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Summer travel and safety tips for new RVers

While every type of travel is markedly more popular this year compared to last year, when most of the world was in the throes of the COVID-19 battle, road trips rule the summer months. AAA expects 43.6 million people to hit the roads, many of them in RVs.

A recent survey of America’s 180 million leisure travelers found that 31% are planning on going RVing at some point this summer, RV Industry Association President and CEO Craig Kirby said recently.

“More and more Americans are ready to travel this summer, and 56 million of them are planning to go RVing in an RV they rent, own, or borrow,” said Kirby. “Even with other forms of travel returning, the desire to use an RV to get outdoors and experience an active outdoor lifestyle is stronger than ever. RVing has been cemented as a mainstream travel option that is here to stay.”

Meanwhile, traffic accidents always swell during holidays, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. When it comes to crash fatalities, July Fourth was the deadliest holiday of the year in 2019.

Safety tips for RV newbies

The RV Industry Association says 65 million Americans plan to take an RV trip within the next year, with many of them RVing for the first time.

With so many people hitting the road in RVs for the first time, it’s important that they’re prepared. An RV is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and connect with friends and family, but it’s a lot different than taking a road trip in a car. The following are notable differences between road-tripping in a car and taking to the road in an RV:

Drivability: Driving a car is second nature for people who do it all the time, but maneuvering an RV is different, especially if you’re doing it for the first time and it’s not something you do very often.

  • Spend some time practicing driving your RV in a safe place away from traffic, such as in an empty parking lot.
  • Leave a lot of room for wide turns.
  • Maintain proper distance from other vehicles knowing that it may take longer than usual to slow down or speed up.

Visibility: Anyone who drives a car is familiar with blind spots, but those can seem even more pronounced for new RVers.

  • Be extra cautious knowing that if a car is following too closely behind your RV, you may not see it.
  • Motorcycles can be especially hard to see depending on where and how close they are to your vehicle.

Maintenance: Both cars and RVs require regular maintenance like oil changes and tire rotations, but RVs have many additional features to attend to, like water, sewer and electrical lines, awnings, slide outs and seals.

  • Put your RV on a monthly, seasonal, and yearly maintenance schedule to lessen the chance of a breakdown, equipment failure, or other malfunction happening while you’re on a trip.
  • Know that it may be more difficult to access specialized RV roadside assistance if you’re in a more remote location.

Getting around and gassing up: When you’re on a car trip, you use your car for sightseeing, and you don’t think twice about hitting a drive-through for dinner or pulling into any service station to gas up. Depending on the size of your RV, however, those things may not be practical.

  • Consider towing a vehicle behind the RV so you can park the RV at a campsite and use the car to get around.
  • Plot out your trip on a map so you know the locations not only of campgrounds that accommodate RV’s, but also the rest stops big enough for you to get into to fuel up your RV.

Insurance: Whether for a car or an RV, you’ll need liability insurance, which covers injuries to others or damage to others’ property if you are responsible for an accident, and you will also likely want comprehensive and collision insurance to cover your own vehicle.

  • Many people choose Umbrella coverage as an extra added layer of protection on top of their existing Auto, RV, or Home Insurance.
  • Because RV accidents are usually more severe given the weight of the vehicle, Umbrella insurance may be especially helpful for RVers.
  • Talk to your independent insurance agent to help you choose coverage that’s best for you, based on your specific needs.