Freezing temperatures should have drivers thinking about road safety, and it’s no different for RV owners. Even when the destination isn’t expected to be a winter wonderland, the weather on the way is likely to drop a few flurries. And if you are heading through a mountain pass or planning on driving down snowy roads, you’ll want to be prepared.
At Ryan’s RV Town, we want everyone to drive safely and avoid hauling heavy equipment in inclement weather. However, the weather is beyond anyone’s control, so we’ve put together this short guide to help RV owners when they do find themselves in a snowy situation.
Winter weather can bring a lot of surprises, so bringing the right equipment is the first step in making sure you’re prepared. Snow chains are first on the list and can be taken on and off fairly quickly. This can be a hassle, but the extra traction they provide can make the difference between making it up an incline and sliding into the vehicles behind you. Some states require chains in adverse conditions, so make sure you know the law if you’re crossing state lines.
Chains aren’t the best for driving the streets, so if you know you’re going to be in snowy towns we recommend using snow tires. Their tread is designed to compact snow with wider gaps, and some have protruding studs for more grip on icy surfaces.
And don’t forget tire pressure and other regular vehicle maintenance practices! The specifics of driving in snow don’t mean you should skip the basics.
Some driving skills and instincts will be less than helpful on a frozen or snow-covered road. As with most unfamiliar driving situations, slowing down is a great way to minimize risk and increase the likelihood of avoiding trouble before it begins. Sudden changes in speed or direction can cause your tires to lose traction.
Ever brake too hard while driving on snow? It’s not the most enjoyable way to experience ice skating. Don’t rely on your ABS (anti-lock braking system), as it won’t operate well on ice. If you find yourself skidding, it’s best to slowly let your foot off the accelerator and softly pump the brakes.
Snowy nights seem extra bright, and that’s because light reflects off snow. While they can make for some beautiful winter evenings, it worsens visibility during winter conditions. Use low-beams when driving at night.
Motorhome vs Trailer
You’ll find different problems in snow depending on whether you’re driving a motorhome or a tow vehicle with a trailer hooked up to a hitch. Since motorhomes are rear-wheel-driven, applying too much acceleration in icy conditions can cause you to lose control. If you’re towing, all that weight behind you might not be as cooperative as you want it to be. Jack-knifing can absolutely happen if you brake too hard or fast. The bottom line: know your RV and be practiced in its operation.
Check out your batteries and make sure they’re charged for your trip. Stock extra propane for heat and an ice scraper for your windshield. Bring along winter clothing, extra bottled water, food, and any prescription medication you’ll need if there’s any possibility of encountering cold weather during your trip. Other extras to include: first-aid and emergency kit with flares.
Snow and ice are hazards that face every driver, but RV owners need to take extra precautions when heading through winter weather. The safest choice is to put off the trip until better weather presents itself. There’s a lot at stake with large RVs, so consider pulling into a rest stop or booking a local campsite until the weather clears. Better still, stay home with a warm mug of cocoa!
Your safety is important to us at Ryan’s RV Town, so do what’s best for you and other drivers on the road. And do what’s best for your wallet by heading to our dealership in Everett, Washington. We’re also proud to serve the areas of Seattle, Tacoma, and Vancouver, Washington. Our experienced staff is ready to show you the best service and selection of parts in Everett. Stop in today and let us show you the RV Town Difference!