Heading out on your winter road trip? Be safe – RV driving is all about staying alert and focused.
Frightening fact: simply reading or sending a text message takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. Seem like nothing? At a speed of 90 km/h, that’s the equivalent of driving the length of a football field – with your eyes closed!
We want you to get excited about your upcoming winter RV trip and we want you to get to your destination safe and sound! We assume you’re not driving your rig like a maniac, so staying alert and focused is really what it’s all about when it comes to safe RV driving.
There is a multitude of distractions when you spend hours every day on the road. And they can be dangerous. The most recent estimates indicate that driver distraction may be responsible for 20-30% of all automobile collisions – over 1000 injuries and fatal motor vehicle accidents every year. Distracted drivers are eight times more likely to be in a crash or near accident compared with undistracted drivers.
Talking on a mobile phone or texting is still a problem, despite evidence showing how dangerous it is. But there is any number of activities we do while behind the wheel that can present a dangerous risk. As you make your plans for your winter road trip escape, consider the following ways you can eliminate distractions and make safe RV driving a priority:
Organization is key – before you drive!
Safe RV driving requires that you decide on your route before you get started on the road each day. Program the GPS. Adjust your seats, mirrors, and radio before you roll out of the driveway. Be sure that any loose items – water bottles, for instance – are stowed securely to prevent them from rolling around. And you reaching for them.
Reserve your first several nights ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about it once you’re on the road.
Be sure that your passengers, including children, are also stowed and ready to go. That includes any furry friends! If they do need attention, pull over and stop to address their needs. Reaching behind you can easily cause you to lose control of the automobile.
By now, we’re all well aware of the dangers of using a mobile device while driving. But, so many of us continue to sneak a peek at an incoming text or program the phone’s GPS while on the road. When your phone chimes, it’s just too tempting to take a look to see who or what it is.
Do not use your mobile device when you’re driving. Put it in ‘do not disturb’ mode to help you avoid the temptation of checking it. Even at stoplights. If for no other reason than because, in some places, law enforcement may ticket you if they witness you using your phone at a traffic light. Bluetooth and voice commands should help you if you need to make a hands-free call or text while on the road BUT that is still a distraction. Your hands might be on the wheel, but your attention is no longer on the road. Use them only when absolutely necessary.
Avoid multitasking while driving
We know that you do the best you can at safe RV driving. But when you spend that much time on the road, it can be tempting to try to get little things done while you drive – book appointments, reserve that night’s camp spot or table at a restaurant, catch up with friends and family. Avoid it as best you can. If you must take care of those things, pull over at a safe location and stop. Or, let a passenger take care of it as you drive. You need to focus on the road and the other vehicles around you.
Don’t eat and drive
Let’s face it, we all do it. We don’t really think about it interfering with our focus on driving. But it can – easily. Spilt food or drink is a major cause of distraction. Unwrapping, unsealing, and arranging in your lap or in a cup holder; these activities take your attention off the road. Sometimes for an extended time.
Safe RV driving – passengers matter
Enjoy the company of your passengers, but also, don’t be afraid to task them. Let them answer a text or call. They can reprogram the GPS.
Keep the chit-chat light and easy. Difficult or emotional conversations can become a serious distraction, even a dangerous one.
Don’t drive while drowsy
It may seem obvious, but the fact is, we’ve all pushed through fatigue while driving. We shouldn’t. According to the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, drowsiness is responsible for 21% of motor vehicle accidents in Canada. It’s as big a problem as driving impaired or with a mobile phone in your hand.
When you drive drowsy, your reaction time is slower and your decision-making is compromised – more impulsive and less rational. When you are fatigued while driving, your vision can become blurred and you can be more sensitive to light. Additionally, your focus diminishes and it’s easier to get confused.
What can you do?
- Stop the RV and park in a safe location. Put the seat back and take a quick nap – 15 minutes is often adequate to refresh you for driving further. This is probably the tactic with the most impact.
- To amplify the effects of your break, drink a caffeinated beverage right before your snooze. After your rest, the caffeine should have begun to take effect.
- Get out of your RV for a few minutes. Stretch your legs and take in some vital fresh air.
Enjoy your upcoming RV vacation. And be safe!
Do you have questions about travel insurance or insuring your recreational vehicle? TALK TO US!