By Zachary D. Campbell, Lawyer at Metzger Wickersham
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, RVing was already becoming a popular way to travel. However, the pandemic is making Americans take the road less traveled due to the uncertainty of reopening the country.
The recreational vehicle (RV) industry is rebounding as thousands of travelers are turning RVs into the ‘new’ way of vacationing. RV makers, suppliers, and campgrounds are reporting a wave of first-timers who have changed their vacation plans because they were reluctant to travel by plane, train, or bus. The RV Industry Association also reports that camping allows travelers to maintain social distancing and offers a safer option than staying in hotels or resorts.
Some 20% of Americans surveyed in an Ipsos poll that was conducted for the RV Industry Association said they are more interested in RVs as a recreation travel option in the aftermath of COVID-19. Reports indicate that two large factors play a role in the RV travel boom in light of COVID-19, these factors include freedom and control. RVing can provide a safe environment for families traveling and also allow a person to have a clean living space with their own bedding and personal items while on the road. International travel has essentially come to a standstill and many hotels and resorts are not fully open. During this social distancing era, traveling by RV allows people to travel safely at their own pace while keeping their distance from others.
5 Safety Tips for RV Travelers
Whether you're a family of weekend campers or a retired couple looking to travel full-time, every RV beginner has to know a few important things before making their maiden voyage. Here are five quick tips to consider before you pile in and head out on the road.
- Research your insurance. Does my regular insurance cover my RV? Remember, RVs are vehicles that typically need to be registered with the department of transportation. Whether it is a motorhome or trailer RV, this means that they require insurance coverage. You need to do your research to determine if you automobile insurance covers your motorhome or trailer RV. Do you need a separate policy? Also, if you are going to tow your vehicle behind your RV, is that covered? If you are towing your trailer RV and your truck breaks down, will you have to leave your trailer behind or are both the truck and trailer covered for towing? You likely do not want to have to leave your trailer behind with all your possessions in this instance.
- Take a practice drive. Practice makes perfect, make sure you are comfortable driving and using an RV. Your first time driving a motorhome or hauling a trailer RV should not be your first long-distance trip. Remember, motorhomes are often larger vehicles and can be the size of tractor-trailers, it is important to have road experience and to be aware of what terrain you will be traveling on. Hauling a trailer is very different than simply driving a truck. Turning radiuses, keeping the RV in one lane, switching lanes to pass other vehicles, accelerating, braking, and backing up the RV are just a few items that a novice RV driver should familiarize themselves with.
- Plan your route to avoid traffic hassles. Good weather is great for RV camping. Unfortunately, it also means major road construction projects are in full swing. Unexpected road closures, accidents, and construction zones cause stress no matter where we’re headed. To stay ahead of these headaches familiarize yourself with your travel route and also check the weather before you set out on your trip. Make sure there are no driving restrictions that limit tractor-trailers, buses, and large vehicles from certain roadways. If there are restrictions, map alternate ways to get to your destination by taking advantage of the many road trip planning tools at your disposal. According to RV Life, try a GPS made just for RVers and great apps like RV Trip Wizard. This tool routes everything from campground choices to fuel stops.
- Maintain your RV with proper care. RVs are not cheap investments. Repairs and maintenance can be expensive and time-consuming. Because they are not used every day, many people allow their RV to fall into disrepair. Driving an RV that is not properly maintained is not safe and is downright dangerous. You should perform regular maintenance checks on your RV even if you are not planning on using it for some time. Check your lights, turn signals, brakes and secure awnings, ladders, and bike racks to ensure that they are all working properly. Check the date code on your tires because the rubber breaks down over time, and even if the tread looks fine it’s recommended that they be replaced every five to seven years. Click here to learn how to check the date code on your RV’s tires.
- Create an RV emergency and evacuation plan. Most RVs have emergency exit windows, familiarize yourself with where they are located and how to use them. Practice with your family and have a plan in place in case of a fire or an emergency. If the front exit is blocked, you will want to know the next best route to exit the vehicle in case of an emergency. Have an evacuation plan and learn how to use the RV’s emergency exits. Be prepared to ensure a safe trip.
Life’s a journey always take the scenic route and enjoy the ride. Adventure is calling, buckle up and safe travels from all of us at Metzger Wickersham.
If you or a loved one are injured in an RV, car, or motorcycle accident, we can help. Contact Metzger Wickersham today to request a free and confidential consultation.