Summer is almost here, so it’s time to dust off your RV and plan that next road trip. You don’t have to travel far, since Atlanta offers up some great camp sites, but you should be extra careful when on the road driving an oversized vehicle like this.
Driving carefully may not always ensure you can avoid an RV crash, but being prepared to handle the aftermath can make all the difference.
The increasing popularity of RVs
According to recent data trends, RV sales in the last ten years have a higher average than those from even 20 or 30 years ago. In fact, 2022 was slated to reach a record-breaking number of almost 500,000 vehicles. Although 2023 projections aren’t quite as high, they’re still somewhere around 419,000 which means RVs are out there.
This popularity may have been given a jumpstart because of COVID, but once people had their own RV or experienced renting one, many fell in love with hitting the road for a vacation rather than traveling by plane. Needless to say, you may notice more RVs on the road this year than ever before.
RV safety tips
Traveling by RV is definitely different from taking a road trip in a car, so one of the best ways to reduce the risk of RV accidents of any kind is to drive safely. To do this, remember to:
- Be aware of your RVs size, including its height. You don’t want to get stuck trying to drive through a tunnel or go under a bridge that’s too low.
- Be aware of your RVs turning radius. It will not be as sharp as in your everyday car, and turns will definitely need more room on the road.
- Be aware of your speed. Since RVs are heavier than a car, they require more time to come to a complete stop. You’ll need to allow yourself enough space between you and the car in front of you to stop, especially if they break unexpectedly.
- Be aware of your blind spot. It’s much bigger in an RV than a standard vehicle.
- Check the weather before a road trip. Rain, fog and high winds can all make it dangerous to operate an RV, even if you’re very experienced. Do your best to avoid bad weather even if it means delaying a leg of your trip by a little while, and don’t hesitate to pull over if you get caught in it as well.
It’s also never a bad idea, if you’re new to RV driving, to practice operating the vehicle in a safe place, like an empty parking lot. You can familiarize yourself with how the RV handles, including its turning radius and how quickly it stops.
Common reasons RV accidents occur
Around 20,000 RV accidents happen each year in the United States, and about 61 percent are caused by driver error. After that, the most common cause for an RV crash is blowout or tire failure. Fatalities and severe injury numbers aren’t that high, but they still do occur.
Some of the other most common reasons RV accidents happen include:
- Driving an RV while tired
- Driving in strong winds
- Overloading your RV beyond its maximum weight capacity
- Forgetting to carefully check RV blind spots
Where are RV accidents most likely to happen in Georgia?
While an RV accident can happen anywhere, since they travel along the same roads and highways as all other vehicles, it is a little more likely to see them (or be in one) on your way to certain spots in Atlanta.
Some areas around town where you should be extra vigilant include:
- Camping grounds around Lake Allatoona like Victoria Campground and Sweetwater Campground
- Shoal Creek Campground
- Shady Grove Campground
- Camp Margaritaville RV Resort at Lake Lanier
These are only a few places, but whenever you see an RV on the road, or you’re driving one yourself, practice extra care.
What to do first after an RV crash
Even though driving an RV is very different from driving a car, should you find yourself in an RV crash, the steps you take afterward are relatively the same. You first want to make sure everyone in the RV with you is okay. If you all can exit the vehicle do so, otherwise wait for assistance from the paramedics.
If you can still drive your RV, it’s best to move it off the road as much as possible to keep you and the vehicle safe while you wait for the police to arrive so you can file an official report. If you’re unsure of your RV’s condition, leave it where it is and make sure you’ve moved to a safe spot to wait for a tow.
After calling 911 to have the police and any necessary emergency services come to the scene, take some time to document the accident and exchange information with anyone else involved in the RV crash. You’ll want to get full names and contact information as well as insurance information and any drivers’ IDs and license plate numbers. It’s also a good idea to write down the location of the accident as well as the make, model and color of all other vehicles involved. Take pictures of everything, and get up close to specific areas of damage.
Once the police arrive, make sure you document badge numbers and request a copy of the accident report. If there are any witnesses, grab their contact information as well.
Although you may feel it’s necessary to immediately contact your RV insurance provider, you may want to wait and speak to an experienced personal injury accident lawyer first. Especially if you’re not at fault, and plan on filing a claim for damages, having a lawyer guide you through what to say to the insurance company, and what not to, can be extremely beneficial. Consider reaching out for a free consultation prior to taking any additional steps.
Dealing with an RV rollover
Because an RV is so large, it can roll or tip over given the right conditions. This includes high winds, but it can also occur as a result of oversteering or the RV being too heavy. Should you experience an RV rollover, you should treat it like any other accident. Make sure you exit the vehicle, call the police and consider getting medical attention should it be necessary.
If the RV accident involves other vehicles, make sure to exchange information and take pictures at the scene.
Drive that RV safely
Being a safe RV driver is an essential step to avoiding RV accidents on the road, but there still may come a time where you find yourself the victim of a crash. If that ever happens, contact the talented and experienced team at Watson Injury Law. Our team can guide you through the entire claims process, taking the stress off your shoulders so you can heal from any personal injuries and focus on getting that RV back up and running for your next vacation. Contact us today for a free consultation.