Prime camping season is here and that translates into hitting the road and logging some miles in our motorhomes this summer. Driving a motorhome is not that difficult, but if you’re used to driving an average-size automobile, there are a few driving tips and techniques to keep in mind.
My RV insurance company has informed me of the causes of the most common insurance claims for RVs. The claims relate to: hitting concrete islands at gas pumps, hitting obstacles when making right turns, hitting overhead obstructions, backing the RV into something, and sideswipe damage to the RV.
If you think about it, all of these incidents are caused by the length, width or height of the RV, because it is longer, wider and taller than what you are accustomed to.
Here are my top 5 (yes, I’m straying from my typical top 7) RV driving tips and hints on how to avoid becoming an RV insurance statistic.
1. Accidents at the fuel pump
When it’s time to refuel, look for an exit where there are several gas stations available. This gives you a better selection for finding one that is easy to navigate in and out of.
The two most common incidents at the pump are when you turn into or away from a concrete island or pole at the gas station. If you are turning away from the pole, tail swing is the culprit. If you are turning toward the pole, your pivot point is the culprit. Tail swing is when you turn the RV in one direction, and the rear of the RV swings out in the opposite direction. Depending on the motorhome, tail swing can be more than 30 inches.
The pivot point of the RV is the center of the rear axle. If you turn in the direction of an object before the pivot point reaches the object, you will hit it. If you turn in the direction of an object after the pivot point reaches the object, you will clear it.
2. Right turns
Making right turns made the list of top RV insurance claims for the same reason as gas stations. When you make a right turn in your motorhome, you need to drive out farther 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 in, your tail swing can hit the object.
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