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A Simple Checklist Before Hitting the Road with your RV

Posted On: March 31, 2011

Many RVing accidents occur because of simple neglect or carelessness. Forgetting to check one area of your RV could end up in a disaster, costing you thousands in repairs. To make all of your camping trips carefree and easy, make sure to do a safe check before leaving the driveway. Here are 3 distinct areas that need to be checked before hitting the road.

RV/Trailer Check:

  1. Disconnect all power, TV, phone, water and sewer lines. Make sure all lines are rolled up and securely in their storage areas.
  2. Retract jacks, steps and awnings. If you have a slide-out, make sure it has slid back into the trailer and is secure.
  3. Make sure all storage and main doors are closed and latched or locked.
  4. Look under the rig for signs of any fluid leaks.
  5. Make sure smoke and propane leak detectors are working
  6. Double-check tow bar and safety cables
  7. Check your brake lights, tail lights and turn signals are working properly.
  8. Check to make sure your air brakes, parking brake and tow brakes are engaging properly.

Propane Check & Tips:

  1. Never paint your tanks a dark color. It will absorb the sun’s rays and can cause it to over heat and explode
  2. Don’t travel with the stove, oven or heater burners lit.
  3. Never refuel while any propane appliances or your engine is running.
  4. If you have an older propane tank, make sure it has an overfill protection device.
  5. Have tanks regularly checked by a certified dealer.

Engine Check:

  1. Check oil, transmission and coolant levels
  2. Inspect tire inflation pressure and tread wear on your truck and trailer.
  3. Check all your brakes to make sure they are engaging properly and the lights are working.
  4. When driving, know your surroundings (weather, overhangs and ground hazards)

An Extra Safety Tip:
Practice S.A.F.E. Cornering – When pulling a trailer, fifth wheel or driving a motorhome, you have to compensate for the extra weight, height and length of the vehicle when taking corners. Use S.A.F.E. when turning corners with your RV (Provided by GMAC Insurance).

  • Slowly approach the turn.
  • Arc the turn, taking a wider turn. Watch your surroundings and the cars around you.
  • Finish the turn completely. Don’t straighten the wheel until the back end has cleared the pivot point.
  • Experience is key. The more you drive your RV or tow your trailer/fifth wheel, the more practice you will have – improving your RV towing skills.

**This information came from Camping the Hill Country Blog. Post “Know Before You Go!” by Don Goodson.

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