As snowbirds and other RVers prepare for travel during the coming weeks and months, two things will be on their minds—safely navigating the highways and byways, and at the same time, save costly fuel.
The first step toward a safe trip begins in the driveway before you leave home.
1. Service vehicles regularly
Follow the recommended service and maintenance schedules; keeping an RV tuned up and in top running condition saves fuel. A clean air filter keeps impurities from damaging your engine and can significantly improve fuel economy. Failure to follow recommended maintenance schedules may void warranty.
2. Prepare your vehicles for long distance travel
Check your wipers and fluids. Simple preventative maintenance before you leave home can prevent many of the problems that strand RVers on the side of the road.
3. Properly inflate your tires
Properly inflated tires can save you up to four percent in fuel mileage, while under and over inflation can lead to premature tire failure. Ensure that you routinely check your tire pressure.
4. Lower your speed
Lower speeds not only save money at the pump, they also make you safer on the road. While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed or range of speeds, fuel mileage usually decreases rapidly above 55 mph. By maintaining a constant moderate speed, drivers can save up to 30 percent on fuel and are better able to react to road conditions and other drivers—so slow down!
5. Save fuel
To save fuel, take direct routes, minimize side trips, and maintain a steady speed. Also, a well-tuned engine, properly inflated tires, and reduced speed will result in noticeable fuel savings.
6. Use cruise control
Using cruise control can be a fuel-saver. When driving long stretches of open road, cruise control can be a very valuable asset, maintaining your speed within the least fuel-guzzling gear, plus eliminating your chances of accidental speeding.
7. When NOT to use cruise control
Cruise control can take a bite into your fuel mileage potential on hills where it tends to coast up the hill until it realizes that it is losing speed and quickly attempts to make up for it by pushing the throttle, increasing your speed and your fuel use. Minimize excessive engine workload by using the vehicle’s kinetic forward motion to climb hills. Use downhill momentum, rather than applying accelerator, to build speed back up.
8. Flexible Travel Plans
Weather conditions play a major role in fuel economy. Driving into a strong headwind will lower your mileage and driving with a strong tailwind will give you better mileage. Stay flexible in your travel plans and consider only traveling when weather conditions are favorable.
9. Large trucks have blind spots
Be aware that tractor-trailers have large areas around their trucks where other vehicles are not visible. If you can’t see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver is unable to see you. Keep in mind that this applies also to large recreational vehicles, especially Class A motorhomes.
10. Do not cut in front of large trucks and other RVs
Since trucks and recreational vehicles are heavier than cars and take longer to come to a complete stop, avoid cutting quickly in front of them.
11. Honor the Right of Way
Keep in mind that highway traffic has the right of way on entrance ramps; maintain proper speed, using smooth merging techniques, and don’t slow down in front of a large rig or RV.
12. Wait until parked to use cell phones or text
Driver distraction is a major cause of traffic accidents. Even just two seconds of distraction time doubles the chances of an accident.
Now Let’s Go RVing!
Please Note: This is the second in a two-part series on Saving Fuel and Arriving Safely
Part 1: 5 Ways to Save Fuel and Money
Take time to see the special in the ordinary this weekend. Every sunset is a gift.
Speed was high
Weather was hot
Tires were thin
X marks the spot