Traveling in an RV can be an exciting adventure, but one thrill you don’t need is the dread of an impending hurricane! If you plan to travel to an area—or live in an area—that’s prone to hurricanes or tropical storms, it’s important to know how to prepare yourself, family, and unit for this extreme weather. Get a plan in place ahead of time with RV Trader’s seven tips for preparing your RV for a hurricane.
1. Track the Weather
Weather patterns and conditions can change quickly, especially during hurricane season. Remain proactive by keeping an eye on weather forecasts. As you’re following the weather alerts online, on TV, or over the radio, make sure you understand what each type of weather condition indicates.
- Advisory – Advisories are most often used for less severe weather, like wind.
- Watch – A hurricane is possible. Watches typically span over a large area for a long period of time.
- Warning – Hurricane conditions are imminent. Warnings cover a smaller, more precise area for a definite period of time. High Wind Warnings are issued for wind speeds of 40 mph for an hour or more, or wind gusts of 56 mph for any duration.
2. Prepare an Emergency Kit
RVs aren’t safe to drive in any storm with high winds. Whether you have to hunker down in a storm shelter or safely in your RV, make sure you have everything you need to wait out the storm. Here are some items to keep in an emergency/evacuation kit:
- Drinkable water
- Water for brushing your teeth, flushing, and washing
- Non-perishable food
- Cash and ATM cards
- First-aid kit
- Battery-operated radio
- Portable phone charger
- Rain attire, including jackets and boots
- Insurance information and other important documents
3. Choose the Right Campsite
During hurricane season, boondock your RV in an elevated location that’s away from large trees. Pick up any nearby fallen tree branches that could become projectiles and cause damage during high winds. Once you’ve secured the campsite, find the closest storm shelter in or near the campground and determine an evacuation plan.
4. Do a Safety Check of the RV
Before a storm, perform a safety inspection of your RV. Fill the fuel tank and check the windshield wipers and tires. If your unit has a gas-burning stove, be sure to check the batteries in your RV’s smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. Finally, test your generator to make sure it’s ready for use before, during, or after a storm.
5. Secure Your RV
If you aren’t able to store your RV inside a garage or storage facility, do your best to protect it from the effects of the storm. Cover and tie down the unit, board up windows, and make sure the water tank is full in order to add weight, lower the center of gravity and increase stability. If you have items outside your RV, such as lawn chairs, tables, and grills, make sure to tie those down too. Chock the tires of travel trailers in both directions to stop the wheels from rolling. If your RV has slide outs, stow them away.
6. Check Your RV Insurance
Before hurricane season, check that the insurance policy on your RV is up to date and covers the effects of hurricanes, such as wind and water damage. Make sure you know if your insurance requires that you follow state or local evacuation mandates in order to access coverage. Before the storm, take photos or videos of your RV and belongings so you’ll have a record to show your insurance agent, if necessary. After the storm, take photos and videos of any damage.
7. If You Get Caught in a Storm
If you’re on the road and get caught in a storm without time to prepare, carefully drive to the nearest exit, find a large, sturdy building near to which you can park your RV, and seek shelter inside. Tune into a local weather forecast, or utilize a mobile weather app, to track the storm conditions and determine when it will be safe to get back on the road. When it is safe, NEVER attempt to drive through high standing water or flash floods.
Conclusion: Safety should always be a priority when traveling in your RV, but even more so during hurricane season. These tips can help prepare your RV for a hurricane, whether you encounter a storm on the road, are using your unit to evacuate, or are simply securing the RV until the storm passes.
If you’re searching for your next RV, browse the for-sale units available nationwide at RVTrader.com.