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Road Hazards to Avoid: Part I

road hazardsYou’re a master of the road. You’re a veteran traveler, schooled in the ways of fuel economy, route efficiency, and every other form of trip management imaginable. You’re a sightseeing beast, intent on domination of the highways and byways of the asphalt wilderness. Or maybe you just bought this RV a week ago so you could have a way to visit the grandkids that doesn’t involve standing in line to take your shoes off. RV travelers run the gamut of age, experience, and motivations for their travel mode of choice, but one thing remains constant, and that’s the need for safety. Whether they be naturally occurring or man-made, there are plenty of obstacles out there that can be hazardous to not only your enjoyment of the RV lifestyle, but to your life period, if not dealt with properly. But fear not: Safe-T-Plus is here to touch on a few of these road hazards and your best defense–or defenses–against each one.

1. Tire Blowouts

We actually just discussed this one in a recent post, Tire Blowouts: Myths and Truths. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that you have to go against your instinct to hit the brakes. A blowout places a side force on the vehicle that necessitates temporarily accelerating instead of braking. You can then use the steering wheel to make adjustments. Once you have directional control of the vehicle, gradually decelerate and pull off the road to a safe location.

2. Strong Winds

RVs have a high center of gravity, making them especially susceptible to wind. Wind gusts can be even more dangerous; their unpredictability can wreak havoc on your ability to negotiate the road. Your response to windy conditions should be dependent upon their severity. If you know the winds are going to be unusually strong, it’s best to postpone your driving to another day. If conditions become untenable during a drive, either pull off to a safe location to wait it out or choose a different route. Never drive when you feel as though your control of the vehicle is unreasonably compromised. And remember: Just because you feel in control of your vehicle doesn’t mean you can say with confidence that others feel in control of theirs. Play it safe out there, friends.

3. Fatigue

I know what some of you are thinking: “Does this even qualify as a road hazard? After all, it’s not a problem with the road; it’s a driver issue.” To which I respond… Exactly. That’s what makes it a hazard. Wind is only a problem in windy conditions. Blowouts are only a problem when you have one. Fatigue makes even the safest road a potential death trap, not only for you, but for your fellow passengers and other motorists. Prevention is key when it comes to dealing with fatigue. Don’t drive sleepy. Period. Get plenty of rest the night before driving your RV. Be responsible with your caffeine intake. If you know drinking a soda an hour before bed will keep you up half the night, don’t do it. Know the side effects of any medications you’re taking. If drowsiness is a side effect, don’t drive when you’ve been taking it. It only takes a few seconds to fall asleep at the wheel, but it’s a mistake that can alter — and even end — lives. Don’t drive if you’re not fully alert. Do you have battle stories about any of the hazards we mentioned? Leave your answers in the comments. For extra peace of mind and safety, install a Safe-T-Plus product to minimize road hazards.  Image credit: Tony Bowden