RV Weight Distribution Tips for Packing Your RV

When packing your RV, it’s essential to consider the weight distribution to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Here are some tips to help you achieve optimal weight distribution.

Merriam-Webster defines weight as the force with which a body is pulled toward the earth. Everything around us feels this gravitational pull. Then you add the forces of movement which can magnify the effect of weight, and … well, you get the point.

Weight and loading are important for an airplane so it will lift off the ground and for a ship so it won’t roll over and they are important for your RV, not only to make sure it will last a long time without premature wear or component failure but also so it will be safe to drive on the highways and back roads.

Distribute weight evenly © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are a number of resources for RVers to reference regarding the weight of their RV. Owner’s manuals usually provide weight and loading information as do numerous websites.

One organization, the RV Safety and Education Foundation (RVSEF) has dedicated its existence to the issues of RV weight and loading. It’s an important topic that every RVer should understand.

RV weight distribution, however, is something not a lot of RV owners think about. This is unfortunate because ensuring that all of the weight in your RV is evenly distributed is incredibly important for safety reasons. 

Trailers with cargo that haven’t been distributed across the rig evenly are more likely to sway. Additionally, all RVs that are loaded unevenly (or even overloaded) can suffer from suspension issues, problems with tires, and in some cases, issues with steering.

These are not things you want to have trouble with while on a road trip. Fortunately, this is an easy problem to avoid. The solution is of course to ensure that everything is loaded into your rig properly. 

Here are my tips for packing up your motorhome or trailer with RV weight distribution in mind. 

Distribute weight evenly © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Know your limits

First and foremost, you want to know the limits of your rig. This includes the cargo-carrying capacity of your RV, the tow limits of your truck (if applicable) as well as the gross axle weight rating (the amount that can be put on any given axle).

Knowing these numbers and ensuring you stay well within the given boundaries is the first step in properly loading your RV. 

Pick and choose

Knowing your limits is a good starting point. The next step is deciding what you will take and what you’ll have to leave behind in order to stay within those limits. Packing light is the name of the game: versatile items that can serve multiple purposes, small items, and lightweight options are ideal.

Obviously, you will only want to take the essentials. Leave unnecessary items at home. But taking some toys or outdoor gear is probably fine. Just so in moderation and keep those weight limits in mind. 

Distribute weight evenly © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keep things balanced

Once you know the basic parameters you are working with and what you will pack, the next thing to do is actually move the items into the RV. Keep things as balanced as possible—from side-to-side and front-to-back.

Take note of where appliances and slides are. Those things are heavy and should be taken into consideration as you decide where items should be stored. Use all of your storage bays and spread things out evenly between them. If most of your cabinets are on one side of the RV, try to put heavy items on the opposite side to balance out what you’d store in the cabinets. 

Heavy items low and centered

Have some especially heavy items you need to pack? Those should be kept on the floor and on top of an axle. This will help prevent the heavy item from putting too much weight on the front or back. Storing on the floor also ensures the item doesn’t fall, break things, and/or hurt people while the RV is in transit.

If you can, pack an item of similar weight on the opposite side or pack the heavy item opposite your main kitchen appliances in order to even things out from side to side.

Distribute weight evenly © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How to load drawers and cabinets

Another thing to keep in mind as you’re loading up the RV is how to load the drawers and cabinets.

You want to make sure only lightweight things are in the overhead cabinets in order to help keep things balanced and keep your passengers safe if you’re in a motorhome. Meanwhile, the drawers should not be overloaded as this can break them—and if all of your drawers are on one side of the RV (as is often the case), you’ll be putting a lot of weight in one area and throwing off the balance of the rig. 

Keep tank locations in mind

Water is heavy. It weighs in at 8.34 pounds per gallon meaning a 40-gallon tank weighs over 333 pounds when full. That’s a lot of weight and it can easily put you over your cargo-carrying capacity and out of balance.

If you plan to drive with a full fresh water or waste tanks make sure you know where that particular tank is located and try to pack everything in such a way that the extra weight is balanced out and you aren’t over your RV’s weight limit. 

Distribute weight evenly © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Observe before you drive

Once everything is loaded into the RV, it’s time for a visual inspection. Head outside and look at the rig. Make sure it isn’t obviously leaning to one side or the other. If you pull a trailer, make sure the trailer isn’t weighing down the truck and make sure the bottom of the trailer is parallel with the ground.

Essentially, you are looking for any signs that you’ve overloaded the RV or that the weight inside isn’t balanced. You will want to add this visual inspection to your pre-trip walk-around every time you drive. 

Go get weighed

Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to know whether you’re overloaded and almost impossible to know whether one axle is taking the brunt of the work without getting properly weighed. Even if everything looks good from the outside, you could still be totally out of balance. For this reason, it’s best to head to a nearby truck scale to be weighed after you’ve loaded up the RV. These can usually be found at truck stops and will give you tons of information about how your RV is loaded. 

Check this out to learn more: Should I Weigh My RV?

Yes, RV weight distribution is an incredibly important thing. Luckily, you know this now and can take the steps above to prevent any dangerous situations caused by uneven weight distributions from cropping up during your RV travels.

Worth Pondering…

Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.

—C.S. Lewis

Safety and Security Tips for Traveling in your RV

Traveling into the great unknown can be a lot of fun. Discovering new places adds excitement to an RV trip. Yet many people worry about RV safety. RV security is an important factor to consider and there are things you can do to increase the security of your RV, no matter where you are traveling.

RVing has become one of the most popular ways to travel. But a successful and safe RV trip takes preparation and planning to make it a good experience. Whether you are new to RVing or not, these tips can help ensure that your trip will be problem-free.

Embarking on an RV adventure brings the promise of freedom and exploration but ensuring safety as you travel in your RV is critical. In this article I delve into the realm of RV security providing key safety measures to safeguard your RV while you travel.

Cracker Barrel in Goodyear, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Be aware of your surroundings: A critical crime-prevention tool

This rule of thumb sounds obvious but it can be easy to forget. Whether you’re parked at a Walmart or Cracker Barrel or boondocking in a national forest, always be aware of what’s around you. When you stop somewhere, get out and take a look around before you commit to staying. We’ve stopped in places where we just didn’t feel safe. Rather than try to talk ourselves into it, we’ve moved on.

We’ve also learned that those uncomfortable feelings are a matter of perspective. We’re more cautious when we’re in the backcountry in areas that are unfamiliar to us. Use your best judgment and only stay in places where you are comfortable.

Leave temptation behind: Keep valuables hidden

Though it may seem obvious, you should never leave valuables in plain sight and unattended. Laptops, smartphones, cameras, and other personal belongings should be stored when they are not in use.

This one seems pretty obvious. To eliminate temptation put all your things away prior to leaving your site. This could include camping chairs, cooking equipment, and/or firewood. Don’t make it easy for them!

Don’t litter your site with valuables. Put away tablets, cell phones, and extra gadgets. Pull the blinds after dark in your rig. Don’t be a lone ranger; camp near other people. Get a safe. Each of these simple steps will keep robbers at bay.

Camping with your dog © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Set up your campsite with security in mind

From the moment you park your RV, you should start thinking about security. For instance, most RVers reverse into their parking spot but this means that your rig is more accessible.

Also, take a good look at your surroundings and follow your gut feeling. If something about the spot can become a security risk, you’re better off finding a space that feels safer.

If you’re bringing your furry friends with you, you’ll also need to think about their well-being. Therefore, you’ll need to follow RV pet safety best-practices like sweeping for choking hazards and making sure you’re far from a busy road.

Lock it down: The importance of robust door and window locks

One of the first lines of defense for your RV is secure entry points. Invest in quality door and window locks to thwart potential intruders. Consider upgrading to smart locks that provide added convenience and control through mobile apps ensuring you can monitor and secure your RV even when you’re away exploring.

One of the easiest ways to deter thieves is to simply lock your doors anytime you leave, no matter how long you’re going to be gone.  Also, make sure to close and lock exterior storage compartments.

Camping at Lost Dutchman State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Illuminate and deter: Motion sensor lights for enhanced security

Enhance your RV’s security by strategically placing motion sensor lights around your vehicle. These lights not only illuminate the surroundings at night but also serve as a deterrent to potential intruders. The sudden burst of light can startle and discourage unwanted visitors adding an extra layer of protection to your home on wheels.

Eyes everywhere: The benefits of a security camera system

In the digital age, technology offers advanced solutions for RV security. Consider installing a security camera system to keep a watchful eye on your RV. Modern systems provide real-time monitoring accessible from your smartphone giving you peace of mind and the ability to act promptly in case of any suspicious activity.

Conceal and protect: Disguising your RV with camouflage measures

Make your RV less enticing to potential thieves by adopting camouflage measures. This could include discreet branding, covering valuable items, or even using window coverings to conceal the interior. The goal is to avoid drawing unnecessary attention, reducing the risk of burglary when your RV is parked.

Camping at Lady Bird Johnson Park near Fredericksburg, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

GPS tracking for recovery: Protecting your investment with GPS technology

In the unfortunate event that your RV is stolen, having a GPS tracking system can be a game-changer. These devices allow you to track the location of your RV in real-time aiding law enforcement in recovering your property quickly. It’s a worthwhile investment for both security and peace of mind.

