All the important RV safety information you need in one easy to read book
All the important RV safety information you need in one easy to read book

"Quick Start" Program

RVers, like most people, are often anxious about their ability to complete a comprehensive program such as presented in "The RVer's Ultimate Survival Guide" and do it justice.  Rather than see such individuals just shrug their shoulders in dismay and not make an attempt to get started, I have developed a "Quick Start" program. What follows is the author's opinion as to what single action, in each of the nine areas of RV safety, will bring the most immediate benefit.  With that much assured, it is hoped that added enthusiasm for completing the whole program will become more obvious and obtainable.

Please, under no circumstances, consider completion of these nine "Quick Start" steps to be adequate; they are not.  It is only with completion of the entire program as presented in "The RVer's Ultimate Survival Guide" will you be certain that you have done all that is possible to assure your personal safety, that of your passengers and those with whom you share the road.

Step 1  --  RV Weight Safety & Load Management
 
Have your RV weighed and it's weights analyzed by the Escapee SmartWeigh® program or another comparable weight safety program; fully correct any and all deficiencies identified.  I wish it was feasible to obtain this truly essential information more conveniently, but it isn't.  Commercial weight scales have designed-in limitations to the full and proper weighing of RVs and anything less than a methodical and analytical approach to this essential task may result in erroneous and possibly misleading information.  Get on the Escapee.com or RVSEF® web site (rvsafety.org) to check their schedule and make plans to participate ASAP.  This information is required to establish the correct tire pressure for your specific RV and lifestyle essential for "Step Two" which follows.

Step Two  --  RV Tire Safety
 
Commit yourself to performing (at minimum) a daily tire pressure/condition check when traveling in your RV.  After determining the proper tire pressures based on individual corner weights (Step One) all you have to do to avoid the vast majority of tire issues is to keep your tires at that correct pressure whenever you travel.  Implied in this is the requirement to obtain and to learn to use the correct tools necessary to do the job.  All of this is not as onerous as it initially sounds, as you will learn various ways to accomplish this essential task as they are put forth in "The RVer's Ultimate Survival Guide".

Step Three  --  RV Motor Fuel Safety

 
Make motor fuel safety a primary target of your daily "preflight" inspection.  Do so by using all of your senses (sight, sound, touch and smell).  This procedure will, rather quickly, identify potential problems (leaking tanks, cracked hoses, loose caps, improperly stored fuel, etc.) providing you with an opportunity to take timely corrective action.

Step Four  --  RV Propane Safety

 
The majority of dangerous RV propane problems and safety issues can be overcome by simply following the advice of experts and shutting off your propane system "at the tank" while traveling.  This simple act will protect the system (and you) during the most difficult time for the RV propane system; that is, while you travel down the road with all of the accompanying vibration and jarring.  This will also eliminate to a large degree the potential for a propane fire or explosion due to accident or secondary damage such as might result in a blown tire or other relatively minor incident.

Step Five  --  RV Electrical Safety

Purchase a quality VOM (Volt-Ohm Meter) and learn its proper usage.  The VOM is an invaluable tool for any RVer who must deal on a daily basis with the very complex triple electrical system of the RV.  Learning to properly use this relatively simple tool may involve a simple electronics class at a local school or the purchase of a suitable book and lots of practice; the time spent will be well worth whatever effort the RVer puts into this endeavor.  Using your VOM before hooking up at an RV park and whenever any electrical device fails to perform as expected should be the first step in resolving the issue quickly and safely.

Step Six  --  RV Driving Safety

Quite Simply - slow down!  To drive at more sane speeds vastly increases the likelihood that an accident will be avoided and will minimize injury and damage should an accident still occur.  In many states, "it's the law" that RVs limit their speed to 55 or 60 mph and remain in the right lanes for good reasons.  All states should be that responsible; large vehicles just plain do not accelerate as rapidly, maneuver as well, stop as fast or respond as quickly as does the traffic along side the RV creating a dangerous situation.  When you add in the additional factors of excessive length, size, weight, a non-professional driver with no special training or testing, limited or poor maintenance, diminished reactions time by the driver due to age, medical or medicinal causes, the case for slowing down and avoiding problems becomes even more conclusive..

Step Seven  --  RV Towing Safety
RV towing safety involves two separate recommendations:

RVers with motorhomes who tow should purchase, install and religiously utilize a towed vehicle braking system.  There is much debate for/against this recommendation in "The RVer's Ultimate Survival Guide" but the bottom line is that regardless of the law it is foolish not to have a tow brake system. The primary reason for this arbitrary position is that the RV alone can not stop as well as the traffic along side the RV and when anything is added to the vehicle's total weight (GCWR) it will again increase the combined vehicle's stopping distance.  Guess who is at fault when you rear-end the car in front of you.
    
For RVers operating a truck/trailer type of RV the most critical decision you make is to assure that your tow vehicle is rated (thus adequate) to tow your fully loaded trailer safely.  "The RVer's Ultimate Survival Guide" will define the process of making that determination and explain why an early and correct purchase decision is vital for your personal safety, reliability and financial well-being.  Fight the urge to accept what others tell you, what the salesman tells you and what you see "on the road".  Use the tow vehicle manufacturer's official publications (towing guide) to make your determination.  Guess who is liable when you are involved in a collision and are found not in compliance with the manufacturer's recommendations.

Step Eight  --  RV Fire Safety

Prepare your RV "fire safety plan of action" now!  In the tight confines of an RV nothing is more terrifying than a fire; this fear is highly appropriate because any fire and the accompanying smoke and heat can quickly incapacitate both humans and their pets preventing them from thinking clearly and safely escaping.  Your "safety plan of action" must be well thought out for your specifics and practiced until it is part of your routine RVing activity; consider and involve all who may be traveling with you in your RV as well.

Step Nine  --  RV Personal Safety


You can put a big red X in this box because you have already taken that critical first step, that is, completing the "Quick Start" program.  I told you that this "Quick Start" program was easy (and not too expensive); with it completed you now know that you can do it.  Now is the time to continue along with the whole "The RVer's Ultimate Survival Guide".  Once you complete reading the book and implementing its contents, you and your RVing companions are certain to enjoy safer RV travels and the "peace of mind" that comes with knowing you have done everything that is possible.  May you always enjoy safe RV travels.