Most people are winterizing their RVs and putting their road trips on hold until next spring and summer. However, snowbirds and other adventurers prepare for RV snow driving as they enjoy their favorite winter sites. If you are not one to hibernate this winter, and you insist on driving your RV in the snow, here are six tips to do this safely:
- When in doubt, don’t: The same rule for cars also applies to RVs: avoid driving in snow and ice whenever possible. But if you are already on the road and conditions go from bad to super-worst, pull over and stay safe until the weather clears or road crews improve conditions. Many truck drivers feel compelled to stop at times because, like you and your RV, they have the same problems as other drivers, only bigger.
- Assume instability: Unlike big rigs carrying commercial loads, the equipment in your RV is likely not strapped down. It is prone to spilling and shifting, which adds challenges to your drive. Before you drive, secure your items as much as possible. Not only will this make the drive more stable, but you reduce the risk of sustaining injury from flying objects should you lose control on black ice.
- Be prepared: Upgrade your tires if possible. Regular all-season tires will not get you through mountain passes very effectively, so if you can afford snow tires for your RV, buy them. No matter your tire type, check your tire pressure. Cold temperatures reduce your tire pressure, and that will also reduce traction. Carry chains with you, because if you keep your regular tires, many roads will require that you use chains. Practice putting chains on in your driveway before you have to install them in a blizzard.
- Go slow: In any winter driving, it never pays to be in a rush. This is the easiest way to skid or lose control, and with an RV, your problems are the same, but much bigger. Moving slowly keeps you in control and reduces your chances of skidding and over-correcting. Accelerate slowly, but also brake and turn slowly. This is especially true if you are pulling a trailer because, if it slips, it will take your entire RV with it.
- Know how to handle a skid: The conventional advice about turning into a skid does not work with RVs. If you feel tires lose traction, remove your foot from the gas and do not hit the brakes. That will normally stop the skid and allow you to regain control. If you need to slow down, straighten your wheels and then brake very slowly.
- Watch for grades: If you see a grade warning, slow down immediately. Once you enter it at a quick speed, you are already a disaster waiting to happen. Pay attention to road signs and changed conditions, as these will magnify with an RV much more than when you are driving a car.
It is advisable to avoid winter driving in most situations, but RV snow driving is especially dangerous. If you insist on taking that winter drive, be sure your tow hitches and accessories are secure before you take to the road. Ron’s Hitch N Tow is here to help. Call us today to schedule an appointment.