Community vigilance: Utilizing the power of RV communities

The RV community is vast and supportive. Leverage this by staying connected with fellow travelers. Join online forums, share your location with trusted friends, and participate in local RV groups. In the world of RVing, a collective eye is often the best security measure with fellow enthusiasts looking out for each other’s well-being.

Camping at Palo Casino RV Resort, Palo, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Emergency preparedness: Security beyond theft

Security extends beyond theft prevention. Equip your RV with emergency preparedness items including a first-aid kit, fire extinguishers, and smoke detectors. Being ready for unexpected situations helps to ensure the safety and well-being of you and your fellow travelers.

Have a way to protect yourself

Whether you’re at an RV park or out in the wilderness, there may come a time when you need to protect yourself. This can mean protection from another person, or from a wild animal like a bear or mountain lion.

There is no shortage of choices when it comes to self-defense from firearms to pepper/bear sprays to blunt objects. Pick the method that you feel most comfortable with. Then, practice using it. Whatever you choose, it’s important that you know how to use it before you ever need to (and hopefully, you won’t).

Camping in Dixie National Forest, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Never post your current location on social media

I totally get that you want to share your cool adventures and amazing places you are at. But, be cautious about giving your exact location and time.

If you want to post a photo of your RV at your campsite or in a certain location, refrain from posting the campground name and town you’re currently located. In other words, keep your social media shares vague. Wait until after you leave the area to share those beautiful views online.

Here are some helpful resources on increasing the security and safety of your RV:

Effective security requires a layered approach. There is no single security measure that is guaranteed to deter and prevent crime. However, by implementing the layered approach outlined above, you can feel confident that you have a good plan in place to deter and prevent crime.

As you embark on your RV journey, remember that security is a crucial aspect of traveling. Implementing these measures can safeguard your home on wheels, allowing you to explore with confidence. By combining technology, community support, and smart practices, you’ll fortify your RV against potential risks ensuring a secure and enjoyable adventure on the open road.

Safe travels!

Worth Pondering…

The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.

—Okakura Kazuko

The Most Dangerous Places for Overnight RV Parking + Safety Tips

After a long day of driving, finding yourself in an unfamiliar area without any RV parks in sight means seeking a safe overnight RV parking spot. Finding overnight RV parking is a challenge most RVers face at one time or another. Many RVers are concerned about this especially regarding safety. But generally speaking, you don’t have to worry too much—if you keep a few key things in mind.

RV travel is great because you always get to sleep in your own bed. But unknowingly choosing dangerous places to sleep in your RV could put your life and property at risk. That’s why even if your interior is comfortable you need to consider your overnight parking surroundings. With that in mind, I’ll discuss the top three risky places for RV travelers to park for a night or longer.

The three most dangerous places to park your RV overnight (or longer)

Before we get started, a reminder that there are exceptions to every rule. Please use your own judgment skills as you choose overnight RV parking.

Generally, staying in a dedicated campground or RV park with amenities is your safest overnight parking choice. Some RV parks and resorts even have gated entries to stop animals or trespassers from getting too close to campsites.

You may be on your way to a national parks adventure and you want to save money with a cheap or free overnight parking. We’ve all been there! Although there are many free RV parking options you’ll have to navigate additional hazards once you arrive. 

Let’s review the top three most dangerous places to sleep in your RV from the streets to the wilderness.

Camping in Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Dangerous RV parking spot #1: On the street

Overnight street parking in your rig can be risky. In many places, it’s illegal to keep your RV on the street for an entire night. You could end up with a hefty fine or even get your RV towed.

Legality aside, it’s just not a great idea to park on the street if you can avoid it.

Potential thieves might see your RV as an easy target especially if they think it’s empty.

You won’t always have the benefit of security cameras from surrounding buildings either.

Instead of parking on the street, you should head for an RV-friendly parking lot. For instance, it’s not uncommon to see travel trailers and motorhomes with tow vehicles parking overnight at Walmart parking lots. Truck stops are usually filled with truckers at night and can be noisy but are usually safer than street parking.

In 2021, Love’s Travel Stops began the process of expanding its offerings by adding dedicated RV hookups at some of its travel stops. For complete details read Love’s RV Hookups: Comfortable RV Stays at Truck Stops?

You can also try overnight parking at other places like casinos. The national restaurant chain Cracker Barrel is also very RV-friendly. And outdoorsy big box stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, or Camping World also have large lots that can fit your RV, too! These retail stores usually have well-lit parking lots as well as security cameras. Some even have hookups or dump stations you can use for a small fee (sometimes they’re free, too!).

Dispersed camping at Quartzsite, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Dangerous RV parking spot #2: In the wild

Some campers want to save money by boondocking or dry camping on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in the backcountry. The U.S. and Canada have large swathes of public land in national forests where you can park for the night, totally free of charge. But even when you find a good spot, dispersed camping comes with its own hazards.

Wild animals are one of the biggest risks of backcountry RV camping. For instance, if you set up a campsite and decide to cook after a long travel day you might attract scavengers like raccoons, possums, and skunks. Even taking the food inside doesn’t always help because they can still smell the lingering aromas.

In the worst-case RV parking scenarios, you might even attract a bear!

Most bears have trouble getting into a locked RV but that doesn’t stop them from trying. You might sustain major bear damage to your RV siding, doors, and windows. Plus, it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep when there’s a huge predator at your campsite.

The wild is also a dangerous place to park your RV because you tend to be isolated from other people. Dispersed wild camping can be nice if you’re looking for peace and quiet but if nobody is around things can quickly go south in the event of an emergency. Boondockers tend to camp far away from other people so you won’t be able to call for help if your RV breaks down, a natural disaster strikes, or animal predators give you problems.

Camping at Frog City RV Park, Duson, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Dangerous RV parking spot #3: Risky campsites

Another dangerous RV parking choice is risky campsites in geologically active terrain.

Just because RVers stay in an established campground or RV park doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re safe. Some campgrounds are poorly maintained or located in geologic hazard zones. 

Be thoughtful as you select a campground and a specific site for the night. Consider these external factors that may lead to trouble.

Dispersed camping near Scenic Highway 24, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Questions to ask before choosing a campsite

Is your site level?

An unstable campsite can lead to disaster if your vehicle starts rolling or if the ground gives way. That’s because landslides are another potential danger if your site is on a slope or located in a hilly area previously burned by wildfire. One bad rain and your RV could get wiped out.

What do your surroundings look like?

Are there many dead trees in the area? Is the foliage particularly dry or overgrown? These can be fire hazards so you should stay away from potential kindling material. In a wind storm, dead trees can drop branches on top of your RV.

Is there water nearby?

We all love a scenic lake view or the comforting white noise of a nearby river. But bodies of water can flood in heavy rainfall. If your site is too close to the water line you might get trapped in mud or several inches of water. Proper drainage is crucial. Always put some distance between yourself and nearby water sources.

Three tips for keeping your RV (and you) safe

Between the streets, wilderness animals, and geographically risky campsites there are plenty of places that could qualify as the most dangerous places to park your RV for the night.

But in this RV life, sometimes you won’t have much of a choice. For example, your itinerary plans might fall through. Or you may desperately need to save money. In these cases, you might have to spend a few nights in these dangerous locations.

In this case, it’s important for you to protect yourself and your RV from potential harm. Nobody can prepare for every eventuality but there are some things you can do to stay safer.

Camping at Sand Hollow State Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV parking safety tip #1: Buy an RV security system

For starters, invest in a top rated RV security system. This is especially helpful if you spend a lot of time camping on the streets, in rest areas, or in parking lots. Urban areas tend to have higher crime rates so you need to protect your home on wheels.

Most security systems have cameras, alarms, and ways to contact the authorities if there’s a break-in. It’s also a good idea to upgrade the locking mechanisms on your windows. Switch to a keyless RV door lock too.

RV parking safety tip #2: Take precautions against wild animals

Curious animals may visit your campsite if they smell food or other strong scents. It’s hard to deter them completely but you can prevent damage and force them to keep their distance if you take a few precautions such as:

Consider storing your food away from your RV. Bear-proof containers could be a good investment if you frequently go boondocking. You could also place your food in hard-to-reach areas.

Place animal deterrents around your campsite. Most creatures will be too scared to approach you if you have motion-activated lights or foul-smelling deterrents.

Camping in Sequoia National Park, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV parking safety tip #3: Have backup communication devices

Nowadays most of us rely on our smartphones for everything. And for good reason! Our phones are more powerful than ever and are getting better all the time. But if you want to camp in remote areas, you might not always have a strong cell phone signal.

If something happens while you’re camping in a dangerous place, you’ll need a reliable way to call for help. In this case, you have a few options:

A satellite phone is a good investment. This device communicates via satellites not cell towers. It can connect you to help when no cellular connectivity is present. They’re also quite sturdy so you don’t have to worry about breaking them.

Buy a GPS tracker, satellite messenger device, and subscription. A GPS tracking device and a host of satellite messenger devices and associated subscriptions can let you send status updates with location information and an SOS/distress option that will immediately dispatch emergency crews in the event of a life-threatening emergency. 

