Camping 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
Other Resources for Towing, Backing and Driving Can be Found here: