6 Preparation Tips For Roadside Emergencies
As your RV is literally a rolling home on wheels, it is inevitable that you will experience the inconvenience of a breakdown during your travels over the years. By being prepared, you can minimize the inconvenience of a roadside breakdown and get back on the road safely to enjoy your trip.
Here are six tips to consider:
First, you need a way to communicate your situation to the appropriate people. Most of us carry a cell phone, which in most cases allows us to quickly summon assistance. You might also consider stashing an old cell phone in your RV as an emergency backup, as even an old phone that is no longer signed up for service can still dial 911.
Those that venture off the beaten path as part of their travels should also consider a satellite messenger like a SPOT or Garmin InReach that allows them to summon help in those places lacking cell phone coverage.
Secondly, know who you will call when a situation occurs and have their contact and your account information handy. Phone numbers to consider would be your emergency roadside assistance provider, warranty provider if your vehicle comes with roadside assistance, maybe the manufacturer’s contact info to provide technical assistance, the tire distributor if your tires came with road hazard insurance, etc.
2. Be seen
When you find yourself broken down alongside a busy road, make sure you can be seen by other motorists as they approach. Items to consider carrying with you in your motorhome or tow vehicle include roadside flares, reflective triangles, LED flashing pucks, and a reflective safety vest.
3. Spare tire
The decision to carry a spare tire or not is often dependant on the type of RV you own. The majority of large Class A motorhome owners choose not to carry a spare as the spare tire mounted on a wheel is often too heavy and bulky for an individual to change without assistance or special equipment.
Those employing a tow vehicle and carrying a truck camper or towing a travel trailer or fifth wheel will typically have a factory mounted spare for the tow vehicle and have a spare for the travel trailer or fifth wheel. If you plan on changing out a spare on your own, be sure you have the proper equipment with you like a lug wrench and jack that works for both the tow vehicle and trailer or fifth wheel. The wheel chocks/blocks you use in the campground can also be employed during roadside tire changes.
You may also consider carrying items that allow you to temporarily repair a tire in the field like tire plugs, leak sealant, and a 12-volt air compressor. Always have the affected tire inspected by a tire professional when you arrive at the next town.
Emergency situations can be chaotic and may cause your pet(s) to become anxious and want to quickly and haphazardly exit the vehicle to escape. Keep this in mind during a roadside emergency and be sure to secure your pet or have a firm hold of them before you open any exit doors. It would make a bad situation that much worse if your pet were to run off or worse be struck by traffic.
Carry a good fire extinguisher that is readily accessible by the driver. Invest in a quality ABC rated extinguisher that will handle all types of fires as you never know what you will face in a roadside emergency. It could be an overheated brake that ignited a tire, an oil or fuel-based engine fire, or burning fiberglass of the RV.
6. Spare parts
Consider carrying a few spare parts that will make roadside breakdowns less time-consuming when they happen. Items like a spare serpentine belt for the engine, spare 12-volt fuses for turn signals/brake lights, and a spare set of bearings along with a little grease, will often allow you to make roadside repairs rather than having to wait for someone to source them and bring them to you.
While a roadside emergency is an adventure in RVing that nobody wants to experience, being prepared can keep the unpleasantness to a minimum and help get you back on the road sooner.
See also: Emergency Equipment Every RVer Should Have
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.
I carry 2 fire extinguishers, one in the living quarters and one by the driver’s seat. Also, make sure the handles are metal. If they’re plastic and they happen to break, they won’t be much use to ya.
After having an engine fire, while towing our 5th wheel, we now keep fire extinguishers in not only the RV, but also in every vehicle we own. What a mess that was. We only had the little extinguisher in the RV and it was not enough. Luckily, we were able to drop the RV and get is separate from the truck, we called 911, as well as several other motorists, and help arrived quickly.
Paul Hodel says
If you carry road flares (fusees), please use them with caution, they are capable of lighting almost anything on fire. Make sure there are no fluid leaks from your disabled vehicle that can be ignited and make sure you don’t accidently ignite any surrounding bushes or plant life. Unfortunately, there have been many times when a simple breakdown has turned into a major fire. There are some chemical “glow sticks” which are made for use as substitutes for flares.
Of course, it seems like there are never too many fire extinguishers, so make sure you are well enough of the correct size and that they are regularly inspected and serviced.
RVing is about enjoying life and knowing you are prepared makes life a lot more enjoyable.
Tom W. Sisson says
As a new RV camper, I have a question. Who is the best road side assistant to contact when needed? I have AAA but not sure they would be a good tow if needed. Want someone who pretty much covers any emergency. Thanks.
Dave Meekhof says
AAA is good if you have the RV option.
Coach-Net is probably the best RV Roadside assistance:
Ronald E Sobieski says
Who The hell would carry bearings?