2018 RV-Dreams Boondocking Rally - March 5 - 12, 2018 in Quartzsite, Arizona.
SOLD OUT!!

2018 RV-Dreams Reunion Rally - March 27 - April 1, 2018 in Pahrump, Nevada
Registration Is Now Open!! Click Here To Get More Information & To Register

2018 RV-Dreams Spring Educational Rally - April 23 -29, 2018 in Pahrump, Nevada
Spots Still Available!! Click Here To Get More Information & To Register

Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: How do we choose a SAFE RV?


RV-Dreams Community Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 11
Date:
How do we choose a SAFE RV?


I have been reading alot about what type of RV would be best for our year of travels but there is little information on safety. When we looked at them in person my first thoughts were "this cant be safe to drive"  They seem like they would be hard to stop and could turn over very easily. I have read about what happens when a semi passes you on a highway. I have felt that force in a minivan so I can only imagine what an RV would be like. How do I research based on safety and drivability? I have seen the million dollar models and read the claims that they may be the answer to my concerns but we are not in a position to buy a million dollar house on wheels. We are hoping to stay in the 150K range and get a nice used something. Any ideas on where I should look to suit our needs and concerns?

What do you do in areas like the Mountains for example I-40 heading west out of Asheville? I have traversed that in a car and a minivan MANY times and I cant see a safe way to do that in a huge RV. 

 

 



__________________


RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 295
Date:

Don't have answers to most of your questions, so will have to leave that to the more knowledgeable people on here! Just wanted to say that we started out with very little experience. My husband had only previously towed a popup before we decided to buy an rv and go out on the road. So when we went and picked up our 40 ft fifth wheel, we had a "what did we do" moment at the thought of going down the highway with it. But my husband had done a lot of research and made sure that we bought a truck that could easily handle the weight of the fifth wheel we purchased. So he has no difficulty at all stopping it when that is required. Of course, leaving adequate room and taking the care that is needed too. And also, Harry was surprised when driving down the highway that big rigs driving by don't do anything at all. Like when you are in a car and can feel the 18 wheeler pass you? You don't feel that at all when you're towing an rv.

We still get nervous about coming down mountains. But we do our research when planning routes and make sure we know what the grades are so we are prepared. We have read up on braking techniques and what people do when driving through mountain routes. There used to be a really good thread about that on this forum with some good tips. I imagine it's still here somewhere. And like anything else, the more practice you get, the better. We don't get as nervous now, four years in, as we used to. :)

__________________

Jessica and Harry

2011 Heartland Landmark

2011 Chevy 3500 HD Dually


Fulltimers since 12/12/12! :) 

http://rikerrvdays.blogspot.com/



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 1536
Date:

If you are looking for something that is safe to drive, RVs are not it. Then again, neither is a car. Both are just machines and how you use them is what causes problems. What makes them unsafe is typically the driver, or other drivers. Almost every accident on the road is caused by human error. Overconfidence, inattention to your surroundings and ignoring the limitations of the vehicle you are driving are the things that gets most drivers into accidents not the actual vehicle they are driving. Most "speedboat" motorists drive blissfully unaware of the dangers lurking all around them. 

So what can you do do to prevent yourself from becoming another statistic? You will have to learn to modify your current driving skill set. Slowing down, paying more attention to others on the road, obstacles, posted information, pre-planning your route, avoiding driving in conditions that promote accidents, being situationally aware, having the proper mindset behind the wheel, properly maintaining the RV itself, the list goes on. Getting some training or practice time handling a much larger vehicle in a safe parking lot or other out of the way location to hone up your skill and build confidence are good ideas. Even good professional drivers take nothing for granted while driving. None of this means you have to be paranoid about safety... instead only that you are simply aware.

Perhaps what you need to change is your mental framework about the danger and change any preconceptions to reflect the new paradigm that you are considering. Do not let fear rule your thinking processes.

Lastly, RVing is not for everybody. Only you can determine whether it's right for you. Knowledge and training will mitigate certain fears with regard to the safety of an RV. Experience will expand your comfort zone. It might even make you a better driver (and I'm certainly not saying your aren't already) of whatever "rollerskate" you are driving now.

