Do you need a special license to drive an RV? Not usually. RVing Knowhow, an online informational resource for campers, explains: “In many states, there are no special licensing requirements for motorhomes, so long as they meet certain criteria.”
While this is awesome for those searching for recreational rental opportunities (How much more accessible can you get?), it also means that taking an RV on the road can be a bit daunting for a lot of newbies, especially from a safety standpoint.
Without any formal training required to hit the highway legally, how can you feel equipped to handle the various climates, terrains, and road types that come with any good road trip? Fractional Toys, a provider of RV rentals, is here to help!
Let’s dig into a few RV safety must-knows you need to grasp before your next road trip.
When taking any trip, it’s important to pack smart. This is especially important when packing for an RV trip!
Since the RV is your home away from home, make sure you pack everything you’ll need to avoid making unexpected stops at a grocery store, especially if you’re camping somewhere away from civilization. When you’re packed appropriately, you’ll be a more focused and safe driver.
There are plenty of essentials you should pack, such as safety equipment and tools that may come in handy if there is an emergency. Items like flashlights, batteries, fire extinguishers, and jumper cables should be at the top of your packing list.
Remember to pack dining equipment, sleeping bags, or sheets and blankets, as well as showering and bathing equipment.
Finally, be sure to pack anything you might need for adventuring!
Feel Safe to Be Safe
While there are, of course, some safety rules that are must-follows (we’ll cover those in a bit), the RV vacationing blog We’re The Russos brings up a good point: “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.”
In essence, that means what might feel safe to one person might not to another.
Feeling safe on vacation, when you’re supposed to be having fun, is just as important as actually being safe. This idea mostly applies to traveling through given areas and picking where to stay the night. Though you may know a campground is good to crash at, if you feel uncomfortable from a safety standpoint, there’s no shame in packing up and finding another spot.
When you’re relaxed and confident, you’re more likely to be able to handle the unexpected – a key safety technique in a variety of situations and in RV rental life especially. Rolling with the punches is what makes this sort of vacation fun, after all, so actively help yourself feel safe to get the most out of your camper time.
There are plenty of locations to visit in Minnesota that will bring you fun and excitement without having to drive very far!
Mind Your RV Weight
This isn’t just so you can watch your gas mileage! The weight of a camper rental or RV rental directly relates to how it drives and your level of safety while in motion. There’s a threshold of cargo capacity for every RV out there, and you’d be wise to stay well underneath it to maintain optimal maneuverability and handling.
Do It Yourself RV, an online resource for RV aficionados, advises evenly distributing weight within the vehicle. Uneven weight can cause anything from tire to control problems.
Of course, if you’re renting a tow-behind that doesn’t come with its own engine, you’ll also need to be informed about your truck’s hauling capacities before you even sign your recreational rental papers.
It’s also helpful if you have a feel for how your vehicle handles, so you know your personal driving limits and where you’re comfortable weight-wise.
Stay Slow & Cautious
Sure, it’s tempting to want to keep up with traffic in the fast lane. But remember that you’re probably going to be a lot less maneuverable than most of that traffic, simply thanks to your motorhome rental’s size.
If you can, stay in the slow lane. And it goes without saying, but never speed, especially if you’re dealing with limited visibility or bad road conditions.
On a similar note, give other drivers ahead of you a wide berth. If they need to slam on the brakes for any reason (Hello, deer crossing!), they’ll be able to stop much quicker than your vehicle can.
It may feel a bit awkward to be so cautious, especially if cars begin to pass you impatiently, but just know that you’re doing the safe thing by not pushing the RV’s or your own limits.
Keep an Eye on the Skies
And/or your phone’s weather app – not while you’re driving, of course!
Weather impacts your outdoor excursions and your comfort and safety while driving, just like in your commuter vehicle. This is why it’s so helpful to plan out your route ahead of time; On a day-to-day basis, you can check the forecast to ensure there’s nothing but smooth sailing.
If the weather gets bad? There’s no shame in hunkering down for the day! Again, that’s why it’s nice to plan your camping trip ahead: You can be sure you’ll get home on time!
Just reroute yourself electronically if you encounter weather-related delays.
Learn How to Park an RV Legally & Safely
Parking your RV is a crucial part of your trip. Unfortunately, parking an RV can be difficult and time-consuming if you’re a beginner.
The first thing to remember is that you have to park your RV legally. You can’t park your RV in just any location to stop for the night. Get familiar with the guidelines for the location you’re traveling to. If you’re unsure, check with the local authorities.
Generally, campgrounds, truck stops, and casinos will allow you to park your RV and stay for a night or two.
When it comes to parking your RV properly, there are licensing courses you can take to learn how to park. The first step is to assess the situation. Check out the spot for the most level area that is clear of trees.
It’s a good idea always to have a person or multiple people helping you guide the RV into the parking spot or camping spot. Keep your windows down so you can hear your guides’ instructions.
Remember to take your time and ask for help if needed!
Protect Your Wallet With These Gas-Saving Tips
There’s no doubt that towing an RV is very gas-consuming. That’s why we’re bringing you tips to save money on gas while on your RV road trip.
The best way to travel is to plan your route ahead of time. You’ll save gas by traveling the best route without turning around and going in the wrong direction.
Planning where you fill up with gas is another great way to save money. Some apps for your phone, like GasBuddy, will show you the current gas prices in the nearby area. You can opt for the cheaper gas while you’re traveling.
Keeping your RV in top condition will save you gas as well. Your tires should be in good shape and at the correct PSI for the RV.
A well-kept RV can take you anywhere you want to go!
Know When & How to Dump Your Holding Tank
Your RV has three holding tanks that you need to monitor while taking a trip. It’s important to know when and how to dump those holding tanks.
The three tanks are freshwater, blackwater, and gray water. The freshwater tank is clean water you can drink, wash your hands, and shower in. The blackwater tank contains toilet refuse with chemicals that break up waste, and the gray water tank is the dirty water from the sink and shower.
Every RV has an indicator panel showing you when it’s time to dump your tanks. Always avoid emptying the tanks until you need to, which preserves the chemicals in the blackwater tank.
To flush your tanks, you need to locate the designated dumping station. Locate the emptying spots on the RV’s exterior, usually labeled. Hook one end of your sewer hose to the RV’s valves.
Start with the blackwater tank so the gray water can push anything else through the sewer hose. Make sure the valves are secure, then direct the sewer hose into the hole in the ground. Allow the blackwater tank to drain, then switch to gray water.
When you’re finished, close up the valves and get back on the road.
Fractional Toys: We’ll Help you Get on the Road Safely
As a recreational rental service, we pride ourselves on helping RV novices and experts alike find their perfect motorhome rental match and hit the highway safely. Reach our Oakdale office today at 651-360-1667 or our Rogers location at 763-265-6891.