5 Ways to Stay Safe Living in an RV

lifewithbethandcourt

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Outside a local coffee shop in Grand Rapids, MichiganCourtney Kane/ Life with Beth and Court

When you leave everything familiar behind so you can live in an RV and travel the country, you want to at least know that you’re still safe and sound.

Here are 6 tips we practice to keep safe on the road.

Alarm/Security System

“Alarm on. Home.”

No sound is sweeter than the sound of protection.

Moving from a house to a camper is overwhelming, and once it sinks in that you’ll frequently be sleeping in new, unfamiliar territories, it can be kind of scary.

We use the Wyze security system in our camper for sound piece of mind. From the alarm that we can set when we’re home sleeping or away to the camera that moves with objects outside of our kitchen window and alerts us of movement, we feel safe and secure.

Wo(man) in the mirror

One of our biggest rules when backing in the camper is to make sure we can ALWAYS see our spotter in the mirror…at ALL times.a

Why so many caps? Because. It’s important. The rig is big, the truck is loud, and you don’t need to complicate your stay by hitting your partner.

When you’re backing up, if the driver can no longer see the spotter, we just put our foot on the brake immediately and wait. Even if your spotter can’t hear you – they’ll soon get curious about why you’re not moving and pop back into view.

We’re both usually pretty good about this but sometimes you don’t realize you’re doing it or you say “let me just check something real quick” and pop out of view.

The chances of hitting your partner with the camper are slim, but never zero. While getting hit with a camper at a slow speed probably wouldn’t do much damage, getting pinned between the rig and a tree or slipping and falling underneath would.

Use your walkies, tell your partner you can’t see them, and ask them to move into a safe zone before you continue (i.e. a spot where you can see them in your mirrors).

Spotter for bathroom breaks

No – not like that. We don’t watch each other when we take bathroom breaks – we stand guard outside the camper door.

We generally like to believe the world is a positive place, but we feel it’s important to be aware of your surroundings at all times. As we’ve mentioned, traveling on the road full-time means stopping in a lot of unfamiliar places. You can typically tell when you’re in a safe location, but you can’t always tell.

When we stop for bathroom breaks or to make a quick meal, we have a rule that one person stays outside the camper “on watch” – meaning not looking down scrolling on your phone, but screening the surroundings and keeping your head on a swivel.

We both keep our phones on us to communicate and keep the screen door of the camper open in case we need to get a message to the other quickly. We also only go in the camera one at a time.

While most of our bathroom break experiences have been benign and uneventful, we had one bathroom break that was exactly the kind of situation we stay on high alert for.

We had to stop and get gas off the main 2-lane highway. There was a lot of traffic and only one gas station we had seen in 20 miles. We stopped to fuel up and take a bio break.

Beth went to the bathroom first, and while she was in the camper, two men asked me to come closer to their truck, making comments about how I looked like I wasn’t from around there, and saying to each other, “wait until you see who she’s with.”

I told Beth to get out of the camper and into the truck. I locked the doors and we agreed it was best to leave and pull off a few exits down to finish getting our food and using the bathroom.

Check your tires! PSI and lugnuts

This is an extremely easy safety tip to skip, I know (we’ve thought about it plenty of times too), but it’s really important to make sure your tires are set.

Before we leave every campsite, we check the camper and truck tire pressure in every wheel to make sure the PSI is where it should be, and we check the lug nuts to make sure everything is tight.

Seem like overkill? Maybe. But we’d rather spend 10 mins making sure everything is set with each trip than have a blowout and end up on the side of the road needing a new tire and figuring out what to do about the inevitable rig damage.

Did you know that having your tires under-inflated is one of the leading causes of tire failure? Here’s your PSA – if the tire pressure is too low, then too much of the tire’s surface is touching the roading, which increases friction. Too much friction can cause the tires to overheat, which then leads to more wear and tear, tread separation, and could ultimately leave you with a tire exploding.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

It’s also important to make sure the tires are evenly inflated to avoid unnecessary wear and tear.

Never post your exact location on social media

Again – we’d love to believe in a world where everybody cheers you on and never does weird shit, and yet here we are – in the real world.

To stay safe online, we never post our exact campground location while we’re visiting, or talk about where we’re going next. We take lots of fun pictures but we wait to post until after we’ve left the spot.

This one is pretty simple – there are some creepos out there and the last thing you want to deal with when you’re figuring out life on the road is people trying to track you down.

Bonus Tip: Listen to your intuition

If something doesn’t feel right, listen.

There has only been one campground that ever gave us major sketch vibes, and while we could have toughed it out and stayed, we chose not to. At the end of the day, we’re not willing to put ourselves in an unsafe situation just to avoid an awkward conversation.

And honestly, why would you? You literally have your home with you…and it’s on wheels. If you need to get outta dodge, then do it. If a location makes you think, “uh-oh” – then don’t go.

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Full-time RV couple in our 30's teaching other couples how to sell everything they own and join the full-time RV lifestyle! You can expect RV beginner resources from us in blog form, as well as "edutainment" Youtube Vlogs capturing our journey!

Palm Springs, CA
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