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Staying safe when heading out in an RV

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting reluctance of individuals, especially families with children, to travel by plane or other public means, RV use has increased.  Seems like a relaxing relatively safe way to explore our beautiful country.

However, driving an RV is far from easy, even though it doesn’t require any special license. They’re bulky, tall and top-heavy. Steering can be confusing, especially if you have a trailer. They are prone to accidents, including serious ones.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 75,000 people are hospitalized each year in RV accidents. What are the main causes of these accidents and how can you protect yourself?

Take extra care behind the wheel of an RV

One of the most common causes of RV accidents is the inexperienced driver. Before you head out on the road, be sure to practice common maneuvers such as steering, turning, reversing, and braking in a parking lot or other safe open setting.

Underinflated tires can lead to rollovers, which most often occur when the driver is speeding or takes a sharp turn. The majority of fatal rollovers occur at 55 mph or higher, while you should generally not drive an RV above 60 mph. RVs are especially prone to rollovers due to their high center of gravity.

Poorly balanced weight can cause unintended sideswipes of other vehicles, or even overturn your vehicle. In general, overloading or uneven loading can be dangerous because it can cause the vehicle to pull in one direction or the other. It can also stress your tires, putting you at risk of a tire blowout. Overloading and uneven tire wear can strain your suspension or even bend your axle. If you have overloaded your RV, you may be deemed at fault in an accident.

Catastrophic RV accidents can also be caused by a detached trailer, leaving the towed vehicle free to collide with other vehicles. Even a partial detachment can cause your towed vehicle to sway dangerously. Immediately before you begin your trip in an RV, you should check that your hitch is secure and make sure you have installed it correctly to prevent sway.

Overcorrection or oversteering can cause a rear-end collision. Turning the RV is generally more of a challenge than driving your standard car, and you will need to make wide, slow turns.

Failure to brake in time is another common cause of accidents because large vehicles take much longer to slow down. Slamming on the brakes can cause sudden skidding, which can be deadly.

Even blind spots are different in RVs than in your everyday vehicle, and that can make changing lanes a challenge. The recommendation that you practice before driving your RV and understand how to avoid collisions cannot be emphasized enough.

If you have been injured in an RV accident anywhere in the Chicagoland area, contact Martin Law, LLC. Our family and team of lawyers will help you understand what happened and help protect your rights.