You may love traveling in your RV because you can pull into a rest area at any time and catch a quick nap. It helps you save on hotel fees, and you’ll even save on eating out when you make a meal in the camper. While this is convenient, it can also be dangerous. Your family can be a target if you don’t take steps to keep yourself safe when staying in a rest area, but there are ways to avoid this problem.
Know Your Location
When pulling into a rest area, take note of the closest mile marker or the stop’s name. The highways are lined with rest areas, so the police won’t know where to go if you call saying you are at a rest stop on Interstate-71. You should be able to tell them exactly where you are in case there is an emergency.
Lights, Lights and More Lights
Most rest areas feature well-lit buildings, but they don’t always have illuminated parking areas. Keep your eyes open a little longer and wait for one with lights in the parking area. It’s safer for you to walk around the camper, and it help deter would-be criminals from patronizing that stop.
Look for Trucks
You may not want to share a rest area with trucks that are running their generators and creating extra noise, but the truckers know which stops are safe and which ones have a reputation. If you pull into a rest stop at night and there’s not a single rig in sight, you should probably keep going. When you do find a rest stop that looks promising, consider parking a little distance from the trucks to avoid the noise and fumes.
Locked up Tight
If you are traveling with a trailer, then you should make sure your vehicle is secured. Put all valuables where they cannot be seen if someone walks around the car with a flashlight, and set the alarm if you have one. Lock the door to the camper, and lock the windows. Run the generator for the air conditioner or heater, so you can safely close and lock the camper.
Look for Facilities
Not all rest areas feature facilities for using the restroom. Scenic overlooks and primitive rest areas are fine for stopping at in the day when you want to stretch your legs, but they’re not a good choice for sleeping. They don’t attract as much traffic as full service sites, and that makes them more appealing to criminals looking for an easy target.
If you need to stop for the full night, then you should look for a campground. Many are located near the highway and will provide you with a safe place to spend the night. They will also have electrical connections, and you can usually empty the tanks before you head out. If you just want a few hours sleep to refresh yourself, then rest stops are a good choice.