Stay safe by keeping these things in mind
Many people on an RV trip don’t want to drive at night. In addition to missing out on some amazing scenery, there are safety considerations to think about. But sometimes this is unavoidable. For example, if you were to get to your campground at sunset only to discover that there are no vacancies, you’ll have to get back on the road. This is why it’s a good idea to be prepared for night driving, even if you’re trying to prevent it, you can start with these tips:
Don’t drive tired
While you surely know how bad it is to drive while intoxicated, you might not realize that driving while tired is almost just as harmful. According to the National Safety Council, people are three times more likely to have a car accident if they are fatigued. Plus, getting behind the wheel after being awake for 20 hours or more is equivalent to driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent, which is the legal limit in the U.S. If you have to drive at night, be sure to stop often or switch drivers. And if you feel like you could fall asleep, you need to pull off immediately.
Keep your windshield clean
A clean windshield gives you the best visibility, so be sure you’ve got plenty of wiper fluid in your tank before you go anywhere. You also don’t want to forget about the inside, which can easily get grimy. A quick way to clean the inside of the glass is to polish it with newspaper.
Align your headlights correctly
Properly aligned headlights are important for two reasons. First, they will be pointed exactly where they should be, so you can see everything you need to. Second, they won’t shine into the faces of oncoming drivers. Several things can affect headlight alignment, including loosened parts due to bumpy roads, and even how weight in the RV is being distributed. Your owner’s manual will be able to help you adjust the headlights correctly.
Watch out for animals
Many animals – like deer and raccoons – are more active at night, and they’re typically not great at knowing when to cross a road. This is why it’s worth being extra vigilant when the sun goes down and also driving a little slower. If an animal does run in front of your RV, don’t swerve; instead brake so you can come to a controlled stop. Hitting an animal is horrible, but you don’t want to put everybody in danger by colliding with a guardrail or another vehicle.
Dim or put out interior lights
Driving at night requires a lot of concentration, and any distractions can be detrimental. This is why all non-essential lights inside your RV should be turned off or dimmed. In addition to built-in components like the instrument panel, this should also include light coming from any devices passengers are using.
Add exterior lights
If you do plan to do a lot of night driving, it may be beneficial to add some extra illumination to your RV. High-intensity discharge lights will give you great straight-ahead visibility for longer distances, while LED bars light up the sides of the road. But, because they are so bright, these options aren’t good if there will be many other vehicles on the roads because they can blind drivers. They also shouldn’t be used in foggy or snowy weather, as the light gets reflected back to the driver.
If you don’t have a lot of experience driving an RV, it’s a smart idea to do some practicing before your trip, and this should include getting behind the wheel at night. Another good idea is to think about joining the RV Advisor community.
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