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One of our favorite things to do is pack up the camper and head out for an extended weekend somewhere far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We sometimes find ourselves miles from the nearest town. Although most of our RV camping is done in an RV campground or park, this wasn’t always the case. Years ago, we would load up the Jeep with or tents, tarps, and sleeping bags made for couples, and head to the most remote place we could find. The kind of place where if you were quiet, you might hear a passing car far off in the distance.
Back then, maybe we were naïve, or maybe we were just having too much fun. We never worried about safety of any kind. Sure, we had a big German Shephard with us, and maybe that was all the safety we thought we needed. Anyways, the point is, safety is something we now put at the forefront of our RVing decisions.
In this post we are going to cover some basic RV safety tips as well as some personal protection tips should that need ever arise. Like they say, “It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it”.
RV Safety Tips
Is RV camping safe? We would like to think that it is. However, that doesn’t mean that we are aware of our surroundings when it comes to bad weather, shady characters, or dangerous situations.
RV Driving Safety
If it your first time driving or towing an RV, practice first. Find an empty parking lot, set up cones, and practice turning, backing, and maneuvering. Driving or towing an RV is a lot different than simply driving your car, SUV, or truck.
Make a pre-trip checklist to follow before hitting the road. This checklist should include things like checking the tires for proper air pressure, checking, and double checking the hitch, and making sure things like vents, windows, and doors are closed and secured. There is a great checklist app you can download completely free. As a matter of fact, we use this same app. It’s called RV Checklist and you can get it for iPhone or android.
RV Fire Safety
An RV fire can be devasting. Being prepared can make the difference between life and death. Check the fire extinguishers in your RV. Replace them if necessary. Having a few extra fire extinguishers is always a great way to be proactive should the unthinkable happen. Keep a fire extinguisher in one of your basement storage areas, in the kitchen, and in the main living and sleeping areas.
Locate your emergency exits and know how to use them. And most importantly, teach your kids how to use them as well. If you have a fire in the middle of the night, the emergency exits will be a lot harder to find in the dark, not to mention the smoke. In a related post, RV Fire Safety, we cover everything you need to know about keeping you and your family safe and how to prevent an RV fire.
Be Aware Of Your Surroundings
The one RV safety tip to always follow is to be aware of your surroundings. This goes for everyday life as well. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing, always take a minute to be aware of what is going on around you.
If you get a “bad” feeling, it’s your instincts telling you something. It’s not called a “gut feeling” for nothing. Trust those instincts. Move on if you must.
Do You Have A Plan For RV Safety?
Research the area where you will be camping. Find out what emergency services are available should you need to call them. A great RV safety tip is to keep a chalkboard or dry erase board somewhere in your RV with the name of the campground and site number of where you are. In an emergency, you won’t have to think of where you are. You can simply read it off to the operator.
Having a plan for an emergency could possibly save your life, or someone else’s. If you are RV camping with a pet, find out where the nearest vet is, or have your local vet recommend a vet close to where you will be. Keep a digital copy of their record. You can simply have your vet email you a copy to keep on your phone.
Pay Attention To The Weather
Another important aspect of RV safety is the weather. The weather can make a fun RV camping trip a miserable RV camping trip very quickly. I can remember years ago; Kellie and I were doing some tent camping for the week and had no idea of the bad weather heading our way. We found out the hard way when our tarps collapsed from the heavy rainfall and our camping gear was ruined. Needless to say, we had to cut that trip short and head for cover.
An easy way to prevent something like this from happening to you is to keep your eye on the weather. If you will be somewhere remote, with no cell phone signal, consider investing in a weather radio.
Park your camper in such a way that you can get out of the area quickly if needed. If the winds are picking up, try to position your camper to where the winds are hitting your camper from the front or the rear.
When we stay at Barefoot RV Park and Campground, there is absolutely no cell service. To get a signal, you have to drive almost back to the nearest town to get reception. There is, however, an old payphone by the public bathhouse that you can use to call out.
Let your family and friends know where you will be and an expected time you will return. We always let our neighbor know every time we take a trip. Not only does he keep an eye on our place while we’re gone, but he also knows when to expect us back.
Personal Protection While RV Camping
Like I stated earlier, we all like to think that RV camping is safe. And for the most part it is. You are typically surrounded by like-minded folks who are just out to have a good time and enjoy the outdoors with their families. But, what about that one time when you will need to defend yourself? Not only from a person, but from a wild animal? How would you protect yourself and your family?
Break-ins are very rare, especially in an RV campground. It’s not like breaking into your sticks-and-bricks home. What I mean is, if a window were to break in your camper, chances are you would know right away and take the steps necessary to protect yourself and your property.
What about while hiking? Or doing something else away from the campground and other campers? Having something to physically defend yourself is very important. I see folks in neighborhoods who carry a stick, or other weapon while they are on their evening walk.
Pepper spray is good for personal protection. Some RV campers even carry bear spray or wasp spray for protection. An air horn might even be beneficial for scaring would-be attackers or wild animals.
Whichever style you choose, always keep something for personal protection.
Keep Your Valuables Safe
If you plan to leave your camper for an extended period of time, lock up anything you don’t want to walk off. For the most part, you won’t find many thieves at an RV campground. However, don’t be so naïve and think that it never happens.
If you have any valuables, lock them in a safe, or take them with you. Don’t rely on your camper locks. They are practically worthless. There is a good chance that your RV keys will unlock your neighbors rig, and vice versa.
Let’s face it. Accidents happen. Knowing how to handle minor emergencies is key to personal protection as well as RV safety. Years ago, when I was in the service, a fellow Airman was cutting wood with a hand saw to build a campfire. Next thing we knew, he had a gash in the top of his hand from where the saw slipped and ran right across the top of his hand. It was bad. We wrapped him up and carried him back to base so he could get stitches in his hand.
The point is accidents can happen anytime or anywhere.
Have a first aid kit in your camping gear and know how to use it.
Conclusion On RV Safety
One of the best ways to practice RV safety is to be prepared. Being prepared for anything that might arise could turn a potential disaster into something less traumatizing. Traveling and camping in an RV is one of the most rewarding experiences you can ever have. There are risks involved, as with anything we do. Being prepared will not only keep you safe, but your family as well.
Have a plan, and a back-up plan. Things don’t always go just exactly the way we want them to go.
What are your thoughts on RV safety? Do you have any tips to add? If so, we would love to hear them. Leave us a comment in the section below and let us know.