How to Drive an RV Safely Complete Guide

Are you planning to take an RV road trip? Driving an RV can be a challenging experience, so it is important to stay safe. You need the right knowledge and skills to ensure a successful, enjoyable journey. In this article, we discuss the key points for driving an RV safely.

Driving a recreational vehicle (RV) is a great way to explore the open road and enjoy an amazing adventure with family and friends. An RV is bigger than a regular-sized car, and requires different driving techniques to ensure safe operation. This guide provides helpful tips on how to drive an RV safely and efficiently.

The four steps covered in this guide include:

  1. Introduction 
  2. Pre-Trip Preparation
  3.  During the Journey
  4. Post Trip Procedures

Importance of safe RV driving

RV driving is a great way to explore the countryside, but it requires special considerations not found in traditional car driving. Driving an RV is more complicated than operating a large passenger car and requires a greater degree of skill to do it safely. Roads often have features such as sharp turns, narrow spaces, steep grades and other obstacles that can cause problems for RVers if they aren’t prepared.

Before heading out on the road, you should make sure that your RV is completely roadworthy and safe for travel. Your vehicle must be tuned up, well-lit, in good shape and equipped with functional brakes, hoses and wires. All safety devices should be installed properly such as seat belts or child safety seats. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the local traffic laws before taking off so you can plan ahead of time where you will stop to rest or refuel if necessary.

In addition to being prepared mechanically, consider your navigation equipment: devise a route plan before your trip utilizing GPS navigation systems or printed maps so you know where you are going beforehand rather than having to find your way while driving through unfamiliar areas with an unwieldy vehicle. Make sure that you are familiar with habitation laws regarding overnight stay so that your trip remains legal throughout its duration. It’s also important to make sure that any passengers in the RV are properly secured and supervised if there are children present on board at all times; liability issues can arise otherwise if someone were to be injured due to improper safety measures when operating the RV.

Pre-trip safety checks

As with any vehicle, it is important to perform pre-trip safety inspections prior to embarking on a trip. Besides checking the lights, brakes, and fluid levels, RV drivers should also inspect the interior of their motorhome or trailer. This includes looking for signs of rodent or insect infestation and performing necessary repairs to ensure occupant safety.

In addition, all recreational vehicles come with a manufacturer’s manual that should be consulted before departure. This manual will give guidance on how to properly set up and operate the RV’s equipment such as its onboard generator, air conditioning system, and heating or cooling elements. Drivers should also familiarize themselves with all of the RV’s safety systems such as fire extinguisher locations and possible exits in case of emergency.

Finally, every driver should create a plan in case of an emergency while operating the RV – this includes having a list of phone numbers readily available for roadside assistance if needed.

RV maintenance

RV maintenance is an important part of safe driving. Keeping your RV in good condition will ensure its longevity and keep you safe on the road. Here are some basic tips for maintaining your RV:

-Check all tires, including spare tire, to make sure they are adequately inflated and that the tread is in good condition. Have a certified technician inspect all tires regularly to determine if they need to be replaced or rotated.

-Check oil and other fluids in the motor before setting out on a long drive. Make sure maintenance intervals are being followed for all engine systems, brakes, air conditioning, heating, and fluid levels.

-Clean the exterior of your RV periodically to maintain paint quality and prevent corrosion from buildup. Also be sure to inspect the windows, seams, roofing materials, and sealants to check for any damage or excessive wear.

-Check interior systems like plumbing fixtures regularly for any potential leaky connections or clogs due to heavy sediment build up in water lines or tanks. Be sure all electrical appliances are functioning properly by looking at any power cords or extension cords before using them. Also pay attention to smoke detectors and fire alarms when doing routine inspections of your RV’s interior.

Tire pressure and tread

Correct tire pressure for both front and rear tires is essential for optimal maneuvering and road handling of the RV. The recommended pressure should be printed in the door of the driver’s side but both the sidewall of the tire and owner manual will also provide pertinent information.

Under-inflation causes less response from the steering wheel and a slower braking reaction so check your tires often, when they are cold or before you embark on your journey. It is also important to check tread to ensure that maximum contact between tire and road surface can take place. Inadequate tread can increase braking distance significantly as well as limiting performance on wet roads.

