When you own a recreational vehicle (RV), also known as a motor home, you don’t have to worry about finding motels on the road as you can travel with the amenities of home. But because driving this type of large vehicle can be dangerous, it’s critical to know basic safety guidelines.
Each year RV accidents result in serious injuries to the spine, neck and back, in addition to traumatic brain injuries. Tragically, some people even die. If you own a recreational vehicle, or you’re thinking of buying one, here are some RV safety guidelines from a Wisconsin accident attorney.
Practice Driving Your RV Before Taking a Trip
If you don’t own an RV or have never driven one, then don’t venture out on a trip before first doing some trial driving. Why not rent an RV and practice driving it before actually making an investment. By testing out more than one kind of RV, you can compare how they differ and determine which one is best suited for you.
Practice driving skills, such as braking, accelerating, passing and using the rear-view mirror. You’ll quickly discover that maneuvering an RV is not the same as driving a pickup truck or SUV (sports utility vehicle). Furthermore, before launching out on a camping trip, practice backing up your vehicle, so you’re able to back it correctly into a campground.
Don’t Overload Your RV
It’s extremely important to not overload your recreational vehicle. Determine the amount of fuel and water that your vehicle can carry, staying under the legal weight restrictions for your particular RV. Also, you need to regularly weigh your recreational vehicle at weigh-in stations and commercial truck stops when taking road trips.
Avoid an Electrical Overload
Besides not physically overloading your RV, it’s just as important to not overload it electrically. Don’t just plug in all your electrical appliances and start your trip. Instead, take the time to label electrical items with the correct number of amps that each one draws. Consider that a typical RV is wired for only 30 or 50 amps.
What’s more, remember that you cannot run all your electronics at the same time as you do at home. In other words, don’t run your air conditioner at the same time that you’re using your toaster or microwave.
In most cases, rollovers are caused by driving too fast. Accidents from speeding can be even worse when coupled with driving an exceptionally large vehicle such as an RV. When you drive a recreational vehicle and need to change lanes, do so slowly. This entails not making sharp turns or braking suddenly.
What To Do If You’re Involved in an Accident
Unfortunately, accidents sometimes happen. If you’re involved in an RV accident in Wisconsin, follow these steps.
- Stop your RV as close as you can to the scene of the accident but not where the accident actually occurred. You don’t want to block or get in the way of other vehicles and drivers.
- Check to see if anyone is injured, giving whatever help you can or call 911.
- Call the police, immediately, if there are injuries or property damages of $1,000 or more. But regardless of the amount of damage, you should still call law enforcement authorities for documenting all damages or injuries so that you can file a claim.
- Exchange pertinent information with the other driver(s), such as insurance data and vehicle details.
- Contact your insurance agent.
- Complete the accident report that the investigating officer gives you and mail it to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
Other Considerations and Warnings
- Being unaware of the how much clearance is needed inside a tunnel or under an overpass can be disastrous. Thus, be sure you know your RV’s height and length. Keep this information taped to your dashboard.
- The better maintenance care you give your RV, the less likely you’ll have an accident.
- Always travel with internet access, which could be obtained from a cell phone, Ipad or laptop. Usually, truck stops and rest stops provide free internet services.
- Be aware of changing weather conditions.
If you’re the victim of an RV accident, call Harnitz Law Office. Our highly trained and experienced team of legal professionals, based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, can help you recover expenses incurred from damages and losses, including medical-related costs, therapy, rehabilitation, loss of income, emotional suffering and other types of losses. Please contact us and learn more about our wide range of legal services.