Flares, smoke signals, and other non-electronic communication methods can also come in handy. Consider taking a wilderness survival course to learn how to use these methods.

Camping at Smokian RV Park, Soap Lake, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Final thoughts about safer RV parking

Camping in an RV is so much fun because you have endless options for overnight RV parking. But there are certain places like rest stops on highways that you may want to avoid. But if you can’t get to a campground, you always have options. Just keep an eye out for these dangerous places to sleep in your RV, so you can make smarter decisions when you choose a place to park.

For more on safety, check out:

Worth Pondering…

As Yogi Berra said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

April 2024 RV Manufacturer Recalls: 17 Recalls Involving 11 RV Manufactures

Is your RV on the list? A manufacturer recall can create a safety risk if not repaired.

Your recreational vehicle may be involved in a safety recall and may create a safety risk for you and your passengers. Safety defects must be repaired by a certified dealer at no cost to you. However, if left unrepaired, a potential safety defect in your vehicle could lead to injury or even death.

Thousands of RVs are affected by the latest RV recalls issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Before you head out for spring camping, check the latest roundup of NHTSA recalls to see if your RV is affected.

What is a recall?

It’s always important to keep up with the latest recalls, no matter how small the issue may appear to be. Each week, NHTSA publishes the latest information on recalls from minor to major defects. NHTSA releases its most recent list of recalls each Monday.

When a manufacturer or the NHTSA determines that a recreational vehicle or item of RV equipment creates an unreasonable risk to safety or fails to meet minimum safety standards, the manufacturer is required to fix that vehicle or equipment at no cost to the consumer.

Per strict NHTSA protocols, manufacturers will next notify its dealer partners of the recall notice. Each notice will include details of the affected vehicles as well as the appropriate remedy.

It should be noted that RV recalls are related to vehicle safety and not product quality. NHTSA has no interest in an air conditioner failing to cool or slide out failing to extend or retract—unless they can be directly attributed to product safety.

Information on previous safety recalls follow:

NHTSA announced 17 recall notices during April 2024. These recalls involved 11 recreational vehicle manufacturers—Forest River (4 recalls), Keystone (3 recalls), Winnebago (2 recalls), Cruiser (1 recall), Heartland (1 recall), Jayco (1 recall), Airstream (1 recalls), Tiffin (1 recall), ORV (1 recall), REV (1 recall), and Alliance (1 recall).

Leaf Verde RV Park, Buckeye, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River (Forest River) is recalling certain 2024 Aurora and Coachmen Catalina Travel Trailers. Improper routing may leave the distribution panel wire unprotected from the battery.

Dealers will reroute the distribution panel wire to the breaker side of the mini breaker, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed May 15, 2024. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-574-825-4995. Forest River’s number for this recall is 203-1757.

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2024 Cardinal and Wildcat Fifth Wheels trailers. The operator may utilize the rear towing hitch without locking the turning point fifth wheel hitch into the “Conventional Transport” position.

Dealers will install a warning label to the hitch and rear wall of the vehicle, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed May 22, 2024. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-574-296-7700. Forest River’s number for this recall is 15-1755.

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Forest River Cardinal, Wildcat, 2018-2019 Cedar Creek, 2021 Columbus, 2023 Continental Cargo, 2021-2024 Dynamax DX3, Dynamax Dynaquest XL, Dynamax Isata, Forest River IBEX, 2022-2024 Dynamax Europa, Forest River NOBO, 2022-2023 Forest River Sandstorm, Shockwave, Stealth, and 2021-2023 Dynamax Force trailers. The LED backlight circuit board in the cooktop range may fail, causing the board to overheat.

Dealers will disconnect and cut the circuit powering the LED backlights and terminate the wiring, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed by May 27, 2024. Owners may contact Suburban customer service at 1-574-247-9235 option 5; Cardinal & Wildcat customer service at 1-574-296-7700; Cedar Creek customer service at 1-260-593-4000; Columbus customer service at 1-574-821-1487; Continental Cargo customer service at 1-254-420-0171; Dynamax customer service at 1-574-264-6664; Ibex & Nobo customer service at 1-574-6421612; and Sandstorm & Shockwave customer service at 1-909-873-3777. Forest River’s number for this recall is 51-1760.

The Barnyard RV Park, Lexington, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2024 Coachmen Catalina BCAT154RDX and Forest River Aurora BART15RDX travel trailers. The panel that isolates the cooktop from the furnace was not properly sealed during manufacturing, which could result in an inverted cooktop flame.

Dealers will seal the furnace from the cooktop, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed May 29, 2024. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-574-825-4995. Forest River’s number for this recall is 203-1766.

Keystone

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2021-2023 Montana, 2021-2022 Montana High Country, 2022-2024 Fuzion, 2021 Crossroads Cruiser, and 2024 Dutchmen Aspen Trail LOFT vehicles. The LED backlight circuit board in the cooktop range may fail, causing the board to overheat.

Dealers can remove the LED backlights or terminate the circuit for the red LED lights, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed May 17, 2024. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 24-452.

Keystone

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2024 Crossroads Sunset trail 20SS, 253RB, 258RD, 272BH, and 330SI travel trailers. A window roller shade may have been incorrectly installed near the stove, which can allow the shade to contact the burner.

Dealers will remove the roller shade and install the correct mini blind, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed May 23, 2024. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 24-454.

Sand Hollow State Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keystone

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2024 Keystone Retreat, Residence 40CLDL, Residence 401CLDL, Dutchmen Aspen Trail 421LOFT, and Crossroads Hampton 390PVL trailers. The equalizer may provide inadequate clearance, allowing the axle to contact the frame.

Dealers will replace the equalizer, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed May 31, 2024. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-8696-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 24-453.

Winnebago

Winnebago Towable (Winnebago) is recalling certain 2024 Access travel trailers. The electrical circuits for the GFCI outlets may have been wired incorrectly, which can cause the outlets to not be protected.

Dealers will rewire the GFCI circuitry by adding a GFCI outlet upstream of the outlets that need protection, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed May 13, 2024. Owners may contact Winnebago customer service at 1-574-825-5280 ext. 5220. Winnebago’s number for this recall is CAM0000036.

Winnebago

Winnebago Towable (Winnebago) is recalling certain 2022-2024 Voyage, Micro Minnie, Micro Minnie FLX, Hike 200 and Minnie travel trailers. The LED backlight circuit board in the cooktop range may fail, causing the board to overheat.

Dealers will replace the cooktop control panel, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed May 30, 2024. Owners may contact Winnebago customer service at 1-574-825-5280 ext. 5220. Winnebago’s number for this recall is CAM0000035. This recall supersedes NHTSA recall 24V-054.

Countryside RV Park, Dillon, Montana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cruiser

Cruiser RV (Cruiser) is recalling certain 2023-2024 Avenir, Embrace, Shadow Cruiser, Radiance, Stryker, MPG, 2024 Twilight travel trailers, and 2024 Essence fifth wheels. The LED backlight circuit board in the cooktop range may fail, causing the board to overheat.

Dealers will disconnect and cut the circuit powering the LED backlights and terminate the wiring, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed May 17, 2024. Owners may contact Cruiser customer service at 1-574-206-7920.

Heartland

Heartland Recreational Vehicles, LLC (Heartland) is recalling certain 2023 Elk Ridge, Lithium, 2024 Eddie Bauer, Corterra, 2023-2024 Big Country, Big Horn, South Fork, Fuel, Gravity, Mallard, North Trail, Sundance, Milestone, Pioneer, Prowler, Torque, and Trail Runner fifth wheels and travel trailers. The LED backlight circuit board in the cooktop range may fail, causing the board to overheat.

Dealers will disconnect and cut the circuit powering the LED backlights and terminate the wiring, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed May 17, 2024. Owners may contact Heartland customer service at 1-877-262-8032.

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2020-2022 Entegra Esteem, Odyssey, and Jayco Greyhawk, Redhawk, and Greyhawk Prestige motorhomes. An inadequate connection between the power steering pressure line and the brake hydroboost unit may result in a sudden loss of power steering fluid.

Dealers will replace the power steering pressure line and the hydro boost jumper line, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed May 30, 2024. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-283-8267.

Monte Vista RV Resort, Mesa, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Airstream

Airstream, Inc. (Airstream) is recalling certain 2024 Pottery Barn travel trailers. The rear axle weight on the Federal Certification label is incorrect. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 110, “Tire Selection and Rims.”

Airstream will mail corrected labels to owners, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed June 4, 2024. Owners may contact Airstream customer service at 1-877-596-6505 or 1-937-596-6111 ext. 7401 or 7411.

Tiffin

Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc. (Tiffin) is recalling certain 2022-2024 Allergro Open Road, Allergro RED 360, 2024 Byway, and 2022 Phaeton motorhomes. The LED backlight circuit board in the cooktop range may fail, causing the board to overheat.

Dealers can remove the LED backlights or terminate the circuit for the red LED lights, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed by May 31, 2024. Owners may contact Tiffin customer service at 1-256-356-8661. Tiffin’s number for this recall is TIF-138.

ORV

Outdoors RV Manufacturing (ORV) is recalling certain 2022-2024 Titanium trailers. The LED backlight circuit board in the cooktop range may fail, causing the board to overheat.