JMHO, Brian



-- Edited by BiggarView on Monday 30th of January 2017 01:03:11 PM



-- Edited by BiggarView on Tuesday 31st of January 2017 06:11:19 AM

__________________

Brian, Cindi & Josie (our fur baby)



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 1493
Date:

Best to maybe RENT something for a short term to try out. Then you can kind of see what you would like to get into.

__________________

My Dreams...............Her Nightmares.

 



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 244
Date:

I drove my 2004 35 ft Winnebago Sightseer (workhorse chassis) for 60,000 miles during the 11 years we full timed and I never had a problem with semis passing me. If they pulled back in fairly close the turbulence would cause a little back and forth wobble for a couple of seconds but it wasn't a problem.
Although Class As seem to be top heavy I have never seen or heard of one tipping over. I have heard about some that after a front tire blowout went off the road and tipped over.

Winnebago has a steel framed front on their Class A motor homes. The rest is aluminum. They take new designs, invert them and drop them to see how they hold up. I have never seen one that was in a wreck so I don't know what would happen in a roll over. They have info on the frame on their web site.

__________________

Clay (WA5NMR), Lee (wife), Katie, Kelli (cats) Full timed for eleven years in a 2004 Sightseer 35N. Snowbirds for one winter and now settled down in CO.



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 581
Date:

As with any vehicle, they are only as safe as the person behind the wheel.

Bill started out slow - only short trips at first, on not-as-busy roads, then short trips on the highway during not so busy hours.

I was much more nervous and decided to take driving lessons, offered by RV Driving School (will look for contact info if you want). That helped me gain some confidence and I do pretty well going forward, I still need lots of practice to back-up successfully.

Another thing you can do to keep safe is to properly maintain your rig, including running gear, brakes, tires, lights, etc in tip-top shape.

One last important thing I'd like to mention is, more than in your regular vehicle, you have to be VERY aware of your surroundings - people don't like being behind the big RV, and they will cut you off just to get in front of you. We ALWAYS allow lots of room in front of us, as we cannot stop as quickly as a car.

Good luck!

__________________

Bill & Kelly - with Callie along the ride.  Raskal & Cocoa now watching from above

2011 Ford F350 Diesel Dually 4x4 

2014 Heartland Landmark, Grand Canyon 

"All those who wander are not lost" Tolkien

 BLOG:  http://bkamericanodyssey.com/



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 1695
Date:

Totally agree with all the safe driving comments. Also, taking an RV Driving course is a good way to gain more knowledge and awareness.

We also used rvreviews.net/ when we were researching RV's. They included safety information or comments when they felt there was a risk in how an RV was manufactured, for example, if they think a MH is not well balanced or the chassis is too short, etc. or a 5th wheel with underrated tires, etc.

We felt it was a good investment to gain the additional insight into how the various models are manufactured for safety, durability, known issues, etc.

__________________

FT - July 2013

 

2010 38TKSB3 DRV Mobile Suites

2012 Ford F450

 

Dale and Ruth Travelling with Tazzy Kat!

 

IMAG0142_zps070d30d8.jpg

 

 

 

 



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 1293
Date:

Everything posted above is what I would have commented. In my opinion the safest RV would be one using a bus manufacturers shell. Marathon, Newell, Bluebird...etc are some of them. Buses for the most part have a great safety record when you consider the amount of miles driven.

The biggest problem is cost. The buses are a lot more expensive to begin with and the maintenance can be expensive as they get older. So it will be tough to find one in your price range. One good thing they are designed to provide million miles or more of trouble free service. So even a bus based motorhome with 300,000 miles on the odometer should have lots of trouble free miles left in it, if it has been well cared for.

Like others have posted any RV is only as safe as the driver's capabilities. Practice...Practice...Practice is important. Any time I buy a new RV the first thing I do is take it to a large empty parking lot and see how it handles:
- Parking in tight spots/ parallel parking
- Backing Up both straight and on a curving drive
- Quick Lane changes
- Panic Stops
- Other evasive maneuvers

Good luck in your search.



