7 Ways To Avoid Low Clearance Accidents
Driving an RV can be stressful. In order to keep you and everyone around you safe, and to avoid damaging your RV, you have to keep in mind that your vehicle is a much bigger size. This means watching corners carefully and leaving a lot of space between you and the person in front of you. It also means you’ll need to keep height in mind when going under bridges, tunnels, and even trees, to avoid low clearance accidents.
In this article, we will focus on ways you can ensure you and your RV don’t end up in any low clearance accidents. Read on to learn our top tips and tricks.
1. Know your height
The first step to avoiding low clearance accidents is to know your height. You’d be surprised how many RV owners have no idea how tall their rig is. This means that when they come across signage telling them how tall an upcoming bridge is, they have no idea whether they’ll fit or not.
Obviously, this is a problem, and that’s why we recommend memorizing your RV’s height (including the A/C and anything else on the roof) before you ever hit the road. Just knowing this little bit of information could save you from a potentially costly accident!
2. Use an RV trip planning tool
Now that you know how tall your trailer or motorhome is, the next step is to plan your routes according to that height. How do you go about doing this?
The best, most comprehensive trip planning tool for RVers is RV Trip Wizard. This tool allows you to put in your RV dimensions and plans your routes accordingly, never putting you on a road with a bridge or tunnel that is too short for your trailer or motorhome.
3. Use an RV-specific GPS
Once your routes have been planned, you could of course print them off and use them. However, this is time-consuming, and accidentally missing a turn could prove to be problematic. Instead, we recommend using an RV-specific GPS like the RV LIFE App.
The app downloads directly to your phone (no new hardware needed), and allows you to import routes directly from RV Trip Wizard, meaning you can put all that trip planning to good use. Better yet, you can change plans on the fly and even read campground reviews before you book any stays along the way.
4. Download your maps
Do you enjoy wandering into the wilderness, but are afraid of being without a GPS and getting lost, or running into a low clearance tunnel or bridge? No worries! Another great feature of the RV LIFE App is that it allows you to download maps. This means you can use the GPS even when you’re in the middle of nowhere with no cell coverage. Wander wherever you like and never worry about getting lost or running into clearance issues again.
5. Carry a Truckers’ Atlas
Of course, even if you download maps before you leave, it is still possible for other things to go wrong, leaving you without a GPS. For instance, your phone could get broken or lost during your trip.
For this reason, we highly recommend keeping a Truckers’ Atlas on hand. This handy book is updated annually and includes information that is important to truck drivers. This includes information on steep grades, as well as info on low-clearance bridges and tunnels—both of which will help you find your way safely even if you don’t have your GPS handy.
6. Watch for signage
Things change along routes all the time. Construction projects and accidents can create low clearances and other obstructions where there were none just the day before. For this reason, it’s impossible for any database to be 100% up to date 100% of the time, meaning it is possible that even with the best planning and tools, you could still come across a bridge or other obstruction that is too low for you to go under.
Because of this possibility, it is very important that you watch for signage along the way alerting you of low clearances—and in some cases, signs that offer alternate routes to larger vehicles.
7. Avoid low-hanging trees
Our final tip is one that seems obvious on the surface, but which many people forget: Watch for low hanging tree branches.
Campgrounds usually keep tree limbs trimmed up, but this isn’t always the case. Besides, sometimes you’ll find yourself driving under trees outside of a campground. Since trees rarely come with low-clearance warnings, it’s always a good idea to get out and check if you are at all unsure about whether you will fit under a branch.
Hopefully these tips help you avoid low-clearance accidents so you can keep the top of your RV in tip-top shape for years to come. Of course, avoiding low-clearance accidents isn’t the only important thing to know as an RV owner. Be sure you know how to avoid all types of unsafe travel situations so you can keep yourself, your family, and your RV safe from harm.
Start planning an RV-safe route today
For help mapping out your route for your next RV getaway, look no further than RV Trip Wizard. This online planning tool makes it easy to plan an RV-safe route. It can also locate interesting sites along the way, all according to your travel preferences. Get RV Trip Wizard with its accompanying RV LIFE App, and start planning your adventure today!