Dealers will disconnect and cut the circuit powering the LED backlights and terminate the wiring, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed May 17, 2024. Owners may contact ORV customer service at 1-541-962-1866. ext. 222.

Settlers Point RV Resort, Washington, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

REV

REV Recreation Group (REV) is recalling certain 2022-2024 Fleetwood Discovery and Holiday Rambler Endeavor motorhomes, equipped with Remco 50-54 Rebel 4.0 GPM water pumps. The water pump harness was designed with inadequate fuse protection.

Dealers will inspect and relocate the water pump circuit to a properly sized fuse as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed June 16, 2024. Owners may contact REV customer service at 1-800-509-3417. REV’s number for this recall is 240416REV.

Alliance

Alliance RV, LLC (Alliance) is recalling certain 2022 Paradigm 295MK, and Avenue 32RLS fifth wheels. The freshwater tank may be installed incorrectly, which can result in the tank detaching from the vehicle.

Dealers will remount the freshwater tank, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed June 17, 2024. Owners may contact Alliance customer service at 1-574-218-7165.

Please Note: This is the 62nd in a series of posts relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t.

—Martin Van Buren

November 2023 RV Manufacturer Recalls: 13 Recalls Involving 8 RV Manufactures

A manufacturer recall can create a safety risk if not repaired

Your recreational vehicle may be involved in a safety recall and may create a safety risk for you or your passengers. Safety defects must be repaired by a certified dealer at no cost to you. However, if left unrepaired, a potential safety defect in your vehicle could lead to injury or even death.

What is a recall?

It’s always important to keep up with the latest recalls, no matter how small the issue may appear to be. Each week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) publishes the latest information on recalls from minor to major defects. NHTSA releases its most recent list of recalls each Monday.

When a manufacturer or the NHTSA determines that a recreational vehicle or item of RV equipment creates an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet minimum safety standards, the manufacturer must fix that vehicle or equipment at no cost to the consumer.

It should be noted that RV recalls are related to vehicle safety and not product quality. NHTSA has no interest in an air conditioner failing to cool or slide out failing to extend or retract—unless they can be directly attributed to product safety.

Information on previous safety recalls follow:

NHTSA announced 13 recall notices in November 2023. These recalls involved 8 recreational vehicle manufacturers—Forest River (4 recalls), Winnebago (2 recalls), Gulf Stream (1 recall), Jayco (2 recalls), Thor Motor Coach (1 recall), Triple E (1 recall), Airstream (1 recall), and Newell (1 recall).

Poche’s RV Park, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2023-2024 Sandstorm, Stealth, and 2024 Shockwave travel trailers. The wire routed from the 50AMP inlet to the transfer switch in the distribution panel is the incorrect gauge, which may cause the wire to melt.

Dealers will replace the incorrect 10-gauge wire with a 6-gauge wire, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed December 13, 2023. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-951-357-2327. Forest River’s number for this recall is 67-1700.

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2018-2024 Coachmen Adrenaline and 2020-2024 Work and Play fifth wheels and travel trailers. The side marker lights may not reflect light as intended, which can make it difficult for other drivers to see the trailer. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 108, “Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment.”

Dealers will install reflector stickers, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed December 13, 2023. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-574-825-6302. Forest River’s number for this recall is 320-1697.

Sundance 1 RV Resort, Casa Grande, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2022-2024 Forester and Sunseeker motorhomes. The park brake signal wire may not be connected to the house battery control center, which can allow the slideroom to extend during transit.

Dealers will connect the signal wire to the battery control center, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed December 27, 2023. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-574-206-7600. Forest River’s number for this recall is 34-1707.

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2022-2024 Forester and Sunseeker motorhomes. The park brake signal wire may not be connected to the house battery control center, which can allow the slideroom to extend during transit.

Dealers will connect the signal wire to the battery control center, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed December 27, 2023. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-574-206-7600. Forest River’s number for this recall is 34-1707.

Winnebago

Winnebago Industries, Inc. (Winnebago) is recalling certain 2024 Solis motorhomes. The fasteners that secure the sliding seat in the extended position are missing. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 207, “Seating Systems.”

Dealers will install the missing fasteners, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed December 23, 2023. Owners may contact Winnebago customer service at 1-641-585-6939 or 1-800-537-1885. Winnebago’s number for this recall is 180.

Winnebago

Winnebago Towable (Winnebago) is recalling certain 2017-2018 Micro Minnie travel trailers. The murphy bed may raise unintentionally if there is weight at the head of the bed and the button strap is not properly latched.

Dealers will install a new automatic latching mechanism, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed January 5, 2024. Owners may contact Winnebago customer service at 1-574-825-5280 ext. 5220. Winnebago’s number for this recall is CAM0000031.

Palm Springs Joshua Tree KOA, Desert Hot Springs, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Gulf Stream

Gulf Stream Coach Inc. (Gulf Stream) is recalling certain 2024 Conquest, Independence, Trailmaster, Friendship, and Ameri-Lite, model 177BH, travel trailers. The Federal certification label may contain incorrect tire size and tire pressure information. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 110, “Tire Selection and Rims,” and 49 CFR Part 567, “Certification.”

Gulf Stream will mail replacement labels to owners, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed December 4, 2023. Owners may contact Gulf Stream at 1-800-289-8787.

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2023-2024 Jayco White Hawk travel trailers. A window may be incorrectly marked as an emergency exit.

Dealer will replace the red handle and red screen knob and remove the exit decal, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed December 8, 2023. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-283-8267. Jayco’s number for this recall is 9901596.

Sea Breeze RV Park, Portland, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2023-2024 Entegra Emblem, Vision, Vision XL, Jayco Alante, Precept, and Precept Prestige motorhomes. Corrosion in the Smart Data Link Connector (SDLC) may interfere with the Controller Area Network (CAN) communication, resulting in an inoperative instrument panel. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard numbers 101, “Control and Displays” and 105, “Hydraulic and Electric Brake Systems.”

Ford dealers will install a wire harness connector, and inspect and replace the SDLC module, as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed December 15, 2023. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-283-8267.

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain 2021-2024 Thor Rize and Scope motorhomes. The solar panel frame may fracture around the mounting bolts, allowing the panel to detach from the vehicle.

The remedy is currently under development. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed January 9, 2024. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-877-855-2867. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000298

Triple E

Triple E Recreational Vehicles (Triple E) is recalling certain 2023-2024 Triple E Wonder W24RTB, W24RL, and W24FTB motorhomes. The wire insulation on the 120-volt wire routed to the air conditioner may become damaged, which can cause electrical arcing.

Dealers will install a grommet and 2 screws, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 21, 2023. Owners may contact Triple E customer service at 1-877-992-9906. Triple E’s number for this recall is CA#10438-1.

Airstream

Airstream, Inc. (Airstream) is recalling certain 2019-2024 Interstate 19, Interstate 24, Interstate 24X, Rangeline and Atlas motorhomes. The Federal Certification Label and Tire Placard may indicate incorrect tire pressure and tire size. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 110, “Tire Selection and Rims.”

Airstream will mail corrected labels, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed January 16, 2024. Owners may contact Airstream customer service at 1-877-596-6505 or 1-937-596-6111 ext. 7401 or 7411.

Newell

Newell Coach Corp. (Newell) is recalling certain 2024 P50 motor coaches. The low beam headlights may be installed incorrectly.

Dealers will adjust the low beam headlights, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a schedule for recall notification. Owners may contact Newell customer service at 1-888-363-9355.

Please Note: This is the 57th in a series of posts relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t.

—Martin Van Buren

The Real Dangers of Camping in an RV Park or Campground

Sure, you’ve thought about theft and petty crimes but there are other dangers of camping in an RV park or campground you probably haven’t considered. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe.

We know that it’s important to be on the alert for petty crimes and should lock our doors and windows. But have you considered the more subtle but real dangers of camping in an RV park or campground?

I’m talking about fire-starting, stomach-upsetting, water-logged dangers that too many campers often overlook.

In this post I’ll discuss five real dangers to be aware of. Then, you’ll know what to look for and what questions to ask when booking your next camping site.

PLUS, at the end, I’ll link to other articles on staying safe while enjoying the RV lifestyle.

CreekFire RV Resort, Savannah, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Of course, some of these dangers are more prevalent in different parts of the country. You’re not likely to encounter tropical storms or hurricanes in South Dakota, for instance. However, I’m sure you can apply the wisdom of each danger to whatever location you’re traveling to.

The point of this article is not to scare you but to PREPARE you for less-obvious dangers you may not have considered. I LOVE camping and think everyone can and should enjoy it too.

So, whether you’re a solo traveler, a senior, a young newbie, or a family with a gaggle of kids, don’t let these dangers deter you from camping. Just consider them and how best to prepare for them as necessary.

Hacienda RV Resort, Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Bad electrical

Unfortunately, it’s far too common for electrical hookups not to be properly maintained. RV parks that are under poor management or laissez-fair attitude often delay electrical maintenance and repair.

That leaves RVers at risk of using a faulty outlet and two big dangers. The first big (and costly) danger is a power surge that fries your electrical system. 

