Pay Attention To The Signs

Almost everyday there are images posted online on the various RVing social media platforms that show a serious accident involving an RV, whether it be a travel trailer, fifth-wheel or some type of motorhome.

Most of these accidents are or were preventable had the owner paid attention to the signs. I’m not talking traffic signs, although there are those incidents that are a direct result of ignoring them as well. The signs I’m referring to are internal – things you or your traveling companion may notice or pick up on.

RV Security and Safety Badge.That little voice that says, “Something isn’t right.” Let me share an example we personally experienced last year.

Due to business commitments, we had to delay our departure from Wisconsin until mid-November, although we usually depart in late September or early October for points south to escape winter. But one has to earn a living and we had to fulfill our obligations.

I watch the weather closely and I never tempt Mother Nature, at least I try not to. After our obligation was met, we had to extend another day due to really cold weather. Extremely cold temperatures are hard on RVs; all the plastic components are subject to damage when temps dip down below freezing. By delaying just a day, temperatures moderated and road conditions improved.

We made it to our next stop on our way to Arizona, that being the Kansas City area to meet yet another business obligation. We stayed for three nights, got our tasks done and bugged out just ahead of a major winter storm that was coming in across the plains. A storm that brought the worst weather and largest amount of snow accumulation the area had all winter long.

Leaving when we did, we managed to circle around most of it, but as we made our way between Wichita and Liberal, Kansas we started to encounter the forecast decreasing temperatures and precipitation. As the temperatures dropped closer and closer to freezing, the precipitation started to form on the coach as ice. Our plan was to stop in Liberal, KS overnighting it at the Walmart there. But as we were closing in on Liberal, darkness fell early due to the overcast sky, and the temps continued to plummet. A voice inside me said to stop and do so soon!

Luckily, we spotted an RV park just east of Liberal, KS so we turned in and called it a day. I can remember saying as we turned off the highway onto the service road, “I don’t care what they charge per night, we’re staying here anyway.” We were glad to be off the road and plugged into a 50 amp service because we needed it to run the space heaters that night to keep things from freezing up.

Back on the road early the next morning we discovered that we made the right decision to stop when we did. Apparently about the time we were pulling off the road Black Ice was forming on it.  Cars, trucks and trailers were in the ditches along the highway across the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas. We even passed a FedEx trailer laying on its side in the median not far from Liberal. Had we even driven on to the Walmart or pressed on to the next town we could have been caught up in a major disaster. Possibly been injured and or totaled our coach.

The rest of our journey was without issue, but too many RVers will push on regardless of the signs they are being shown and what that little voice is telling them. When in doubt, think it out! Weigh the possibilities and consequences.

What has your experience been? Do you have a story to share about a disaster averted because you heeded that tiny voice in your head? Please share in the comments.

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Gerald Voigt

Gerald's interests are wide and varied. His work career started in the United States Air Force and since then has worked in logistics management, retail & service management as well as manufacturing. He's an author, photographer, pilot, radio show host and marketing consultant who enjoys RVing which allows him greater freedom to explore, meet new acquaintances and serve his clients.