May 2006

RVers: Protect Yourselves On The Road

Safety Checks

By Gloria Bryson Pyszka

Safety and security should always be part of your "readiness attitude" wherever you are — while doing daily errands, commuting to work, boating, fishing, or while traveling.

  • When traveling, act with confidence among strangers, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.

Act as if you know where you’re going and what you’re doing even if you may feel differently inside.

Outward appearances mean a great deal. If you ask a question, present it in a matter-of-fact way.

  • My "radar" is always on when I travel; I look around my surroundings.

It just comes naturally to me whether I’m on the highway, in the parking lot, at the gas station, etc.

If my radar tells me that something is not right, I assess the situation and decide what to do. Trust your instincts – if you feel that something is not right, move or walk away, drive away. Change immediately.

  • Before taking that RV trip, make sure your vehicle is ready for travel and that it has regular maintenance as part of your vehicle’s safety.

Carry your roadside assistance card with you and make sure that you know what services are provided.

  • Always carry your cell phone and remember to charge it.
  • If someone yells or honks at you, or indicates that something is wrong, drive, if possible, to a place where there are others around before stopping.
  • Drive only during daytime hours.
  • Lock your vehicle at all times.

The only times I leave it unlocked are during the day at a populated campground when I’m either in the vehicle or near it. I lock it when I take walks, use the public restrooms, or wherever. Better safe than sorry.

  • While traveling, each morning or the evening before, plot out on a map your driving route — including where you may stop for gas/supplies, rest stop, lunch, and so on.

Be familiar with the highway road numbers so that you know which turn to make when you come to a major intersection or freeway off ramp. Of course, you can move up the technology chain and use Google Map or Mapquest online to plot your daily driving route. Or, check out the GPS navigation system software designed for RV driving, listed in the latest Camping World catalogue.

  • Keep anything valuable out of sight, both while driving and while parked.

Don’t advertise that you have a laptop, expensive camera, etc., by leaving them in view of anyone walking by or even passing on the freeway. Remember that any rig higher than you can look down into the front seat and everything in the motorhome. When stopped at a rest stop, or wherever, I may pull down the daytime privacy shade. If I’m in the campground and using my laptop, I might pull it down. Remember to pull them up again when you’re driving so that you can use the side windows for added passing visibility.

  • Women, especially — wear a wedding ring –if you have had experiences with people starting conversations with you, you know that wearing a wedding band is a deterrent.
  • Stay in respectable campgrounds.

I check them out for cleanliness and location and whether or not they’re part of a national group like Good Sam, KOA or are a state park or national park service campground. I like to have some level of security such as a check-in station. RV park directories, especially those providing ratings, are a good place from which to choose your sleep-over destination.

  • Do not carry valuables in your outside storage areas.

The lock and keys are pretty basic, and someone could access them.

  • Be sure to have carbon monoxide and smoke alarms inside the motorhome.
  • Finally, have a good bolt on your motorhome door.

This issue of Arizona Boating & Watersports stresses safety, and safety is our first concern on both land and water.