Driving a Motorhome: 5 Safety Checklist Items

It’s one thing owning a motorhome but knowing how to drive efficiently and safely is another thing altogether. Part of this includes knowing how to check and prepare the vehicle before embarking on a journey.

Here’s what you need to know.

Vehicle Inspection

Before setting off, take time to check your vehicle. This means testing the brakes and lights as well as the fluid levels in the engine. Have a look at your tyres too and inflate these where necessary. Do these checks with sufficient time before your trip so that you have time to fix things beforehand.

Weight Distribution and Load Management

You’ll need a clear understanding of load management when packing your motorhome. The weight should be distributed effectively. This means understanding the ideal centre of gravity because if this isn’t considered, it can influence the stability of the motorhome. If an item is higher and less central, this can skew the weight distribution.

Store heavy objects as low as possible, as these could be more problematic than other items. Make use of side storage boxes outside and in the double floor inside the vehicle. When driving, you should drive straight where possible and reduce your speed gradually as opposed to braking suddenly.

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Driving Precautions

Driving a motorhome well means having an awareness of how its size and weight should alter your driving technique. For example, you should slow down to allow for a greater stopping distance and maintain a sensible following distance throughout the journey. You should maintain good alertness at all times – make sure you stop for breaks if you need to. Bear in mind the width of your vehicle and consider this when planning your route. Allow for plenty of time when changing lanes too.

Check to see whether you should be following different speed limits while travelling. Motorhomes or motor caravans over 3.05 tonnes have a maximum speed of 50mph on a single carriageway, 60 mph on dual carriageways and 70 mph on motorways. Remember to check local speed limits depending on the country you’re driving in.

Weather and Road Conditions Awareness

Driving in severe weather is something we need to be wary of when driving any type of vehicle. When planning a trip in your motorhome, try to plan travelling days around the weather where you can. This way, you can avoid harsher road conditions and keep yourself and your passengers safe. Plan your routes too so that you won’t have to tackle poor road conditions and poor weather in one go.

However, it’s helpful to know how to handle poor weather regardless. It mostly involves adapting your driving technique by slowing down and keeping an eye on puddles to avoid aquaplaning. If this happens to you, slowly ease off the accelerator and avoid braking at first – it’s all about maintaining control of the vehicle until it passes. Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel too if large gusts of wind are expected. You should also be checking your mirrors regularly so that you keep yourself and other road users safe.

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Emergency Equipment and insurance

It can be handy to have a note of important motorhome admin details. For example, you should have your roadside assistance and tailored motorhome insurance secured in advance, so it can be helpful to have your policy numbers easily accessible.

When it comes to equipment, you should consider first aid kits in case of accidents and hi-vis jackets to make you more visible if you have to pull onto the roadside.