While you’re in the middle of planning your next trip in your motorhome rental, you’re probably not too concerned with the idea of RV accidents. Even for those concerned with safety on the road, it’s the last thing you really want to think about.
However, bad things can happen to the most careful drivers, and it’s important for anyone operating a motorhome to be aware and prepared. Every year, we’re seeing more RVs on the road, between new owners and avid renters. While the usual demographic of retirees are still enjoying the RV lifestyle, younger generations are also spending time in rental RVs to test it out.
By federal law, any recreational vehicle must undergo crash testing and rollover testing. However, anyone is capable of making a mistake on the road. According to a study by the World Health Organization, “For all road users, the risk of crash injury is increased by failing to see and failing to be seen.” RV road accidents are becoming more common than you might think.
When you learn about the most common types of RV accidents and safety hazards, you stand a better chance of avoiding them. When an unavoidable mishap occurs, it’s important to be prepared.
What Are Common RV Accidents?
While there’s a learning curve when it comes to driving a large vehicle, an RV rental is still similar to driving a car or truck. Your responsibility as a driver is still to avoid RV accidents at all costs, and you can do so by maintaining an appropriate speed and a generous distance. These two tactics will go a long way in preventing an RV crash. Any RV owner will tell you how important it is to watch your blind spots. With practice, you’ll be able to avoid an accident involving your RV in Houston and on your travels.
However, there is one particular type of damage that is common to motorhomes and large travel trailers. You’ve probably even seen it when you notice them on the highway.
Many RV drivers are behind the wheel of motorhomes with some damage to the body on the right side, typically lower and towards the front of the rear tires. Why? Well, it has a lot to do with physics.
Off-Tracking and Rear Overhang Swing in an RV
Off-tracking is a common reason behind this type of damage to an RV. While the rear tires follow the path of the front tires when you drive in a straight line, they end up on a different path in a curve. This can leave motorhome drivers scraping curbs, fire hydrants, and other obstacles on the side of the road and maneuvering through RV resorts or RV parks.
Everything behind your back axle is being sent in the opposite direction. So, as you turn left, part of the RV can swing out to the right. This is called the overhang swing.
Similar to off-tracking, practice makes progress. When you get behind the wheel of an RV and don’t quite feel comfortable yet, try spending some time in an empty lot.
Avoiding RV Accidents in a Rental RV
While rear overhang swing and off-tracking are two common causes of RV accidents, they aren’t the only things to be careful of. However, driving your rental doesn’t need to be a hassle. At TX RV Adventures, we want our renters to be prepared, so we’ve gathered some safety tips we recommend to anyone getting behind the wheel of a motorhome.
1. Buckle Up in Your RV Rental
While traveling in an RV, it can be easy to get up and make a sandwich or go to the bathroom (not while driving, of course). You should certainly take advantage of these conveniences, but you need to be safe.
Much like in an airplane, you should spend the majority of your trip buckled up. An RV is still a motor vehicle. Should something unexpected arise causing the driver to slam on the brakes, you need to be strapped in with a seatbelt.
2. Slow and Steady, Braking Easy
As we said earlier, maintaining an appropriate speed is a good rule for operating any vehicle. When it comes to rental RVs, though, your vehicle weighs far more than a regular car. It takes a lot to stop all that mass, so be aware of what’s ahead of you and give yourself enough time to slow down.
Taking it slow is also helpful, so an appropriate speed is likely lower than the speed you’d drive in another vehicle. It’s also important to maintain a generous amount of space between your RV rental and other people on the road.
You DO NOT want to end up in a situation where you need to slam on the brakes. This is especially true when you’re on an incline or towing a trailer. You can avoid these situations by taking it slow.
Remember: Being in an RV is just as much about the journey, so take your time and enjoy it.
3. Secure Your Pets!
One of the best parts of traveling in a pet-friendly RV rental is being able to bring your pets along for the ride. While traveling in a motorhome means your pets have space to roam, it doesn’t mean they should. Loose animals can become a dangerous distraction. While their intention might be to show you some affection, having your pup jump up on your lap as you drive is… not ideal.
Be sure to secure your beloved pets for their safety and yours. While a kennel or crate might be safer, having someone in the back to hold onto them can do the trick. This keeps you both safer in the event of an RV accident. However, it also helps to keep them calm on the road.
Avoid RV Accidents & Stay Safe in an RV
Nobody wants to think about RV accidents as they plan their next trip. Unfortunately, though, they do happen. We want anyone partaking of our RV rentals to be prepared for their time on the road. Whether you’re renting an RV for a week or month, it’s important to be ready in case of car accidents or a tire blowout.
When something does happen on the road, the most important thing is that everyone is safe. If you have any additional questions about RV safety, feel free to contact us about your concerns and our policies.
We partner with TX RV Repair Shop to handle any and all work that needs to be done. Our rental RVs come with roadside assistance and insurance coverage throughout the duration of your rental in Houston, TX.