-- Edited by The Bear II on Monday 30th of January 2017 03:50:29 PM

__________________

"Small House, Big Yard "

"May the FOREST be with you"
Alfa See-Ya 5'er and 2007 Kodiak C4500 Monroe



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 799
Date:

This is a great topic, but one that can get very emotional depending on one's point of view, so I'm going to try to avoid all that. I tend to disagree with The Bear II (probably some risk in disagreeing with a guy called "Bear" 😜). I think the safest RV would be one that has a full blown class 8 truck as the core platform. A class 8 pulling a fifth wheel for example, or a Super C based on a class 8 truck would also be in this category. The big Volvos are particularly well designed to withstand crashes. Everything else falls below this level of crashworthiness. Some fall well below. Google "RV Crashes" or something similar, I'm sure you'll get some hits. As others have said, the most important safety feature of any RV is the driver. Operated safely, maintained well, most RV's are pretty safe ... but their size and weight don't go well with reckless operation including high speed, following too closely or failing to maintain proper tire pressure and good brake, tire, axle and hitch maintenance. Good luck on your search.



-- Edited by RonC on Monday 30th of January 2017 08:54:36 PM

__________________

Ron and Janice

 

2016 Ford F350, King Ranch, DRW, 3.73's, 4x4, CC, 6.7 Powerstroke, remote control air lift system

2017 K-Z Durango Gold 381REF (41 ft, 5 slides), MORryde IS, 8K Disc brakes, GY G114  LR H Tires, 27,320 lbs CGVW

Full Timers class of 2016



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 59
Date:

You specifically mentioned I-40 going down the hill west out of Asheville. I've made that run numerous times driving our various motorhomes over the years, as well as driving it in our SUV, and the process is really not much different in any of them. "Stab braking" is the preferred way to maintain speed control in any long steep downhill run. That's done by watching your speed, and when it starts to exceed the posted limit or your own preference, then brake moderately hard until your speed drops about 5 mph or so below your desired speed, and then get completely off the brakes so they can cool down. Repeat each time the speed creeps above your target speed. Do NOT ride the brakes going down the hill to maintain a constant speed! That will quickly overheat the brakes possibly causing them to fail! As said, I've driven that route many times, and our now 16 year old 34' Class A had no problems when using the stab method as recently as last September.

As for large trucks passing us, we seldom feel much of anything at all when that happens, although occasionally we will get a small amount of turbulence briefly when one tucks back into our lane a little too close. I just lift in that case and drift back to a comfortable spacing. As said, practice and experience are the key, and the more time you spend behind the wheel of a large RV, the more comfortable you'll become with it.

__________________

Dutch

34' 2001 GBM Landau Class A

2011 Toyota RAV4 4-down toad



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 778
Date:

Many years ago I was given the advice that you should go down a hill in the same gear you needed going up that hill. Great advice IF you have previously gone up said hill AND can remember what gear you were in. My real-life experience with a 30,000-pound MH is to start going down the hill at a MUCH slower speed than you would otherwise want and manually downshift. If you have a Jake brake, retarder, or similar device, USE IT! Don't let speed build up too much. Mentally pick a target speed and when you get five mph above it stab the brakes to get to five mph below it.

Dutch, our Foretravel is 24 years old!

__________________

David, kb0zke

1993 Foretravel U300 40'

Build number 4371

For sale



RV-Dreams Community Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 11
Date:

Thanks so much for all the replies. That really helps me think about all the different aspects of safety and will definitely help to keep all this in mind while looking at different models and options.

__________________


RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 281
Date:

Great discussion here, I think being aware of what is ahead and having good equipment is a big deal.
You must understand what you have for equipment and what can happen if someone else does something you don't expect. Sometimes a little fear is a good thing, it slows you down. If you don't know the road go slow and don't worry about anybody else.
Over the years I have pulled many types of trailers and a few different sized motorhomes.
When we purchased our current Beast for full time use, (we have a 28,000 5th wheel with a 12,000 Dodge Ram 5500) I was still very nervous pulling all this weight on roads I did not know and was a little scared (and still am) on major mtn roads (probably a good thing!). We have done the Rt 40 to Ashville pull and then down 26 south. Now to be honest the night before I did not sleep well,
but I knew I had the right equipment both in the trailer and truck, I just went slow (screw everybody else) and handled it just fine, for me the bigger fear is not really knowing what is around the next turn having never done the route before. Once I did it ,it was really no issue, just go slow, don't try and keep up with everybody else. I will always be nervous on roads I have never been on, but in my opinion that is a good thing. Maintain your equipment and take your time and everything should be fine, the more you do it the better you will feel, but remember it may be a good thing to be just a little uncomfortable, it will make you slow down, so what if it takes you a little longer.


