As fall foliage season begins, many RV enthusiasts may be looking to fit in a few final getaways and scenic road trips before the cold weather makes its appearance. As temperatures start to dip, the sun sets earlier and migration season for many species picks up, Farmers Insurance is reminding owners of travel trailers, motorhomes, and other recreational vehicles about important safety considerations as they hit the road this time of year.
“Whether you’re driving an RV or towing a camper, it’s important to be aware of potential hazards, particularly at this time of year, like slick roads, unexpected wildlife, and the position of the sun while driving,” said David Knapp, director of product management for Farmers® Specialty. “We’ve seen a huge uptick in RV popularity this year, which means more trailers on the road, along with an increase in first-time RVers. The Farmers Specialty team wants to remind outdoor enthusiasts of the importance of practicing safe and focused driving.”
The change in weather also serves as a friendly reminder that it could be time to perform a few routine maintenance tasks to help keep vehicles in good working order and ready for next season’s adventures. RV and travel trailer owners may also want to plan ahead and take a few key steps to help ensure their motorhomes and trailers are protected before relocating or storing their equipment for the winter months.
Consider the following to help keep travelers safe on the road this fall and protect your RVs:
- Inspect Tires: Before getting on the road, you may want to check your RV’s tire pressure and that the treads are in good shape. It’s also advisable to check the DOT Tire Identification Number (TIN) on the sidewall of your tires to determine the tires’ age – according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the last four digits of the TIN indicate the week and year the tire was manufactured. As most motorhomes and travel trailers are typically driven fewer miles per year than other vehicles, it may be necessary to replace tires due to age before you see visible signs of wear and tear. The NHTSA cites that some vehicle and tire manufacturers recommend replacing tires that are six to 10 years old. See your local tire distributor for additional information.
- Check Weight Distribution: To help avoid safety hazards like tire blowouts, unstable road-handling and possible pricey repairs, consider familiarizing yourself with the engineering limits of your vehicle—such as Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)—and check the vehicle’s weight distribution. Although it may be tempting to pack your vehicles to the brim, do not forget about the importance of weight distribution to help prevent overloading.
- Practice Focused Driving: Maintain safe speeds, especially if the roads are wet, and avoid distracted driving behaviors like cell phone use behind the wheel. Autumn is also prime time for animal migration and, according to a recent Farmers survey, more than 40% of drivers admit they aren’t sure what to do if they encounter an animal on the road – should this happen to you, consider if it might be safer to stay the course and avoid swerving at high speeds.
- Tackle Maintenance: When you’re ready to store your RV or trailer for the winter months, remove food items and clean surfaces to help prevent insects or rodents from making your vehicle their winter home. If you can find an affordable option, consider storing your RV indoors to reduce weather exposure and risk of damage from rodents, insects, etc. Follow your manufacturer’s recommendations on how to properly winterize your RV to help avoid damage.
- Know Your Coverages: Check in with your insurance agent to help understand your policy and if you may benefit from additional coverages, such as recreational vehicle insurance, based on your unique circumstances.
About Farmers Insurance
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