All that beautiful white stuff can be dangerous
Winter holds a breathless beauty for everyone. A blanket of white covers the earth and stands out in stark contrast against the green pines. The air holds a chill that invigorates the soul, and the ground crunches joyfully beneath our boots. There’s no better way to curl up with a comfy blanket and enjoy a mug of hot cocoa than with a white visage outside our window. There’s a silent stillness to the air, as if all of nature is holding its breath, waiting for the first warming rays of spring.
Winter is a time of silent contemplation, a time of planning, a time of rest and taking comfort in the joys of home that we rarely enjoy during the business of summer. But if you’re driving your RV through winter’s beautiful landscape, there are things to be aware of.
Know your abilities and know your vehicle
We will start with the obvious: driving an RV in wintery conditions is nothing like driving your typical vehicle. Every vehicle will respond differently to snow and ice. The first part of winter safety is knowing how your vehicle handles and knowing your ability to drive it in the snow. As with all abilities, practice makes perfect.
The hardest part of driving in snow is always understanding what speed you can control, and how your tires and vehicle will respond. RVs are rear-wheel drive, which is a huge learning curve for us used to front-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicles.
Invest in new tires
Do you have snow tires on your RV? If you haven’t upgraded to snow tires, the answer is probably no. RVs come equipped with summer tires, and there’s no way summer tires can dig into the snow and gain the traction that winter tires can.
This is a simple upgrade that really cuts down on the headache of driving in the snow, and it’s an investment in the safety of your RV and your family. It also makes the learning curve of driving a little less complicated.
You wouldn’t put batteries in the freezer
The reality is: cold kills batteries. RV-ing in the winter means you need heat, and without a properly functioning battery, where is your heat coming from? The good news is one cold night probably won’t kill your battery, but it’s still worth checking your batteries. You’ll want to make sure they’re charged up and in good condition to take on the chill ahead of them.
Know the weather
During the winter, weather can change at the drop of a hat. What may seem like a little snowfall now could turn into whiteout conditions a couple miles down the road. This tip goes back to knowing your ability and your vehicle. You may be driving fine now, but when the snow starts piling up and plows haven’t hit the roads yet, things will change quickly. Don’t be above holing up in a truck stop overnight or for a couple days until conditions change and are safer for you to drive in.
Don’t feel too comfortable
Just as the weather can change at the drop of a hat, the road conditions can as well. It may look like a patch of snow ahead, but what’s lurking underneath? That drift in your lane may be bigger and more solid than you think. When we’ve been driving steady for several minutes, it’s easy to feel we can go faster or that there’s nothing to really worry about, but slush and muck on the road ahead could throw you into a tailspin. Always be vigilant, and never feel too confident in the road’s condition. Slow and steady wins the race.
If you can avoid driving in the snow and ice at all, it’s wise to do so. RVs are big, and you’ve invested a lot in them. A car accident is bad enough, but when you factor in the size, weight, and investment, an accident in your RV will be far worse. It’s best to find a campsite with a lot of exposure to sun and dig in until conditions improve. Don’t risk your family or other motorists. Be safe.
If you happen to go off the road, it’s wonderful knowing someone is there to help. Our roadside assistance offers emergency services and towing for your RV and whatever vehicles you may be bringing along with you. Prepare for winter weather, and you’ll be far safer. Upgrade to roadside assistance today.