It’s motorhome and RV season again in Calgary and Alberta, and if you’re going to be hitting the road in a recreational vehicle this spring or summer, it’s a good idea to brush up on safety tips and best practices for avoiding accidental damage. Submitting a motorhome insurance claim will almost inevitably end up driving your rates up, so the key to keeping them as low as possible is being careful and proactive about avoiding accidents and safety risks.
Important General Safety Tips
In addition to regular vehicle maintenance, keeping these key safety tips in mind will help you avoid the most common motorhome insurance claims:
Know your vehicle’s height. Many motorhome and RV drivers simply forget about the added height their vehicle carries, and that can cause problems when driving on roads that pass under low bridges and sloping trees that hang over the road. Avoid problems by:
- Paying close attention to posted signs that indicate the height of upcoming bridges
- Sticking a post-it note in an easily visible place on the driver’s side of the vehicle interior to remind you of your vehicle height if you’re prone to forgetting it
- Don’t take chances; if you’re unsure whether or not a given road is safe for your motorhome or RV, take an alternate route.
Do a safety check before heading out on a trip. Regular vehicle maintenance is a great way to protect your motorhome insurance rates from being affected, but you should also perform a thorough check before leaving on a road trip. Your checklist should include:
- Careful securing of all cargo, doors, locks and loose items in the vehicle’s interior
- Close and lock all cabinets, closets and appliances
- Turn off the water heater and pump until you reach your destination
- Lower the roof vents
- Retract all protruding accessories, like TV receivers, jacks and awnings
- Turn off the propane tank
- Make sure all your signal lights are working correctly
- Double-check your tire pressure and fluid levels (engine coolant, transmission fluid, windshield washer fluid and oil)
- Ensure there are no fluid leaks
- Pack a fully-stocked emergency kit
Know and Address Fire Risks
Motorhome and RV fires can start while the vehicle is moving or stationary. Their most common causes include leaking fuel connections and gas lines, electrical problems, overheating appliances and dried-out wheel bearings in trailers and extra wheels. In addition to carefully checking each of these elements, you can improve your motorhome fire safety strategy by:
- Establishing and practicing an evacuation plan
- Making sure your smoke, carbon monoxide and propane leak detectors have fresh batteries and are in good working order
- Adding fire extinguishers to the vehicle’s interior, and knowing how to use them properly and effectively
You should also try to keep combustible items like paper and clothing as far away from potential fire starting points as possible. Take extra care when cooking, and remember that many safety experts recommend keeping your motorhome’s fire extinguisher in the kitchen area, since it is a common place for a fire to break out.
Driving and Vehicle Handling Tips
Even if you’re an experienced motorhome or RV driver, it’s always a good idea to review your driving and vehicle handling skills. These vehicles are far larger and heavier than regular passenger cars, and as such, they require a different set of driving practices.
Here are some important driving and handling pointers to remember when you’re on the road:
- Make sure your mirrors are all properly adjusted before hitting the road.
- Try to avoid backing up if possible, especially in parking lots. Choose out-of-the-way parking spots wherever possible, as you can drive through to your final stopping point rather than having to reverse in or out.
- Consider adding a camera system to the vehicle to aid your manoeuvrability in tight spaces and while backing up.
- Because motorhomes and RVs are much heavier, they require additional braking time. Increase your following distance and maintain a safe speed at all times, especially at night, on country roads and during rainy weather.
- Expect other drivers to try to pass you. Keep to the right lanes when you’re on the highway and let overtaking vehicles pass.
- Your motorhome or RV has a wider turning radius. Allow extra room when navigating intersections and tight corners.
Motorhome Insurance: Trust the Lane’s Insurance Advantage
Lane’s Insurance is a leading provider of motorhome insurance in Alberta. We work with the province’s most trusted carriers, providing great auto insurance rates and outstanding customer service and claims support. Get started today by contacting Lane’s for an introduction to our personalized customer care.