.
1. Deadly RV Safety Mistake: Not Knowing Your RV
The first dangerous RV mistake many make is not knowing the specifications to their RV. Of all our RV towing safety tips, this is the most easy to ignore. You must know the following:
There is nothing scarier than driving under a bridge and not being sure if you have the clearance to make it through. Get on the roof and measure your height with a tape measure when attached to the truck to be sure of your height.
Every RV has a sticker in which the manufacturer will share weight specs. This will tell you the “dry” or empty weight of the RV and how much weight you can add through your contents. To be 100% sure that you are operating within those guidelines, take your RV to a CAT scale and weigh your RV!
3. Weight distribution
Knowing the weight of your RV is not enough. You must also make sure that the weight is distributed evenly. The worst thing you can do is put your heaviest contents in the back. Typically you want the weight to be distributed towards the front, and above the wheel wells, but check the RV’s individual specifications to be sure!
Once you know your height and weigh, use an RV Trip Planning app to avoid roads with low bridges and weight limits. We haven’t had good luck finding such an app, so let us know if you’ve found a good RV Traveling app. We appreciate the RV towing safety tips!
2. Deadly RV Safety Mistake: Not Monitoring Tires
Another big mistake we see RVers make is not monitoring their tires. At minimum you should get a manual tire pressure monitor and temperature gun. But we prefer a TPMS system that monitors your tires and alerts you while you drive. Of all the RV travel safety tips you hear, monitoring your tires is crucial!
Along with a TPMS system, you should also have a portable air compressor. We are currently using Tire Minder. We’re looking into testing out different systems and hope to share more with you on that later.
3. Deadly RV Mistake: Speeding
Driving an RV is intimidating. So it’s no surprise many people focus on learning How to drive an RV. One of the most important RV Travel safety tips is Don’t Speed!
Speeding makes driving a normal car more dangerous, but speeding in an RV only multiplies the risk of an RV accident tenfold! RV Tires aren’t just rated for weight- their rated for speed. So lay off the gas & take your time!
4. Deadly RV Safety Mistake: Driving Tired
We often get asked how dangerous are RVs? I think the answer depends on whose driving and how alert they are. Travel fatigue is often overlooked.
Driving while pulling an RV is much more taxing & tiring. Especially when traveling Long Distances, you have to be sure to take breaks, get plenty of sleep, and break up the travel days.
So on the list of RV travel safety tips: Get plenty of rest & take breaks.
5. Deadly RV Mistake: Septic Gasses
We don’t hear a lot of warnings about tip, perhaps because this is the stinkiest of all the RV travel safety tips! (literally & figuratively) But watch out for Septic Gasses!
Most RVers close their black tanks and leave their grey and galley tanks open while connected to sewer. They mistakenly assume that since the black tank is closed, the septic gasses can’t enter the RV.
But harmful gasses can still enter the RV through the gray and galley tanks. To make sure this doesn’t happen make a P-Trap. This will ensure that the gasses in the sewer system, stay in the sewer system!
6. RV Safety Tip: Maintain your Pull Vehicle
Not all of our RV towing safety tips focus on the RV. Properly maintaining your Pull vehicle is just as important as maintaining your RV.
Don’t just focus on whether the truck can pull the RV. This is the half of it! If anything goes wrong with the RV, your tow vehicle has to be able to stop the RV!
Wondering how do you drive an RV? Start by making sure the tow vehicle is rated to tow the RV!
7. RV Safety Tip: Have a Safety Kit
If you’ve ever had to pull off the side of the highway, you know how scary it can be with cars speeding by past you. This is even scarier in an RV because you’re wider and have less room! Even though John protested initially, we got a safety vest so that he stands out! It was pretty inexpensive and if you’re interested click on the vest below.
This is why it’s so important to have RV Safety Gear! We’re going to start with a basic safety kit. We linked to our kit in the photo below. Instead of cones that are hard to see in the dark, this system has magnetic LED lights that shine bright. It also includes an escape tool to tear seatbelts and break through windshields.
Although most RV’s come with a spare tire, you may consider getting a second. Make sure you have the equipment you need to change the spare. But don’t forget about RV Tow Insurance. For those instances when it’s not safe to change a tire on the side of the road!
8. Deadly RV Safety Mistake: Fire Hazards
RV fires spread quickly! And a whole article could be written on Fire Safety tips. Here are just a few!
Adding additional fire extinguishers and smoke detectors will give you more warning in the event of an RV fire. The more time you have the higher the likelihood of escaping a fire in an RV! You also want to make sure you have a working CO2 detector in your RV!
Make sure your surge protector is in working condition to protect your electrical components from sparking due to surge. Your surge protector doesn’t just protect the electrical equipment, it protects you from fire danger! We use a Hughes Surge Protector and you can save 10% on yours by using the code “rvoddcouple10”
Keeping the RV warm can prove tricky. While some use propane heaters, (and that can be done safely), we choose to use a ceramic heater. Just make sure it has an anti tip function to keep our RV warm. And also be sure to manage the electrical consumption so the lines don’t heat up.
Our final fire safety tip; avoid Gas leaks by turning off the Propane tanks when moving!
9. RV Security Tip: Be Prepared to Protect your Family
I wish we didn’t have to mention this, but you must be able to protect your family from invaders. You might be wondering, but are RV Parks dangerous? Well, we’ve experienced harassment while staying in a campground. So the answer is- Yes, they can be!
We’re not just talking about petty crime in RV Parks. This will differ depending on where you are staying. But whether it’s a Resort, or a park, do not skimp on your RV Security!
And if we’ve had dangerous experiences in an RV park, we can only imagine how dangerous RVing can be when you’re in the middle of nowhere and camping for free! Not too long ago, a few RVers that were boondocking were found murdered! We’ll include a link to more details here.
10. Deadly RV Safety Mistake: Getting Distracted
If John gets distracted while preparing the RV for travel, it’s a big problem! Because once when this happened, we forgot to put the pin in the 5th wheel hitch. And of course, we had driven through mountains that day!
Use a checklist to avoid forgetting crucial tasks. But there’s another form of distraction that’s hard to avoid.
You see, when you’re driving the RV through new places, it’s difficult to keep your eyes on the road. The beauty of the new sights is hard to ignore. This can make RVing very dangerous!
Why are we sharing these Deadly RV Mistakes?
When we decided to take this huge leap of faith and RV full-time with our family, so many people offered us help. We’d like to pay it forward. We’ve created a download of our “Top 10 RV Must Haves.” This download has links to ease purchase. You’ll Join our “Odd Squad” and be the first to know about our new adventures, products, and RV living hacks!
Thanks for Joining our Odd Squad,
John, Mercedes, Sage & Skippy