Final school bells are ringing, graduations underway, summer weather and vacations are on tap.
There’s something magical about a summer road trip. And it’s a standby in literature and movies—from John Steinbeck’s classic Travels with Charley to Smokey and the Bandit.
Times have certainly changed since Steinbeck and his dog Charley made their way across America 52 years ago.
But one thing hasn’t changed: A summer road trip is still the best way to see the country, its natural wonders, national parks and monuments, historic sites, and other scenic and fun-time wonders and attractions.
Hitting the open road can be the highlight of any spring or summer camping expedition but don’t let preventable maintenance issues put a damper on your summer travel season.
Before you hit the road, ensure your recreational vehicle is roadworthy, and that you’re prepared in case of emergency.
The proper maintenance of your recreational vehicle is a key to keeping you on the road to safety. An RV that’s mechanically sound will be less apt to break down.
Be meticulous about maintenance.
Plan Your Trip
- Plan, map, and estimate the duration of your road trip
- Expect to encounter roadwork, delays, and detours
- ‘Slow for the Cone Zone’
- Check road conditions, including possible road closures
- Have a plan if you do break down—carry your mobile phone and know the emergency numbers to call
- Leave your itinerary with relatives or friends so they can contact you in case of emergency
Prepare Your Vehicle
- Inspect all belts and hoses for cracking and replace as required
- Inspect the engine, battery, and fluids for proper levels
- Check headlights, brake lights, and turn signals
- Prepare an Emergency Roadside Kit, including jumper cables, a flashlight, and ample bottled water
- Ensure your tires have the recommended air pressure, sufficient tread depth, and have not aged out (NOTE: RV tires typically should be replaced due to age after six to eight years)
- Correct tire pressure is vital to your safety on the road
- Under-inflated tires affect handling and grip, potentially causing irregular or unpredictable vehicle behavior
- Under-inflated tires are more likely to suffer from a dangerous blowout, especially on high-speed motorway journeys
Safety First and Always
- Buckle Up
- If you have a flat tire, engine problems, or a fender bender, drive out of traffic lanes and off the highway if possible—freeway shoulders are NOT safe for repair work
- Always plan ahead
- Scheduled stops provide everyone a chance to stretch and refocus
Focus on the Road
- DONOT text or talk on your cell phone while driving—not even hands-free
- DONOT program your mobile GPS while driving
- Share the driving with other passengers to avoid fatigue
- Schedule your trip to allow for frequent breaks
Avoid these common causes of RV accidents:
- Fires that occur from leaking LP gas (propane)
- Tire blowouts due to overloading or to under inflated or worn-out tires
- Ensure that you retract outside steps prior to traveling
- Antenna down?
Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!
Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.