Cases of Emergency In an RV
Summer is here and all sorts of recreational vehicles, from the smallest travel trailer to the largest coach are on the move but before they head for the highway, there are some things all RV owners should know about preparing for, preventing and dealing with an accident.
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Be Prepared Before An RV Accident Happens
The RV owner has planned his vacation right down to the style of his awning lights and which icemaker to purchase. He’s packed his sunscreen and bathing suit; his site reservations have been made well in advance and he is ready to roll. But before he pulls out of the driveway there is one more thing he needs to do and that is prepare in the event that he has an accident.
- Stock Warning Devices, such as triangles, flairs and reflectors
- Insure The Vehicle, preferably with a company that specializes in recreational vehicles.
- Keep A Pad Handy, to write down details of the accident while they are fresh in the driver’s mind.
- Put Relevant Documents Together,Crawford suggest organizing the registration, insurance information and emergency contacts together in a zip lock bag in the glove box.
- Keep A Camera Handy, to record damage.
Tips For Preventing An RV Accident
While there is no guarantee that an RV driver can avoid a potential accident, there are safety tips he should know and abide by that might just end up saving him the frustrations and possible injuries a highway mishap can involve. Here are just a few:
- Practice Driving The RV Take time to practice things like emergency stopping, emergency lane changes, and panic stops before getting on the highway. This is basic for the novice driver getting used to a new or used – new to him – RV as well as the seasoned driver who might be taking his skills for granted.
- Avoid Distractions Driving is a full time job. Being attentive to what is going on around the driver every minute is imperative.
- Slow Down RV drivers should know when to slow down: Changing lanes, (using blinkers at all times), approaching traffic lights, construction, and driving at night are examples when slowing the vehicle is important. Hazard lights should be used when traveling at very low speeds.
What To Do When An RV Accident Happens
- Assess The Situation. After checking for injuries, the driver should write down any details of the accident while they are fresh in his mind. He should also record any damage with his camera.
- Call Emergency Services – 911 is the emergency number is most, but not all of the United States and Canada. The RV driver should make a point of knowing what the emergency number is where he is traveling.
- Take And Share Pertinent Information. The driver should have his registration and insurance information handy and give it to the other drivers involved but he should never discuss whose fault the accident was or admit liability in any way. He should call his insurance company as soon as possible.
- Wait For The Police And Emergency Services To Arrive On The Scene. The police will decide if the RV is drivable and if not, they will take care of having it towed.
The importance of RV safety can’t be stressed enough. Following these tips can help make an RV experience a healthy and happy one.
How To Use an RV for Emergencies
In the event of a crisis or natural disaster, RV owners have the advantage, with enough warning time, to evacuate the problem area and seek shelter in their camper or motorhome. Being prepared to vacate the area in an emergency – using a recreational vehicle – can save money, belongings, and most importantly, lives.
In an emergency where an evacuation is needed, the chance that hotels in the surrounding areas will have available rooms is not likely. Many fairgrounds, stadiums and even national or state parks give evacuees a place to park free of charge, which is an advantage to disaster victims who use an RV for shelter. When there is a chance that a person or family will lose everything in a natural disaster, the need to save the items that are most valuable is crucial – having the extra space in an RV compared to a car will allow for keepsakes, pictures, documents, antiques and family heirlooms to be saved.
Steps to Making an Evacuation Plan
- Prepare a list of supplies: If camping provisions are not stocked within the RV during the active season, have boxes or bins filled with emergency supplies readily available and labeled/stored with ease of access. Special needs will vary for each traveler concerning medical or infant supplies, however, a list of basics is helpful as a starting point. It is important for RVers to remember that as long as the towing vehicle and hitch are ready and if the motorhome has a full tank of gas, supplies and tanks can always be refurbished on the road – the important point is the ability to flee the area.
- First aid kit
- Non-perishable food and bottled water – fresh goods for cooking can be purchased later while on the road
- Basic cooking tools (cast iron skillet, baking dish, saucepot) and dishes/utensils for each traveler
- Can opener, all-purpose cooking knife, mixing bowl
- Seasonal bedding
- Toiletries and towels for bathing
- Filled propane tanks
- Have a choice of destinations: It is important to keep pre-planned routes for a selection of destinations available in order to know where to head to first. Keep an updated list of campgrounds/parks within a reasonable radius of home to be prepared to drive in any given direction for safety. Print out directions, contact information and available amenities at the park so that arrangements can be made while on the drive.
- Keep documents updated and organized: Any original documents that would be difficult to replace if destroyed as well as copies of account information from banks, registrations or memberships should either be kept in a safety deposit box, or fire-proof personal safe. If transportable, a safe can be moved onto an RV so that any identification that would be needed while away from home would be available. It would also be beneficial to keep emergency cash on hand to be prepared for the unexpected events that can happen in emergency situations.
- Assure all individuals are aware of responsibilities and roles: If the time would ever come to evacuate the home, each person in the house should be aware of the plan and what their role is in carrying it out. Everyone should know what is critical to save and who is responsible for helping get the supplies and RV ready to leave. Similar to practicing a fire drill, all persons involved should be assured of the emergency plan.
RV Weather Emergency Tips
If you call an RV home you must be ever aware of your vulnerability to severe weather, high winds or other emergencies that can do damage to our homes on wheels. As we sit on RV sites, parking lots, in the boonies or in cities we are not secured to the earth, as were our brick and mortar homes. A gust of wind – say 40mph – directly frontal to our awning would likely put said awning over the roof. Gusting side winds if taken directly can easily roll your home on its side. Our only option is to get outta’ Dodge.
As we sat waiting to see what direction hurricane Ernesto might take we evolved an emergency evacuation plan. A friend of mine once said he was always 45-minuts from being on the road at any time. I watched him invoke that 45-minute from set-up to pull out, it wasn’t pretty but he did it. By the way it took me an hour and ½ to accomplish the same.
- Keep your rig ready to roll. Don’t put off those repairs. Keep your rig road ready. This includes keeping the pressure correct in your tires.
- Keep your area under your rig clean. Yes I know that’s where we all store things and that’s ok but keep it to a minimum if you don’t use it get rid of it. Thing is if you need to pull out you need to be able to do so quickly.
- Keep at least a 3-day food supply on hand. Weeks would be better. I can’t imagine us ever being below three days but it is a good supply and should be able to get us to safe harbor somewhere where we can re-supply and move on or sit till the problem has moved on.
- Water. Be sure your fresh water tank is full before you leave. Have at least two cases of bottled water on hand. Again don’t wait till the last minute to get the water; it’s not going to go to waste if there is no emergency.
- Grey and Black tanks. Dump before you leave don’t hit the road with full tanks.
- Let someone know. Let someone know where you are going and when you plan on returning. Leave them a way to contact you.
- Know your escape routes. Have a planed route for each direction you may need to go.
- Don’t wait till the last moment to leave. Don’t get caught in all that traffic…leave early…better to have to turnaround than be stuck in traffic when the storm hits.
These are just a few suggestions that may get you to safe harbor. There may be things that you need to add for your own circumstances.