What’s hotter than a California freeway at five o’clock?
Taking day trips, extended weekends, and vacation excursions in a recreational vehicle, that’s what!
The recreational vehicle industry has enjoyed steady growth since 2012, reaching more than a half-million RV shipments delivered annually. Why? People appreciate having the freedom to traverse the nation while saving money. At the same time, driving an RV is a responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Although National Highway Safety Administration figures from 2017 predict a slight decrease in traffic fatalities in the California region, a crash doesn’t have to be deadly to have serious repercussions. Numbers from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that fatal California accidents totaled more than $4B in 2015. That doesn’t even touch upon the dollar figure attached to non-fatal occurrences. Any road incident can quickly lead to injuries and lost wages.
Interested in joining the ranks of RV enthusiasts? Fortunately, with a little prevention, you can protect your vehicle investment and your loved ones. Before you rent a motorhome or purchase a new or used model, remember that safety should always come first when it comes to operating recreational vehicles.
Driver Credentials on Hand?
One of the biggest RV challenges is making sure all drivers have proper skills and experience. RVs are notoriously tricky to maneuver, even for seasoned drivers. For that reason, California is clear on its policies on the types of licenses necessary to legally get behind the wheel of an RV.
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), a Non-Commercial Class B license is needed for a housecar between 40-45 feet, whereas a Non-Commercial Basic Class C license is fine if the housecar is less than 40 feet. Plus, if you’re going to be towing your car behind your RV, you must have a Non-Commercial Class A license that has been properly endorsed.
Confused? It’s okay: The language can be tough to navigate. Like most regulations, your best bet is to talk to someone you trust such as a mechanic or California-based RV dealer. In the meantime, take a walk through this DMV online manual that gives you an extensive look at a wide array of RV types, requirements, and other considerations.
Insurance Up to Par?
Relatively new to the RVing world? First time owning a motorized vehicle or just towing a camper? Call up your favorite auto insurance provider to be sure you’re getting the best policy for your needs. An RV is a sizable financial investment, so don’t skimp on insuring it.
California law requires that all vehicles have liability coverage but consider adding comprehensive, collision, and other insurance types if you have a standalone motorhome. This might be the time to talk to a local insurer rather than just taking whatever you can get online. That way, you can speak one-on-one with someone in your neighborhood while supporting your community’s economy.
Equipment in Tip-Top Shape?
Another way to play it safe when RVing is to get a complete inspection performed before heading out on major trips. If your RV has idled all winter in your garage or outside, it’s ready for a tune-up anyway. Be sure the inspection includes everything from the health of the tires to the security of the hitch. Nothing’s worse than finding out your air conditioning is on the fritz when you’re 500 miles from home!
Of course, you can and should conduct your own inspection of the interior of the RV as well. Spend time cleaning up the space where everyone will live for a few days, a few weeks, or maybe longer. Be sure heavy items aren’t in spots where they could fall or hurt someone.
Test Run Under Your Belt?
As a final suggestion, be sure that your first time going somewhere in your RV isn’t the morning of your excursion up the coast. Take a few test drives just to get a feel for the road. You’ll get the hang of driving an RV soon enough and so will all your passengers.
Ready to engage in a bit of RVing this year? Enjoy the freedom of the open road like a pro. Nothing’s better than making memories that will last long after summer ends.