Quality tread depth can only be checked with a reliable gauge; in general, any ruts deeper than 2/32nds of an inch indicate that new tires are required in order to achieve maximum safe performance when driving your RV.

How To Drive An RV Safely With 12 Important Tips - Let's RV!

III. RV driving basics

RV driving is different from driving a car, so it’s important to take the time to become familiar with all the features of your RV before you start your journey. Here are a few basic tips for operating your rig safely and efficiently on the road.

Brakes: Most RVs have hydraulic brakes that engage when you press the brake pedal. Familiarize yourself with how much pressure you must use on the pedal for optimal braking efficiency. Make sure to test your brakes in an empty parking lot to get comfortable braking in a controlled setting.

Mirrors: Large RVs can have multiple mirrors, including long-distance side mirrors, wide windshield mirrors and rearview mirrors. It can be difficult to keep track of all of these at once, but having the right mirrors set up properly can help sufficiently reduce blind spots while driving.

Speed limits: Remember that speed limits apply to large vehicles as well as cars, and obey posted speed limits or lower-than-normal speed advisories based on road or weather conditions. All RVs regardless of size should not exceed posted speed limits due to their increased potential for drastic reactions due to their weight and length in emergency situations as well as extra strain that is placed on drivetrain components when traveling over specified limits.

RV size and weight

Before driving an RV, it is important to understand the size and weight of your vehicle. The length of your vehicle will determine which lane you must drive in. Also, the width and height of your vehicle is a factor to consider when driving on highways, bridges, or tunnels. If a restriction hand-out mentions width or height restrictions under a certain level, make sure you are driving an RV below this number.

Another important factor to consider is the total weight of your vehicle with passedengers and luggage included; it should not exceed the maximum weight allowed for your specific model. Ultimately, picking the correct size for your needs can save you from difficulty on the roads.

Adjusting to the RV’s handling and speed

It is important to remember that an RV takes much longer to accelerate and brake than a typical car, as well as having different handling characteristics. Care must be taken to follow appropriate speed limits and the posted signs in order to avoid an accident or a costly ticket. Additionally, because of the extra length, visibility can be impaired when making turns or merging onto highways or interstates. It is especially important for RV drivers to look for motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians that may not be seen until it’s too late when turning right-of-way or merging into traffic lanes.

Knowledge of the vehicles weight limits is also essential in controlling speed and properly managing acceleration. Be aware of how much weight your RV can handle before taking a trip in order to ensure optimal performance; carrying heavier loads can make it more difficult to gain traction when braking, accelerating and slowing down on uneven terrain. Pay close attention while driving on steep hills offering winding roadways with tight turns; reduce speed accordingly so as not to lose control of your vehicle. Additionally, you may need additional brakes installed if you are operating an oversized load – consult an experienced mechanic first if this becomes necessary before setting out on any adventure.

RV safety accessories

When it comes to staying safe while you drive your RV, there are a few important accessories that should be considered essentials. These items can help ensure a safe and comfortable ride, no matter the distance.

The first item on your must-have list should be a CB (Citizens Band) radio. This device will allow you to stay connected with other RVers on the road and stay aware of any potential hazards or delays that may come up along your route.

Additionally, make sure to invest in a properly sized fire extinguisher for inside the RV. This will protect passengers from any small spark or flame that may occur. It’s recommended to purchase one with an ABC rating for extra versatility in extinguishing various types of fires.

Finally, you’ll want an emergency roadside kit that is tailored for RVs if possible (such as one designed for extra-large vehicles). This kit contains essential first aid supplies and automotive tools as well as reflective triangles and road flares so other drivers will be able to spot you if your vehicle is pulled off the side of the road.

Backup cameras

A backup camera can be a valuable tool in helping you to drive an RV safely. These cameras give you the option of seeing a clear image of what is behind you on either your dashboard or rearview mirror, making it easier for you to navigate around tight turns or challenging spaces.

It can also help with hitching the RV to your tow car and determining where to park your vehicle. There are several different types of backup cameras on the market, so make sure that you choose one that fits your specific needs. Also, it’s important to make sure that the lens is properly installed and maintained in order for it to be effective.

