Spring has sprung, and with the new season comes some weather-related challenges. Campers need to prepare before they start traveling as well as while staying at a campground or boondocking.
We’ve pulled together some of the top tips from various sources to help you safely make the most of the new season.
Before You Leave
Do a maintenance check before you hit the road.
How is the tread and pressure on all the tires? Are your windshield wipers in good shape or in need of replacement? PowerSports Insurance Agency says wiper blades should be replaced twice a year or once every 6,000 miles. (RVing.how suggests packing a spare set just in case.) Do the brakes still have plenty of life? Are all the lights (front and back, on the tow vehicle and the trailer) operational?
On the Road
Pay attention to weather forecasts
If heavy rain, high winds, or other weather events are predicted, you may want to delay your trip or identify locations along your route where you can pull off if driving because hazardous.
On the road and get a tornado alert? The Travelers Indemnity Company recommends getting off the road completely, avoid stopping under bridges and tunnels, and either get as low as possible in your vehicle, or if you can seek shelter below the level of the highway, exit your vehicle and cover your head.
Hail hitting? The good news is that it won’t last long. The bad news is that those frozen balls can do a lot of damage in a few minutes. Get off the road, stay in your vehicle, and wait it out.
Leave more space than usual
Once the rain starts, that three-second rule is off. The Travelers Indemnity Company recommends increasing the distance between your RV, truck camper, or tow vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you. It takes longer to stop on wet roads, plus the rain may decrease your visibility. (What you can’t see can hurt you!)
Don’t take your vehicle for a “swim”
In other words, avoid standing water. There’s no way to know how deep it is — or what is under the surface — and your RV, truck camper, or tow vehicle is heavier than a passenger car making it more likely that you’ll get stuck. Then there are low-traction areas that can be more slippery than others when it rains, points out Ryan’s RV Town. These include low-lying areas, on- and off-ramps, the inside of banked corners, and even intersections where idling vehicles leak engine fluids and oil.
Watch out for winds
According to The Travelers Indemnity Company, wide-open spaces, highway overpasses, tunnels, and “road cuts” through mountainous areas are locations where high winds are more common. Plus, if you’re driving an RV or towing a trailer, it can be harder to keep your vehicle in its lane, especially if sudden gusts blow your way.
Don’t fight the fog
The first rule is to slow down so you have more time to react. Turn on your lights (but not high beams). And if your visibility is severely compromised, it’s time to find a safe place to park away from travel lanes, and wait for conditions to improve, says The Travelers Indemnity Company.
Take your time
Hydroplaning occurs when you travel too quickly in heavy rain, and your vehicle’s wheels travel on a thin layer of water rather than the road surface. If the rain has just started, The Travelers Indemnity Company warns that highway oils can make the conditions even slicker.
Hit the lights
When the wipers go on, so should the lights on your vehicle (and trailer if you’re towing), especially since almost half of U.S. states require headlights during rain. You’ll not only see better, but other vehicles will be able to see you. But skip the high beams if it’s raining, says PowerSports Insurance Agency since the bright light will reflect off the raindrops and make it more difficult to see.