Due to the escalation of the coronavirus outbreak, local destinations for outdoor recreation may be closed. Please visit official websites for more information.

RV Checklist: 10 Safety Tips to Know Before Traveling

How to stay safe on your next road trip. 

By Trent Jonas

RV Checklist: 10 Safety Tips to Know Before Traveling

As you prepare to head out on an RV road trip or camping adventure, it's important to consider a few safety precautions before embarking on your journey. From how to safely turn corners and back your rig to proper braking techniques and where to camp, make sure you draft up a checklist of items before you go. Here are a few helpful RV safety tips to know. 

Check Your Tires

Before heading out, inspect the tires on your RV—and if it’s a travel trailer, on your tow vehicle as well. Make sure they’re properly inflated, that the tread is not worn, and that there are no cracks in the rubber. Vehicles that sit for long periods of time between trips may develop cracks in their tires from ultraviolet light and ozone exposure. For this reason, it’s a good idea to protect your tires between trips with tire covers, like those from Elements. Another way to protect your RV’s tires between trips is to block and level it when it’s not in use. Doing so relieves unnecessary pressure on the tires, which can cause wear.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Camping World (@campingworld) on

Make Sure All Signals and Lights Are Working

Regardless of your RV’s class, you are almost always operating a vehicle that is larger than those around you. So, it’s important that other drivers are able to see your signals before you maneuver. Always check the brake and signal lights on your RV, and if towing, on your tow vehicle as well.

Double Check Your Trailer Coupling

For those with a travel trailer, always double (or triple) check your RV’s attachment to your vehicle. Make sure the hitch is locked onto the ball, that the safety chains are properly attached to the tow vehicle, and that all the electricals are working properly. For additional safety, consider using some kind of anti-sway device, like the CURT 17200 anti-sway bar control kit. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by CURT (@curtmfg) on

Inspect Your Propane System

Frequently inspect your RV’s propane system. Look for cracked or damaged hoses and make sure all connections are tight and properly fitted. Test your RV’s stove and anything else that may run on propane, such as your heating system. Don’t forget that many RV refrigerators, like the Dometic RM2193RB may also operate on propane, so check the connections there, as well.

Install a Propane and Carbon Monoxide Detector

For the most part, RVs are small, enclosed spaces, which amplifies the threat posed by carbon monoxide or a propane leak. For this reason, it’s important to have a leak detector, like the Dometic RV Carbon Monoxide/Propane Leak Detector on board. Don’t forget to test the unit frequently to make sure it works properly.

Keep Multiple Fire Extinguishers on Board

Because RVs tend to have limited exits, it is always a good idea to have multiple fire extinguishers strategically placed throughout the vehicle. One near where you sleep, one near where you cook, and one near the door, for example. They also come in handy in the event a campfire is difficult to extinguish. The compact H3R Performance Clean Agent Fire Extinguisher is good option for RVs because its agent is noncorrosive, so it won’t damage electronics if it comes into contact with them.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by H3R Performance, Inc. (@h3rperformance) on

Make Sure Your Fire Extinguishers Are Up to Date and Charged

It’s one thing to have several fire extinguishers on board your RV, but it’s another to make sure that they are all unexpired and working. Fire extinguishers should be replaced or recharged after every use. They also need to be inspected and recharged at regular intervals if they have not been used. Follow the fire extinguisher manufacturer’s specifications for inspection and recharging to ensure you’re keeping yourself and your family safe.

Is Your Smoke Detector Working?

Any RV designed to be slept in should have a working smoke detector installed. The BRK FG250B from First Alert is a good example of a simple smoke detector that is approved for RV use. Test your unit frequently and replace the batteries regularly.

Have a Fire Escape Plan

In the event of a fire in your RV, you need to know what to do in order to get yourself, your family, and any pets you may have out safely. Make a plan and communicate to everyone you’re traveling with. With children, test their memory every so often so that you know they have the escape plan down.

Have the Brakes Inspected

Before heading out on any trip, have your RV’s brakes inspected. If you’re towing, make sure to have your tow vehicle’s brakes inspected, as well. Brake failure on an RV, particularly on a travel trailer rig, can have serious consequences. 

Due to the escalation of the coronavirus outbreak, local destinations for outdoor recreation may be closed. Please visit official websites for more information.

Subscribe for future Step Outside News!