The second big danger of bad electrical is FIRE! It’s no surprise that sparks or surges of electricity can catch your RV on fire. It’s important to know your RV fire safety.

That’s why I recommend you always inspect your electrical connection before you plug in. Does it look badly unmaintained? Do you see any exposed wires? If it’s scary-looking, you probably should be concerned.

I also recommend you always use an Electric Management System like the units available from Progressive Electric Management Systems or Surge Guard.

Dakota Campground, Mitchell, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Unclean water

Living in the U. S. and Canada, we often take safe drinking water for granted. In many of our homes, we can drink straight from the tap. But that doesn’t mean we can do the same while camping.

Flint, Michigan has certainly served as a warning to all Americans that we should think twice before blindly trusting any water spout.

Unclean water is one of the top unseen dangers of camping and should be taken seriously. Do you really want to chance ruining your trip with a sick stomach at the very least (or possibly far worse)? 

I suggest always using a water filter for your RV.

Whispering Oaks RV Park, Weimar, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Bad site location for flooding

This camping danger applies to campground locations as well as individual campsites. You can unwittingly park in a flood zone and not be properly prepared if a storm hits. 

Granted, this isn’t usually a year-round risk. However, at the very least, you want to be aware of the possible necessity to pack up and move if a big storm is headed your way.

It’s important to learn flood basics and note where your campsite is in relation to:

  • Rivers and streams
  • Mountains and steep hills
  • Rocky and shallow clay soils

Note that notably dry locations like Arizona are not immune to flooding! In fact, they can be more at risk of flash floods. So, take heavy rains seriously wherever you’re camping. 

Be sure to check that out Flash Floods: Safety Tips for RVers.

Leaf Verde RV Park, Buckeye, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Unsafe neighborhoods

RV park websites can paint a picturesque setting that may be located in an unsafe neighborhood. Theft and violent crimes may prevail in the area and you’d have no idea until you drive through and get that queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach.

While RV parks and campgrounds are generally very safe, you should always be aware of your surroundings. And you do need to take extra precautions whenever parking overnight at truck stops, Walmarts, or other lot-docking locations.

You can easily research local crime in the area online. SpotCrime.com is one such helpful resource you can use to search by address or state. For more peace of mind wherever you travel, you can install an RV security system.

But please be assured that theft isn’t as common at RV parks as one might think and violent crimes are even rarer. So, be aware, but don’t be scared!

RV Park at Rolling Hills Casino, Corning, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Unstaffed RV park office

You might think of an unstaffed RV park office as an inconvenience but it also poses a safety risk. An unstaffed RV park or campground is also more at risk of crime since it’s not being monitored 24/7.

Having someone familiar with the campground and nearby area can be vitally helpful in an emergency. This is especially true if you’re a solo RVer. 

Regardless of whether RV park or campground staff is available at all times, I do have a life-saving recommendation for you! 

Always keep the campground address and your campsite number within reach, like on a post-it on your fridge. Plus, the name and address of the nearest hospital! Having this info at your fingertips can save precious time when trying to get emergency services to your location.

Grandma’s RV Camping, Elizabethtown, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Additional safety concerns while RVing

The above are common dangers of camping wherever you travel but there is one more safety issue I want to leave you with.

Fire safety

Fire represents a risk that RVers need to keep top of mind. An RV fire can spread in a fast and furious manner leading to devastating damage, injury, and even loss of life.

RVs have numerous potential sources of fires—RV refrigerators, propane appliances, space heaters, washers and driers, gasoline or diesel engines, and electrical wiring that take a beating when traveling on less-than-ideal highways. So, every RV owner needs to develop a safety plan that covers how to deal with a fire.

I have a few helpful articles on developing a plan to deal with RV fires:

And finally the Safety List For when your RV is Parked.

Worth Pondering…

Take care of yourself. You’ll find it hard to get a replacement.

How to Prevent and Detect Carbon Monoxide in Your RV

We need to know how to detect carbon monoxide in our RV. This is serious if you want to stay safe.

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that you don’t expect to encounter when traveling the great outdoors. However, some RV appliances emit carbon monoxide which can be dangerous to your health. It’s important to be aware of the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to prevent it while enjoying the RV lifestyle.

If you suspect CO poisoning, call 911 or a health care professional right away.

There are fewer topics more important than how to detect carbon monoxide in your RV. So pardon me for this just-the-facts article.

With the large number of newbies embracing the RV Lifestyle, we need to be aware of the dangers of carbon dioxide poisoning. Besides, even longtime RVers need to refresh themselves on how to detect carbon monoxide in their RV and make sure all our CO-emitting appliances are well maintained.

Be aware of CO when using a space heater © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Dangers of CO

Several years ago while on an extended road trip we heard an incessant beeping late in the evening. I had immediately assumed it was the smoke detector but it wasn’t the source. It took a few minutes (in my sleepy haze) to realize it must be the carbon monoxide detector.

Thankfully, the beeping was just a warning that the CO detector’s battery was low. If it had been a warning for CO saturation, my sleepy haze could have been a sign of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when carbon monoxide builds up in the blood. When too much carbon monoxide is in the air, the body replaces the oxygen in the red blood cells with carbon monoxide. This can lead to serious tissue damage or even death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 50,000 people end up in the emergency room each year due to accidental CO poisoning. Worse, at least 430 people died. 

Carbon monoxide is a gas that has no odor, taste, or color. Burning fuels, including gas, wood, propane or charcoal, make carbon monoxide. Appliances and engines that aren’t well vented can cause the gas to build up to dangerous levels. A tightly enclosed space makes the buildup worse.

CO poisoning is a serious risk especially where any fuel-burning machines or appliances exist. As we all know, an RV itself is a fuel-burning machine with plenty of fuel-burning accessories in and around it.

Be aware of CO when using a space heater © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

CO risks in an RV

Essentially, any fuel-burning source contributes to the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. The following are common culprits for carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • The towing vehicle (if you have an RV trailer)
  • Generators
  • Gas ranges
  • Refrigerators
  • Camping stoves
  • Space heaters
  • Grills
  • Lanterns
  • Furnace

Some of these risks are located inside your RV but many surround your RV at camp. So, you need to be mindful of things that emit CO not only in your RV but around it. Including your neighbors’ equipment! The first rule in how to detect carbon monoxide in your RV is to be aware of the sources.

How to detect CO in your RV

You can’t! Humans cannot detect CO. It is odorless and colorless which is why it’s called the quiet killer. We must rely on sensors to detect CO.

Be certain your RV is outfitted with a CO detector. A quality CO detector costs from $15 to $30 and can save your life. Talk about a great investment!

If the detector senses an unsafe amount of CO, it will sound the alarm. The alarm is much louder than the beep that warns of a low battery. Since carbon monoxide makes people light-headed and pass out it takes a loud noise to bring them to their senses.

Be aware of CO when using a space heater © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Early signs of CO poisoning

Though humans can’t detect carbon monoxide, we certainly show symptoms of it. If you are aware of these symptoms, you can realize there’s a serious problem more quickly.  Besides the detector, the symptoms are another way to detect carbon monoxide in your RV. These symptoms progress fast. DO NOT try to shake them off!

Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms include:

  • Dull headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Loss of consciousness

Who’s at Risk of CO poisoning?

Everybody is at risk of CO poisoning though some succumb more quickly to its effects. CO poisoning is particularly dangerous for people who are sleeping, intoxicated, older, young, or unwell. Plus, humans aren’t the only ones at risk.

An intoxicated person could easily dismiss the symptoms as being tipsy. A sleeping person may lose consciousness before ever realizing any symptoms. The elderly, children, and infants are also more susceptible to CO poisoning. The poison will normally affect them more quickly due to their underdeveloped or weakened constitutions.

People with pre-existing health conditions will also be at greater risk. For example, people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or respiratory issues like asthma.

And don’t forget about your pets! Despite their superior sense of smell, dogs and other pets cannot detect carbon monoxide either. They will be affected much more quickly than humans due to their smaller size.

Be aware of CO when using a space heater © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How to prevent CO poisoning

CO poisoning is entirely preventable. You can protect yourself and your family by learning the symptoms of CO poisoning and how to prevent it.

Setting up a CO detection system is essential but it shouldn’t stop there. The best way to ensure your safety is to get ahead of the problem. This means you should take regular precautions to prevent CO from saturating your RV.

CO poisoning prevention tips

  • Replace the batteries in your CO detector every 6 months
  • Keep vents and flues free of debris; debris can block ventilation lines
  • Place your (portable) generator away from your RV and your neighbors
  • Point your generator’s exhaust away from your RV and your neighbors
  • Have your generator inspected and serviced by a qualified technician on an annual basis
  • Inspect your generator’s exhaust system every time you use it to ensure it’s not damaged
  • Keep doors, windows, and vents closed if in close proximity to a running vehicle or generator
  • NEVER use a range burner to heat your RV
  • When cooking with a gas range, use the range fan and keep a nearby window cracked open
  • Follow all directions and warning if using gas-powered heaters
  • Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside your RV
  • Be aware of your neighbor’s setup and make sure they are not directing any exhaust your way
  • Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year

RV safety

RVing is not without some degree of risk. Driving on the open road, dirt roads, and even being parked can cause damage to your RV and equipment. In some cases, damage or improper maintenance results only in repair costs. But other times, it can have catastrophic results.

