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What You Need to Know Before Taking an RV on a Road Trip

How to prepare for an RV road trip that’s fun, safe and memorable-for all the right reasons.

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Planning to take an RV on a road trip?

If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to see the country, travelling in an RV is an excellent way to go. In a sense, you get to take your house with you, and you can stop anywhere you want along the way.  

Before you hit the open road, however, it’s a wise idea to make a few preparations. Driving an RV is different from driving most other vehicles, and being aware of those differences can make your journey safer and more enjoyable. Here are some things to keep in mind before you cruise off into the sunset.

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1. Have the RV serviced and inspected.

No matter what kind of vehicle you’re driving, you need to make sure it is roadworthy before you pull out of your driveway. Whether you own the RV or are renting it, always take insist on a pre-trip service and full inspection. Once the RV gets a clean bill of health, you can pack it up and hit the road with confidence. The last thing you want is to have your long-anticipated road trip come to a premature end because of a preventable maintenance issue.

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2. Practice driving the RV before you hit the road.

Chances are you won’t have a lot of problems driving an RV on the highway, but navigating smaller city streets can be a real challenge in such a large vehicle. Put in plenty of driving practice before you leave home and learn how to use all of your mirrors to determine your position and back the vehicle safely.

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3. Consider installing a backup camera in your RV.

If your RV doesn’t already have one, consider installing a backup camera. It’s a handy accessory that will make pulling into those tight parking spaces a lot easier and give you additional peace of mind. (Alternatively, if you’re traveling with passengers, you can always ask them to check behind the vehicle before you reverse.)

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4. Be aware of handling differences when driving an RV.

Driving an RV is different from driving a car or even a full-size pickup truck, for that matter. The higher centre of gravity means you need to take turns wider, and the large size of the RV means you’ll need a bigger turning radius. Again, practicing ahead of time can help you get used to handling such a large vehicle.

You will also need to be cognizant of the wind speed as you drive. When the winds get strong, it could cause the RV to drift unexpectedly. Take a tighter grip on the wheel when it’s windy, and give other drivers more space.

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5. Consider forming an RV caravan.

Chances are you’ll meet other RV drivers on your road trip, particularly if you’re traveling down a popular road trip route. If you are all going the same way, consider teaming up with the RV drivers you meet at campgrounds, local attractions and restaurants, and forming an RV caravan. Traveling with other RV drivers is fun, but it can also enhance your sense of safety: A large caravan of RVs will be easier for other drivers to spot.