Safety Tips for Driving an RV | Scott Goodwin Law

Safety Tips for Driving an RV

by / Wednesday, 03 July 2024 / Published in Tips
People sit outside of an RV for a picnic.

If you’re looking for a way to have fun this summer, taking a trip in an RV can be a great option to consider. It can be more flexible than flying and saves you the trouble of finding hotels to stay in, which can be particularly challenging if you want to travel with pets. And if you want to bring larger things like bikes or kayaks with you, an RV can give you the extra space you need. But whether you’re towing a small travel trailer or driving a big motorhome, safely traveling with a trailer or RV can involve some extra consideration. 

Know Your Vehicle Size

We’ve all seen signs indicating what the clearance height of a bridge or overpass is. You might also see those types of signs when entering parking garages, at gas stations, or when going through drive-thrus. And when you’re doing your normal, day-to-day driving, you might not think about whether or not your vehicle will be able to fit. But when you’re traveling with an RV or trailer, it’s very important to know exactly how large your vehicle is, especially if you have extra accessories attached. 

Not only do you need to watch out for areas with low height clearances, some roads might have restrictions on vehicle width and vehicle length can be important when it comes to parking. Because of these types of restrictions, you may want to look into navigation apps that are specifically intended to help RV drivers plan their routes to avoid them.

Don’t Overload

Make sure you know your vehicle’s cargo carrying capacity and aim to keep your weight a little bit under that limit. Remember that this capacity includes anything that might be in the RV, including luggage, food/water, and passengers. Exceeding this capacity can increase your risk of tire problems and other vehicle problems. 

Start Out Small

If you’re new to driving an RV, or even if you’ve driven RVs before but are driving a new one, one of the best things you can do is take some time to get familiar with how it handles. Head out to a quiet area where you can practice making turns, parking, and other maneuvers that you might need to do. If you’re completely new to driving an RV, you might want to consider taking RV driving classes where you can learn important skills like these, as well as other important things like how to deal with trailer sway. 

Give Yourself Extra Room for Turns

The extra length of RVs and trailers means making turns can be extra challenging. You’ll need to start your turn later than you would with a standard car and making turns too quickly can easily cause an accident. Make sure you turn on your turn signal extra early to let other drivers know what to expect. 

Slow Down & Increase Your Following Distance

Not only are RVs and travel trailers longer than regular cars and SUVs, they’re heavier, too. This means that it will take longer to increase your speed or slow down. Make sure you keep plenty of room between yourself and any vehicles in front of you so that you can stop safely. Also, be careful not to speed. Keeping your speed down a little bit can help you maintain better control over the vehicle. 

Do You Need a Special License to Drive an RV in Michigan?

Before you head out on the road, it’s important to make sure you’re in compliance with all laws that apply to RVs. In the state of Michigan, drivers often do not need a special driver’s license or endorsement to be able to drive an RV. However, if your travel plans involve towing a fifth-wheel trailer with a second trailer attached to it, you will need to get a Recreational Double Endorsement. To get this endorsement, you’ll need to be over the age of 18 and pass a test first. For more information on Recreational Double Endorsements, see this guide from the Michigan Secretary of State

Contact a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer

Even if you do everything you can to be a safe driver, the negligence of others can still cause you to get injured in an accident. If you’re injured in a crash, don’t hesitate to contact a car accident lawyer for help with your case. At Scott Goodwin Law, you’ll be able to get help from a lawyer experienced in helping car accident victims in the state of Michigan. Contact us today for a free consultation and find out how we can help you.

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