Don’t overlook something as simple as replacing batteries in your CO detector. Don’t take safety for granted. Don’t cut corners by not clearing vents or by waiting for your CO detector to beep in the middle of the night. 

Since we’re talking safety, here are a few related articles:

Worth Pondering…

Safety and comfort comes with complacency and that’s never a good place to be working from.

—Elijah Wood

October 2023 RV Manufacturer Recalls: 14 Recalls Involving 7 RV Manufactures

A manufacturer recall can create a safety risk if not repaired

Your recreational vehicle may be involved in a safety recall and may create a safety risk for you or your passengers. Safety defects must be repaired by a certified dealer at no cost to you. However, if left unrepaired, a potential safety defect in your vehicle could lead to injury or even death.

What is a recall?

It’s always important to keep up with the latest recalls, no matter how small the issue may appear to be. Each week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) publishes the latest information on recalls from minor to major defects. NHTSA releases its most recent list of recalls each Monday.

When a manufacturer or the NHTSA determines that a recreational vehicle or item of RV equipment creates an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet minimum safety standards, the manufacturer is required to fix that vehicle or equipment at no cost to the consumer.

It should be noted that RV recalls are related to vehicle safety and not product quality. NHTSA has no interest in an air conditioner failing to cool or slide out failing to extend or retract—unless they can be directly attributed to product safety.

Information on previous safety recalls follow:

NHTSA announced 14 recall notices during October 2023. These recalls involved 7 recreational vehicle manufacturers—Forest River (6 recalls), Winnebago (3 recalls), Jayco (1 recall), Tiffin (1 recall), REV (1 recall), Brinkley RV (1 recall), Alliance RV (1 recall),

Las Quintas Oasis RV Park, Yuma, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2024 East to West Tandara and Blackthorn fifth wheels. The rear ladder may not be anchored properly in the rear wall, which can allow the ladder to detach.

Dealers will install a new ladder that mounts to the roof, free of charge. All affected trailers are still within dealer inventory and therefore no owner notification letters will be mailed. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-574-264-6664. Forest River’s number for this recall is 500-1678.

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2024 Salem and Wildwood fifth wheels. These vehicles may be missing a secondary emergency exit.

Dealers will install an emergency exit window, free of charge. All affected vehicles are still within dealer inventory and therefore no owner notification letters will be mailed. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-574-534-3167. Forest River’s number for this recall is 51-1683.

Red Bluff KOA, Red Bluff, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2021-2024 Coachmen Prism and 2023-2024 Coachmen Concord vehicles. The Federal Placard may indicate incorrect information about the number of seat belts.

Dealers will provide corrected labels, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 8, 2023. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service and Coachmen Concord & Prism at 1-574-825-8602. Forest River’s number for this recall is 51-1682.

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2024 Coachmen Brookstone, Chaparral, Chaparral Lite, and Shasta Phoenix fifth wheel trailers. The affected vehicles may have been manufactured with an incorrect fuse in the power distribution center.

Dealers will replace the fuse with a 15-AMP 12-Volt fuse, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-574-825-7101. Forest River’s number for this recall is 110-1686.

CrossFire RV Resort, Savannah, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2023-2024 Coachmen Cross Trail Class C motorhomes. The 12-volt refrigerator may dislodge and fall from its cabinet.

Dealers will reinstall and secure the 12-volt refrigerator, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 29, 2023. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-574-825-8487. Forest River’s number for this recall is 215-1691.

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2023-2024 Coachmen Concord Class C motorhomes. Installation of the air ride suspension system resulted in an incorrect pinion to driveline angle.

Dealers will install a shorter control arm, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 29, 2023. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-574-825-8602. Forest River’s number for this recall is 210-1693.

Hollywood Casino RV Park, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winnebago

Winnebago Industries, Inc. (Winnebago) is recalling certain 2022 Ekko, 2020-2022 Minnie Winnie, Spirit, 2020-2022 View, Navion, and 2020-2021 Vita, and Porto motorhomes. An incorrect hitch label was installed, which can lead to overloading of the vehicle.

Dealers will install the correct labels, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 14, 2023. Owners may contact Winnebago customer service at 1-641-585-6939 or 1-800-537-1885. Winnebago’s number for this recall is 177.

Winnebago

Winnebago Industries, Inc. (Winnebago) is recalling certain 2020-2024 Revel motorhomes. The cables near the lithium batteries may contact the battery hold-down brackets, which can damage the cables and cause a short circuit.

The remedy is currently under development. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 28, 2023. Owners may contact Winnebago customer service at 1-641-585-6939 or 1-800-537-1885. Winnebago’s number for this recall is 178.

Portland Fairview RV Park, Portland, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winnebago

Winnebago Industries, Inc. (Winnebago) is recalling certain 2020-2024 Era, View and Navion recreational vehicles. The retractable awning may extend unintentionally during transit.

The remedy is currently under development. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed December 15, 2023. Owners may contact Winnebago customer service at 1-641-585-6936 or 1-800-537-1885. Winnebago’s number for this recall is 179. This recall supersedes and expands NHTSA recall 22V-695.

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2024 Jayco Precept and Entegra Coach Vision XL motorhomes. The window shade may obstruct the emergency exit window opening.

Dealer will inspect and replace the window shade, as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 3, 2023. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-283-8267. Jayco’s number for this recall is 9903592.

Buckhorn RV Resort, Kerrville, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tiffin

Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc. (Tiffin) is recalling certain 2016-2024 Allegro Bus, and 2017-2024 Zephyr motorhomes. The 240-Volt induction cooktop may not be grounded, which can create an electrical shock hazard if the wires short-circuit.

Dealers will install a ground for the metal junction box, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 17, 2023. Owners may contact Tiffin customer service at 1-256-356-8661. Tiffin’s number for this recall is TIF-133.

REV

REV Recreation Group (REV) is recalling certain 2023-2024 Fleetwood Fortis and 2024 Holiday Rambler Invicta motorhomes. The exterior griddle may be stowed while still connected to the LP gas line.

Dealers will install a 90-degree fitting and quick disconnect on the griddle, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed December 1, 2023. Owners may contact REV customer service at 1-800-509-3417. REV’s number for this recall is 231002REV.

Columbia Sun RV Resort, Kennewick, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Brinkley RV

Brinkley RV is recalling certain 2024 Brinkley RV Model G fifth wheel toy haulers. The power control system was manufactured with undersized 10-gauge wire instead of 6-gauge wire.

Dealers will replace the power control system, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed October 16, 2023. Owners may contact Brinkley customer service at 1-574-501-4280. Brinkley’s number for this recall is PCI-2023-01.

Alliance RV

Alliance RV, LLC is recalling certain 2021-2023 Paradigm and Valor fifth wheel trailers. A wire connector from the solar panel ports to the solar charge lines may loosen.

Dealers will replace the existing wire nut with a new connector, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed December 19, 2023. Owners may contact Alliance customer service at 1-574-218-7165.

Please Note: This is the 56th in a series of posts relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t.

—Martin Van Buren

Is It Safe For RVers to Travel Under Current Global Threats?

Nerves are on edge as lone wolf terror threats are on the rise in the U.S. Is it safe for RVers to travel during such threats?

There’s been a lot of chatter in the RV community about whether it’s safe to travel amidst the global and national threats hitting the media. At the time of this writing, Homeland Security has not released a new advisory since the Israeli-Hamas conflict began.

However, the FBI Chief warns of growing lone wolf terror threats on US soil that we should “be on the lookout” for.

We are not altering any travel plans at this time. But, I want to share what information I’ve heard so you can make a better-informed decision for yourself.

RVs parked at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The FBI Chief’s warning

On Saturday, October 14, 2023, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned that the US is facing a growing number of terror threats especially from lone wolves who may be inspired by the ongoing Israeli-Hamas conflict. This warning came a day after the “Day of Jihad” declared by former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.

Wray recently spoke at the International Association of Police annual conference. According to FBI transcripts, Wray stated, “In this heightened environment, there’s no question we’re seeing an increase in reported threats, and we’ve got to be on the lookout, especially for lone actors who may take inspiration from recent events to commit violence of their own.”

Wray did not provide information on any specific domestic threats but he urged law enforcement officials to stay vigilant.

Hidden Lake RV Park, Beaumont, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Current travel advisories

Since the conflict started, the U.S. Department of State has (as expected) elevated the risk level of traveling to certain Middle Eastern cities and countries. You can see the threat levels on this interactive global map.

However, there has been no official increase in the threat level domestically. No specific domestic threats have been released to the public on a national level.

Columbia Riverfront RV Park, Woodland, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What does this mean for RVers?

Since there are no elevated domestic travel advisories, there is no official reason to alter any domestic RV trips you have planned. Traveling in Canada is still at the “exercise normal precautions” level, as well.

As with any road trip, you should always exercise precautions and it doesn’t hurt to be extra vigilant as this conflict continues. It is advisable to pay attention to the news for any credible domestic threats that may arise as this conflict continues.

Meaher State Park, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How can RVers prepare for potential threats?

