season means lots of folks will be out driving RVs and towing trailers.
MBA insurance, a leading RV rental insurance company, recently informed
us of the five most common insurance claims for RVs. These claims
include hitting concrete islands at gas pumps, hitting obstacles when
making right turns, hitting overhead obstructions, backing the RV into
something and side swipe damage to the RV.
Today I would like to offer some RV driving tips and hints to help
you avoid becoming a statistic in these top 5 RV insurance claims.
1) Accidents at the Gas Pump: The leading insurance claim is hitting
concrete islands or poles at the gas pump. The reason this is the
leading cause of accidents is because there are two ways it can happen.
If you are turning away from the pole or island tail swing is the
culprit. If you are turning towards the pole or island turning before
you reach the pivot point is the culprit. To learn how to avoid
accidents at the gas pump from happening view the video posted above to
learn how to avoid accidents at the gas pump.
2) Right Turns: Making right turns made the list of top five RV
insurance claims for the same reason as gas station accidents. When you
make a right turn in an RV you need to drive out further than you are
accustomed to before you start into the turn. If you start to make a
right turn too early, before your pivot point clears an object, it can
result in hitting an object or driving over a curb. When you make a
right turn tail swing applies too. If you are too close to an object on
the opposite side of the direction you are turning your tail swing can
hit the object.
3) Height of RVs: When you drive an automobile height is not a
concern. An average size vehicle can drive through or under any bridge,
tunnel, overpass or fast food drive-thru that you encounter. But, when
you are driving a motorhome or towing a trailer you need to constantly
be aware of heights. It’s not uncommon for RVs to exceed 12 feet in
height. When you are traveling on back roads an overpass that you could
easily clear in an automobile can result in serious damage to your RV. I
recommend measuring your RV at the highest point from the ground, and
write the height down where it is easy to see as a constant reminder.
4) Backing the RV: Backing an automobile is easy because it is small
and you can look over your shoulder and see where you are going. This is
not true with a motorhome or trailer. It is larger and you cannot just
look over your shoulder and back up. It requires practice to become
proficient at backing an RV. For starters you should always try to avoid
backing from your right side. This is your blindside. It is much easier
to back from your left. The best method for backing is to have a
spotter guide you. You need to be able to communicate using hand signals
or radios. The spotter needs to be positioned where they can be seen in
your mirror. This means the spotter may need to move as you turn and
back. You should always be able to see each other’s faces during the
backing maneuver. If something doesn’t look right, stop, get out and
look. If you need to back without assistance walk the area first.
Establish predetermined stop points, and then stop, get out and check
when you reach that predetermined point. Repeat this process as many
times as necessary. Before you start backing tap your horn to warn
people around you. Always be on the lookout for small children and pets.
5) Roof & Side Swipe Damage: Number five on the list is a big
one. It goes back to driving a smaller automobile again. In a car you
don’t need to be concerned with tree branches and other overhead
obstacles, or with sideswiping the overhang of a roof or hitting a
mirror on a bridge. Always keep in mind a motohome or trailer is wider
and taller than an automobile. When you add mirrors and awnings it’s
even wider and with items like roof mounted air conditioners and
antennas it’s taller too. When you arrive at the campground you need to
get out and look before attempting to park the unit on the site. Tree
branches and other overhead obstacles can easily damage the roof and
sides of the RV.
This was a crash course on driving and towing an RV but it should
help when it comes to avoiding the top five RV insurance claims. If you
would like to learn more about how to properly and safely drive an RV
check out our DVD titles and instant video downloads below.
Happy RV Learning!
-Mark Polk RV Education 101