Blind spot mirrors

It is important to have enough blind spot mirrors so you can be aware of the space around your vehicle at all times. Blind spots are the area that cannot be seen when looking in a regular side-view mirror or out of your RV’s windows. It is essential that you know if other vehicles, cyclists, or pedestrians are in your blind spots before making any sudden lane changes.

Having additional mirrors along the sides and front of your RV will help you see where other cars are at all times. Before setting off on your journey, it’s a good idea to take a minute to adjust any side-view and interior rear-view mirrors as well as blind spot mirrors so that you can see as far behind and as close in front of your vehicle as possible.

Emergency preparedness

In the event of an emergency, it’s essential to be prepared. Before you set out, map-out your route and plan for any potential disasters or roadside troubles. Make sure you have a well-stocked emergency kit that includes first-aid supplies, water, food and all necessary equipment.

It’s also important to consider the environment you are traveling in – consider extreme hot or cold temperatures, possible inclement weather conditions, or remote locations with limited access for help or assistance. In these cases it is a good idea to carry additional supplies like blankets and flashlights, as well as provisions in case you become stranded.

Emergency communication is key – ensure that all drivers are aware of emergency procedures and know who to contact if assistance is needed. Make sure that everyone in your RV has a functioning cell phone with GSP tracking capabilities and a healthy list of local contacts so help can be summoned swiftly in the event of an accident or other emergency situation.

It is also recommended to keep signs posted inside your recreational vehicle with emergency numbers so that anyone in need of quick help can find it without delay. Make sure cell phones are charged and easily accessible for use during longer trips or to communicate distress signals when no landline telephone service is available in an area or due to bad reception.

17 RV Driving Safety Tips for Beginners - Camping World

First aid kit

Having a well-stocked first aid kit in your RV prior to embarking on your adventure is essential for ensuring the safety of you and your passengers. The American Camping Association recommends all motorists have a first aid kit with adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads in various sizes, adhesive tape rolls, antibiotic ointments, an instant cold pack, and an elastic bandage.

Additionally, medications such as pain relievers and antacids should be included in order to address minor medical conditions that could arise during your journey. Keeping an updated list of local hospitals is also wise for when more serious medical attention is needed.

Emergency roadside assistance

It is important to have a plan in place just in case of an emergency while driving an RV. Breakdowns and accidents can occur, so it is recommended that you look into getting roadside assistance before taking a trip. Roadside assistance covers things like towing, tire changes and jump-starts and helps if you have difficulties on the road.

Roadside assistance programs vary; most providers offer several levels of coverage for different services. Some offer RV-specific coverage, which usually includes extra services like fuel delivery or generator repairs. Make sure to shop around for the best plan that meets your needs and budget. Membership may be paid yearly or monthly, so be sure to check for any extra fees associated with installments or canceling a service agreement early.

Once you have selected a roadside assistance provider, be sure to get all of their contact information so that you know who to call in case of an emergency event while driving your RV on the road—this includes their hotline number, hours of operation as well as how long it usually takes them to respond when called upon. It is also wise to store this information digitally so that you can access it quickly – apps such as AAA’s TripTik Advanced app store important contact info specifically designed for travelers using RVs. Additionally, it’s good practice to carry some cash with you in your RV just in case of emergencies – some roadside assistance providers may require pre–payment before helping out on certain repair jobs.


Now that you’ve explored the different aspects of RV driving, it’s time to put together all of your new knowledge into practice and head out on the open road! Always check the laws, road conditions, length and width limits, load restrictions, and other important factors before going out. Taking proper safety precautions is essential to ensure a safe journey for both you and other motorists.

Whether you’re heading out for your first journey or are a seasoned veteran of RV driving, be sure to exercise extreme caution at all times. Familiarize yourself with how an RV handles drives differently from a car. Drive slower than normal, always stay alert and attentive to road changes and conditions, anticipate traffic, use lights when turning or stopping in reduced-visibility situations like dusk or fog, scan for potential dangers around you (blind spots), take frequent breaks to stretch and relax your muscles — these are all key components in making sure that everyone arrives safe at their destination.

Following these tips will help ensure that every trip is an enjoyable one!

See Also :

Leave a Comment