RV safety should begin before a road trip starts. Before pulling out onto the road in your motorhome rental, it is essential that a recreational vehicle safety inspection is completed. This is an important step before beginning your trip, and also at every long-term stop. The safety check may take ten minutes to perform, but will save you and your family from accidents on the road that could have been avoided.
It can be helpful to write down a checklist of RV safety items that need to be maintained and checked before leaving. Be sure to check hoses and belts for cracking. If any are loose; tighten them right away. Check all the headlights and blinkers both in the front of the RV and in the back to ensure they are all in working order. If you are towing a vehicle behind your RV, then the lights on the towed vehicle and the hitch connecting them should be inspected as well.
Check tires for proper pressure and adequate tread. Many RV accidents happen due to steering issues that can be caused by inadequate tread on the tires. The owner’s manual for the vehicle should have the proper tire pressure requirements, or the RV can be brought to a tire shop where a professional will check the pressure.
Another recreational vehicle safety issue is the propane fueling the kitchen stove in many vehicles. Check to make sure that there is enough propane and that there are no leaks. Check to ensure that all the knobs on appliances accessing the propane for power are turned off.
Being comfortable behind the wheel of an RV is great, but do not forget that you are driving a larger vehicle. Bridges, tunnels and low-hanging overpasses could cause a problem if you are not aware of the RV's size or the size of the overhang. Be aware of low overhangs before starting your trip. Road maps designed for use by truckers and RV drivers are available and can be very helpful for those not used to their vehicle and/or the vehicle they are driving through.
At the beginning of each trip, make sure you have a working fire extinguisher in a secure location. It should be in a secure clip in a common location for emergency use. Always leave an itinerary with friends or relatives so they can track your progress should something happen during the trip.
For RV safety, there should be a toolkit with some basic tools for minor repairs.
The following should be included in your RV Safety Toolkit:
Tire repair kit
Socket wrenches or adjustable wrench
A cell phone (vital in some situations, i.e. a breakdown in a remote location)
At every long-term or overnight stop, the RV should be inspected again. At this time, make sure that the stairs and the overhead awning are retracted. Kitchen supplies should be stored securely, so they do not become loose and cause damage to you or the inside of the RV while driving, setting up camp, etc.
Finally, ordinary road safety rules should be followed: wearing a seat belt, being aware of other drivers, following the speed limit, etc. Have common courtesy when interacting with other drivers; be aware of the size and width of your vehicle when driving and when parking. Driving safely is the first step towards having a great RV vacation.