If you want to “wish for the best but plan for the worst,” you can take standard safety precautions as you would any threat whether for a weather threat or international threat.

Here are some things you can do to help feel better prepared for an upcoming RV road trip in this social climate:

  • Review the cancellation policies on any upcoming RV park and campground reservations. That way, you know if and when you can cancel and how much you will be refunded if you decide to cancel.
  • Stock your RV with extra food and water.
  • Take inventory of your emergency supplies and restock accordingly.
  • Leave details of your travel plans and how to contact you with friends and family.

Now let’s look at several articles for more pressing dangers relating to the RV lifestyle.

Sunrise RV Park, Texarkana, Arkansas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

23 Must-Have Items for your RV Roadside Emergency Kit

Anyone who takes a road trip of any distance or duration should be prepared for potential roadside emergencies. But, RVers who tend to travel roads unknown with some frequency while carrying heavy loads in their home-on-wheels need to be well prepared for unexpected events that can occur based on weather, tire blow-outs, and other breakdowns. And they can (and often do!) happen in the most remote areas. This is why having an RV roadside emergency kit is so important.

Keep reading…

RV Driving Tips: 20 Ways to Stay Safe and Calm

Driving or towing an RV is an exciting experience but it’s a totally different ballpark compared to driving a car. You’re dealing with a lot more weight and bulk which will give you less control and precision on the road.

Keep reading…

Catalina State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How to Stay Safe When RVing

There is no question that the open road is a dangerous place. When you are traveling along highways and interstates, staying in campgrounds and RV parks, or exploring the wilds of the U.S. and Canada, it is easy to forget that fact. This is always a mistake.

If there is one piece of good advice I can give you and yours, it is to never, ever let down your guard.

While you cannot avoid every issue that might arise during your travels, advanced planning and trip preparation will help you to avoid or at least be prepared to deal with many of the problems that may arise along your journey.

Keep reading…

Best RV Roadside Assistance Plans for Peace of Mind

Whether you live your life on the road and your travel coach is your home or you’re a weekend warrior using your RV for short trips with the family, a roadside assistance plan is an absolute must and it’s important to have the best RV roadside assistance plan possible. We’ve never been without one… and we wouldn’t be without it.

Roadside assistance plans are like a type of insurance, though they’re not insurance. So what is a roadside assistance plan, who needs one, and what are the best RV roadside assistance plans available to us?

Keep reading…

Worth Pondering…

The road is there, it will always be there. You just have to decide when to take it.

—Chris Humphrey

RV Driving Tips: 20 Ways to Stay Safe and Calm

Driving or towing an RV is an exciting experience but it’s a totally different ballpark compared to driving a car. You’re dealing with a lot more weight and bulk which will give you less control and precision on the road.

Driving an RV, whether it’s a motorhome or a towable isn’t the same as driving a car. No matter what RV you operate there’s a learning curve to RV driving. RVs are usually longer and heavier, they take longer to stop, and there are more (and different types of) mirrors along with a host of other RV driving techniques to consider.

In today’s post, I’m offering 20 RV driving tips from the perspective of an RVer who has been driving 37- to 41-foot motorhomes (and towing a car) for nearly three decades. That would be me!

Whether you have a motorhome or a towable RV, driving can be a daunting experience for new RV owners especially if you choose a larger model. However, with practice and patience, you’ll be a pro at navigating parking lots, fuel stops, and narrow campsites in no time.

Here are 20 RV driving safety tips for beginners to help you stay safe on your RV journey.

Staying safe and calm © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Practice driving your RV

A big, empty parking lot is a great place to get acclimated. A set of small traffic cones can be a big help for safely practicing turns, backing, and maneuvering. The single biggest difference to get used to when driving an RV, versus a car, is length—the overall length of the vehicle(s), the length of the wheelbase, and the length of the rear overhang.

Yes, RVs weigh more than cars and they’re taller. Those factors do come into play but nothing is more critical than learning to manage the length of your RV. More about those topics below but practicing maneuvering in a safe environment is hugely helpful for new RV drivers.

2. Be a patient driver

Other drivers of large vehicles (think truck and bus drivers) are working often on a demanding schedule. As RVers, we’re able to (hopefully) operate at a more leisurely pace.

Whenever possible, allow sufficient time to arrive at your destination early enough that you won’t feel rushed. This will help you to maintain a better mindset throughout your travels—one of not feeling rushed or in a hurry… being patient. This not only provides a safer driving environment but a more relaxing one as well. Stay safe by avoiding the rush.

Staying safe and calm © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Pay attention to your speed

In the same vein as the previous tip, higher speeds can increase stress and reduce safety. Things happen faster at higher speeds reducing the amount of time you have to think and react.

There’s no specific speed that’s right for every RVer. But since the demise of the 55 mph national maximum speed limit in the late 80s, some speed limits are now far higher. Many U.S. states especially in the West have maximum speed limits of 75-80 mph. But that doesn’t mean you have to drive that fast!

RVing shouldn’t be a race. In my opinion, there’s no RV on the road that isn’t safer being operated at a speed slower than those very high limits.

There is no one speed that works for every RV, every RVer, and in every situation? But you’ll know when you’re traveling too fast when your heart jumps into your throat or your right foot buries the brake pedal. But by then it might be too late. Take your time, both speed-wise and in figuring out what speeds are safest for you, your RV, and current driving conditions.

If you’re not sure about correct speeds when you first start driving an RV, figure it out from the bottom up. By that I mean it’s better to realize that you’re driving a little slower than you can safely manage rather than the other way around! Take your time and enjoy the journey.

Staying safe and calm © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Keep to the right whenever possible and appropriate

In general, the best place for a large vehicle on a multi-lane highway is the right lane. A primary tenet of Defensive Driving is to leave your self an escape route in the event another vehicle should come into conflict with yours.

The right lane is adjacent to the shoulder providing some built-in advantages:

  • It’s usually empty allowing a safe space to take evasive action if needed
  • Since the shoulder isn’t a travel lane the threat of another vehicle moving into your lane from the right is reduced
  • Because drivers in North America sit on the left side of their vehicles, the right side is the weak side due to your reduced ability to see what’s directly alongside or approaching your rig at an angle

Keeping the right side of your vehicle as clear of collision threats as possible provides better safety. Being alongside the (often empty) shoulder also provides a place to go should a mechanical problem require you to move off the road.

Of course, there are exit and/or entrance ramps to consider. If you’re approaching one but you’re not exiting be alert for vehicles entering the highway. If traffic allows, move over one lane to the left to avoid conflict.

If you’re traveling on a highway with three or more lanes of traffic in each direction, consider staying one lane over (the middle lane of a three-lane highway, the second lane on a 4- or 5-lane highway) in areas with a high concentration of exit and entrance ramps. That’s especially helpful during high-traffic periods preventing you from having to repeatedly change lanes to avoid traffic merging onto the highway.

Staying safe and calm © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Know your rig’s braking power and plan accordingly

Large, heavy vehicles take longer to stop than passenger cars. That requires thinking ahead—and planning ahead. Keep your eyes scanning far down the road; be alert for brake lights in the distance or other indicators of slowing traffic or potential conflict. Use your height advantage to see as far ahead as possible. Slow down earlier and avoid braking hard.

Besides the longer stopping distances required to stop an RV you should also keep in mind a disadvantage that your large vehicle creates simply by being on the road—other drivers can’t see around you. That virtually guarantees that someone behind you isn’t able to spot potential conflicts up ahead.

But we’ve all seen how simple facts like lack of visibility seem to have little to no effect on other drivers. They often tailgate vehicles that block their view, like RVs. If you’re being tailgated especially by someone who can’t see around you (your vehicle is big!) the last thing you want to do is stop suddenly. Increasing your following distance is the best course of action to prevent you from having to stop suddenly and potentially getting rear-ended.

An additional braking consideration with RVs is the fact that you’re carrying around cabinets full of dishes, glassware, food, toiletries, and many other items not normally stored in a passenger car. Stopping suddenly can lead to things falling out of cabinets the next time they’re opened as contents may have shifted.

Staying safe and calm © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. Keep your distance

Maintaining a safe following distance is one of the most basic safety practices to which any driver can adhere. Rather than attempt to guesstimate the number of feet between you and the vehicle ahead, use time instead.

Passenger cars generally follow the 2-second rule: Watch the vehicle in front of you pass an object (such as the shadow of an overpass or a utility pole alongside the roadway) and count one thousand one, one thousand two and you shouldn’t reach that same spot before two full seconds have passed.

Since RVs and other large vehicles take longer to stop, use a 4-second following distance. When the roads are wet, use a 6-second following distance. With snowy- or ice-covered roads, use 8 seconds. Keep in mind that these are minimum following distances. There is nothing wrong with leaving even more space between you and the vehicle ahead of you.

If you’re thinking “If I leave that much room in front of me, other vehicles will simply move over into that space,” you’re correct. They will. Other drivers will indeed change lanes in front of you (often right in front of you). But the only way to prevent that is to fill the space between you and the car ahead yourself. But that is tailgating—something that’s so critically important to avoid.

