Prepare for Geography Differences
Simply going up or down a mountain requires more thought than you might expect. Driving a heavier load uphill can quickly and easily cause the engine to overheat if you're not careful. Downhill descents are no different.
Uphill: When climbing up a mountain, your RV needs to be operated within its power band. Your power band is where max horsepower is available to handle the extra uphill load. To stay within the power band, practice your downshifting beforehand.
Downhill: The key here is to use your brakes as minimally as possible. If you've had little experience going downhill in an RV, play it safe by dropping into the lowest gear before you start your descent. After a few hills you'll learn what gear works best for your rig. Just remember that you don't want to burn out your brakes, so it's better to be in the lowest gear, going very slow, than to rely on your brakes.
Don't Forget the Details
Finally, remember that safely driving an RV is in the details. Remember these important safety measures:
Keep a safe following distance: Your RV will take much longer to come to a full stop than a car. Test stopping time for your RV in a parking lot before going on a busy highway.
Check tires before every trip: If you're driving for multiple days in an RV, check your tires before every leg of the trip. As a very heavy vehicle, your safety relies on the tires being full.
Gas tank: It's so simple, but check which side your gas tank is on.
Secure heavy objects: Keep weight distribution in mind, and secure any heavy objects so this distribution will not be thrown off around a sharp turn.
Driving an RV can seem like a daunting task, and can be dangerous if you're not prepared. Know your route, practice driving and parking, and know all the necessary safety precautions, for an RV trip to remember.
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