Nothing is worse than Mother Nature raining all over your camping trip, except maybe Mother Nature raining when you're trying to drive to your camping destination! Pooled water, slick roads, and reduced visibility can be a real recipe for disaster, especially when you have an RV in tow! Follow these tips for safe driving in rainy conditions and you'll keep you, your RV, and everyone else out on the road safe and intact!
While you are already driving more slowly than usual when your RV is in tow (you should be, anyway), take your time and slow it down if you find yourself driving through a rainstorm. Adverse weather conditions are no time to prove how much of a speed demon you can be, as several dangers can strike at any moment!
Put Your Headlights On
It's always incredible how many people out on the roads neglect to turn their headlights on, whether it's in a downpour, a whiteout snowstorm, or even simply at nighttime. Sure, sometimes you've been driving for a while and forgot to put them on, or maybe you had a lot going on that day. But if your tow vehicle doesn't have automatic headlights, get in the habit of turning them on whenever it starts to get dark or when the weather starts to turn, even in the middle of the day. Not only will you be able to see more clearly, but you will be exponentially more visible to other drivers.
Give Other Vehicles Plenty Of Space
While tailgating should never be considered acceptable, this doubles when you have an RV in tow, and triples when you're towing an RV in a rainstorm. Not only are you putting you, your passengers, and the person in front of you at risk of injury or death, your RV could be toast right along with your tow vehicle if you don't give yourself enough space to avoid an accident. If the person in front of you is going too slow for your liking, wait until you can safely pass, or just deal with it until the rain lets up!
Be Aware Of Your Surroundings—Including Your RV
It can be so easy to zone out while on a long cross-country drive, but when the weather decides to act up, you'll want to stay alert to what's going on around you. Be aware of what other drivers are doing, and anticipate any debris or big puddles in the roadway. At the same time, you'll want to keep an eye on how your RV is faring too. You'll want to make sure it is towing well in the conditions, and be sure to have a plan of what to do if the conditions get too bad.
Anticipate Wind Gusts
When it rains, it gusts! Wind and rain go hand in hand, so even when it starts sprinkling, you should start to anticipate that wind gusts will be coming your way. Gusty conditions can be difficult enough to handle in a vehicle alone, but it's a game changer when you have an RV in tow! A strong enough gale at just the right place can totally blow your RV right over, especially on stretches of road with little shelter from the wind. Brace yourself when you know the conditions are more turbulent, and if it gets bad enough out there, get off the roadways to wait it out!
To avoid disaster, you'll want to make sure to stay away from activities that may cause hydroplaning. Also known as aquaplaning, hydroplaning occurs when a buildup of water accumulates between the road surface and your vehicle's tires, resulting in traction loss and losing control of your vehicle. When rain first starts, the water stirs up oil and dust on the road, creating a layer above the water that makes the roadways slick and dangerous to drive. There are some steps you can take to avoid hydroplaning, potentially saving you and your RV:
•Slow down, especially in areas with puddled water
•Avoid puddles and standing water when you can
•Keep tires on both your vehicle and RV properly inflated and rotated
•If possible, follow the tracks of the vehicle in front of you
•Avoid quick, sudden braking
•Don't make quick, sharp turns
Another way to avoid hydroplaning that perhaps not everyone thinks of is ...
NOT Using Cruise Control In The Rain
Although it almost seems counterintuitive, using cruise control in heavy rain will not help to control anything! Without the ability to control your speed, more water builds up, and the cruise control will not know to slow down when hitting resistance from standing water. In fact, the resistance will make the system think that it needs to accelerate and will dangerously surge forward, causing hydroplaning and loss of control! When it starts to sprinkle, shut your cruise control off until the roads are dry!
Perform a Safety Check Before Heading Out
Before you ever hit the road, make sure to give both your tow vehicle and your RV a total safety check to make sure all components are in good shape and road-worthy. Check the tread and the inflation of the tires, and keep an eye out for anything that may impede your driving ability or result in loss of control in a rainstorm. There is no such thing as being over prepared!
When In Doubt, Pull Over
This suggestion really depends on your discretion, but if the conditions continue to worsen, stay safe and get yourself and your RV off the roadways! Removing your towing setup from overpowering winds, diminished visibility from heavy rains, and the increased risk of hydroplaning will almost completely eliminate the risk of damage if you can find a nice sheltered spot to park. Wait out the storm, then continue safely on your way!
Have you ever found yourself stuck towing your RV in the middle of a rainstorm? How did you deal with it? We hope that these tips for safe driving in rainy conditions will help to keep you and those around you safe, secure, and on your way once the storm passes!
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