The best practice is to maintain a speed on multi-lane highways that’s slightly slower than passing traffic… about 2-3 mph is usually good. That way, vehicles that change lanes in front of you will continue to move ahead, re-opening that all-important safety cushion directly in front of your RV without you having to do anything about it.

Staying safe and calm © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. Follow the 330 or 3/3/3 travel rule

The 330 rule refers to a policy of driving no more than 300 miles a day and arriving at your destination no later than 3:30 pm. That allows plenty of time to set up camp in daylight, get to know the amenities of the campground and the surrounding area, and further relax after your day of driving.

When we first started, I would hit the road and keep hitting the road until we crammed as much into one day as possible. In my mind, the more we drove, the more we would see, and the more fun we’d have. I recall a 2,000-mile trip we made in three and one-half days. And yes, it was tiring and exhausting! And, I vowed never again!

You may have heard of another RV rule of thumb called the 3-3-3 Rule. This rule is similar to the 330 Rule.

The 3-3-3 Rule is as follows:

  • Don’t drive more than 300 miles in a day
  • Stop by 3 pm (or stop every 3 hours, depending on who you ask)
  • Stay at a campground for a minimum of 3 days

I won’t go as far as saying every RVer needs to abide by the 330 rule. However, I will say that I do highly recommend it. I know that from my own experiences (and mistakes) and from countless RVers who say the same, the 330 rule makes traveling more enjoyable—and safer.

Read my earlier post for more on the 330 Rule.

Staying safe and calm © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

8. Don’t overload your rig

It’s very important to take note of the weight limits associated with your particular RV and to stay within those limits. When you overload an RV you’re putting yourself and everyone traveling with and around you at risk.

Both weight and weight distribution are important. RVs have several specific weight limits. There’s the maximum allowable weight of the loaded RV itself (GVWR, or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating).

There’s the maximum allowable weight for the entire rig which includes anything being towed (GCWR, or Gross Combined Weight Rating). Then there’s the maximum weight capacity on each axle (GAWR, or Gross Axle Weight Rating). Be sure to learn and follow your rig’s weight limits and avoid overloading it.

9. Don’t drive in high winds

Many RVers learn this one the hard way by traveling down the highway in high winds at too high a speed for the conditions. Remember that RVs are tall and frequently flat-sided. The aerodynamics of many rigs lends themselves to being blown about to some degree by high winds.

And while you may feel secure traveling down the highway on a relatively windy day, you may find yourself hitting a crosswind and hanging on with white knuckles for all you’re worth.

Avoid this at all costs. Travel in safe conditions. If you find yourself with a very windy day ahead either stay put or take a slow drive over to the beach or a field to have a picnic and fly a kite!

If you must travel during windy conditions, the most important adjustment to make is to slow down! The faster you’re moving when your rig gets hit with a gust from the side, the more likely you are to lose control of your vehicle. And the more severe the consequences will be.

Read my earlier post for tips on driving an RV in windy conditions.

Staying safe and calm © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10. Don’t drive distracted

Distracted driving is the cause of far too many accidents… many thousands annually.

Driving distracted can include anything from checking your phone to eating, to driving with a pet in your lap. Distracted driving refers to anything that takes your attention away from the road and the task at hand—safe driving.

Any non-driving activity that you engage in while operating your vehicle reduces your safety and that of your passengers and fellow travelers on the road around you.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), texting is the most dramatic driving distraction: “Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.”

Don’t drive distracted! Your life and the lives of those around you are depending on your vigilance. That’s especially true for large vehicles that take longer to stop and maneuver than a passenger car. And doubly true for the largest vehicles capable of inflicting truly substantial damage if not kept under control at all times.

11. Never drive impaired

Impaired driving refers to driving while under the influence of anything that has the potential to degrade your reaction time as a driver, reduce your attention, or impact your driving ability in any way. This would include substances like alcohol or marijuana as well as narcotics and even prescription or over-the-counter medications that have the potential to impair a driver.

When you get into your RV to drive or into your vehicle to tow an RV, you need to be at your absolute best. And it’s always best not to self-determine whether you’re fit to drive. If you’ve had a drink or two, no matter how you feel, don’t drive. If you’ve been exposed to a recreational drug or a medication with the potential for altering your mind or reaction time, don’t drive. Read the labels on all medications. Benedryl is a good example of an over-the-counter medication that can have a significant impact on reaction time.

Part of the responsibility of driving a large vehicle is being aware of your own abilities. If you’re not sure you’re up to the task of continuing, stop as soon as safely possible.

Just don’t drive if there’s a potential for you to be impaired at all. It’s really that simple.

Staying safe and calm © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

12. Use proper steering technique

Turn the steering wheel slowly or partially when rounding a curve in the road (as opposed to making a sharp turn). This maintains the right hand on the right side of the wheel and the left hand on the left side of the wheel at all times.

Keep your hands on the outside of the steering wheel rim. This avoids getting your hands crossed up or reaching into the wheel where one of the spokes is in the way of your grasping it.

13. Learn proper mirror adjustment and use

It’s essential when RV driving to be able to see well all around you and to avoid blind spots. Depending on the size of your rig you’re driving or towing, this can be somewhat complicated but once you become comfortable with proper mirror adjustment and use, you’ll be amazed at how much it assists your safe driving.

Staying safe and calm © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

14. Monitor the weather and travel accordingly

This one is also known as Embrace Plan B.

Monitor the weather in your current area and along the path you intend to travel. If weather conditions are likely to impede an easy-going driving experience, make a plan B and settle into it. But be ready to adapt if conditions change.

RV driving means understanding that your plans can change at any given time. Not being rigidly controlled by a plan is part of RVing and its great! I know that most RVers aren’t full-timers and may have limited time to enjoy their RV vacation. But within those constraints, do your best to avoid traveling when conditions increase the risk to you and your RV.

15. Never drive when tired

Driving an RV while you’re tired is another version of driving impaired. When we’re fatigued, everything is affected including our sight and reaction time.

Besides substances, one of the most common and potentially most serious forms of impairment is fatigue. Calling back to the 330 rule above, make sure you don’t drive longer than your ability to stay alert. That includes getting a good night’s sleep the night before.

Studies have demonstrated that extreme fatigue can be as or even more dangerous as driving under the influence of some substances. And it can be more insidious as it takes no other action beyond staying on the road too long to create a risk.

This also includes driving while you’re feeling ill. If you have a fever or cold or another ailment that may affect your driving ability, leave the task for another day or to someone else.

Once again, if you’re tired, I strongly encourage you to embrace plan B and stop for the night and get some good rest, good food, and hydration—then drive again when you’re in top shape for the task.

Staying safe and calm © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

16. Have a good roadside assistance plan

Having a reliable roadside assistance plan is essential when traveling in an RV.

Choose a plan that suits you best but be sure to have a good, solid, reliable plan for roadside assistance. Having the peace of mind that if something DOES go wrong while on the road you have resources available to get you out of a bind can help keep you calm should something happen.

Read my earlier post for tips on choosing the best RV Roadside Assistance Plan.

16. Carry an RV roadside emergency kit

An RV roadside emergency kit is one of the most important things you can carry when you travel in an RV.

Read my earlier post for 25 must-have items to carry in your roadside emergency kit. Chances are good that you’ll use many of those items—if not in the event of your own roadside emergency, then perhaps to help a fellow traveler.

Staying safe and calm © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

17. Use trip planner apps and/or GPS to plan RV-safe routes

Remember that when you’re driving an RV, the height, weight, and contents of your rig are factors that you don’t generally need to consider when driving a car. This is why having excellent trip planner apps or an RV-safe GPS is so important.

There are areas (tunnels, in particular, and some ferries) that you can’t enter if you’re carrying propane on board your RV. Or you may be required to confirm that it’s been turned off at the tank. This is information you’ll want to know in advance of approaching the entrance to a tunnel. You want to be offered alternative routes based on what you’re driving and the best way to achieve this important end is to plan RV-safe travel routes.

Some GPS units and RV trip planner apps allow you to input the specifics of your RV and then you’ll be guided according to those specifics.

18. Keep current with RV maintenance

A well-maintained RV or tow vehicle is a safe vehicle. Be sure to keep up with the preventive maintenance and conduct regular inspections of your RV systems especially those that can cause an accident while traveling.

Make a pre-trip checklist and do an inspection of these items every time you get behind the wheel:

  • Belts and hoses (check for cracking)
  • Headlights, turn signal, tail lights
  • Hitch or towing equipment
  • Tires for the correct air pressure and sufficient tread depth

Read my earlier post on RV maintenance tips

Staying safe and calm © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

 19. Know how to back up your rig

The best way to learn how to back up your RV is to practice, practice, practice! Here again, an empty parking lot is a great place to get comfortable backing up your rig effectively.

I encourage you to first have a look at my post on backing up a motorhome where you’ll find some very helpful tips and techniques.

BONUS TIPs for drivers towing a trailer:

20. Understand trailer sway control

I mentioned this tip in a previous section related to RV weight and weight distribution but its well worth mentioning again—it is that important.

It is critical that you understand trailer sway control BEFORE you need the information. We strongly encourage you to consult my linked post on this topic before you tow.

Worth Pondering…

Speed was high

Weather was hot

Tires were thin

X marks the spot

—Burma Shave sign