__________________

Bob C

The fulltime Dream begins, class of 2016

2016 Dodge Ram 5500 HD Classy Chassis hauler bed/air ride

2016 New Horizon Majestic M43RL3S

home base Sandwich,Ma.

 



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 59
Date:

kb0zke wrote:


Dutch, our Foretravel is 24 years old!


 I love well maintained "mature" RV's, David! Our previous 1995 Class A is still in regular use by the new owner, as is the 1986 Class C we used to have. The only RV's we've sold that are no longer in service are a 1993 DP that was the victim of a barn fire while it was in storage, and a 1968 VW Westfalia camper conversion that's probably a garden shed somewhere now. And they all made that I-40 run west out of Asheville at least once... biggrin



__________________

Dutch

34' 2001 GBM Landau Class A

2011 Toyota RAV4 4-down toad



RV-Dreams Community Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 11
Date:

So basically I am understanding that this decision is mainly, Know your equipment, know your route, and know our limitations. If I buy something knowing I am going to be traversing mountain ranges then I better understand weights and capabilities. So maybe when looking at RVs I ask myself is this built well enough to handle what I have in mind? The answer may be some are and some are not? Is it true to assume that some RVs just are not equipped for this? I know nothing about weights and towing and axels. This is all greek to me at this point.

This question came to my mind because I was reading about some saying their RV was so unsafe due to length and axels and something called a "tag axel" Thats what got me thinking I may buy something totally unsafe because of lack of knowledge.


__________________


RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 3526
Date:

I will just step in and say that the internet is full of information, some true, some false, some mixed and a lot that are trying to appeal to emotions like fear to get page clicks. My advice is to use your own eyes and judgement. Be skeptical of information from strangers, especially if they have an agenda. When traveling pay attention to what RVs you see and you will see every kind taking the interstates, highways, county roads and city streets, since the majority are built to take them. Yes some are overweight, and those people will find themselves nervous on steep grades and avoid them if they can. Not just RVs, some car haulers towed by pickups are overweight and will go up and down hills very slowly.

__________________

Bill Joyce,
40' 2004 Dutch Star DP towing a 2012 AWD Chevy Equinox
Journal at http://www.sacnoth.com
Full-timing since July 2003



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 799
Date:

FLmom said "This question came to my mind because I was reading about some saying their RV was so unsafe due to length and axels and something called a "tag axel" Thats what got me thinking I may buy something totally unsafe because of lack of knowledge "

Not sure where you heard this, but generally, longer is better from a safety stand point as the increased wheel base tends to be more stable on the highway (length can present some maneuvering challenges in certain tight circumstances, but that is not a safety issue). A tag axle is the second rear axle on a motorhome ... not all have them ... but the tag axle allows for an increase in GVWR and helps with weight distribution and contributes to an enhanced ride and in no way would a tag axle diminish the safety of a motorhome.



-- Edited by RonC on Tuesday 31st of January 2017 10:32:23 AM

__________________

Ron and Janice

 

2016 Ford F350, King Ranch, DRW, 3.73's, 4x4, CC, 6.7 Powerstroke, remote control air lift system

2017 K-Z Durango Gold 381REF (41 ft, 5 slides), MORryde IS, 8K Disc brakes, GY G114  LR H Tires, 27,320 lbs CGVW

Full Timers class of 2016



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 254
Date:

I've heard the Super Cs are more safe. Any comments?

__________________

2015 Winnebago TT 2101DS & Chevy Tahoe LTZ, 300 watts of WindyNation solar - parallel w/MPPT, 2 Trojan T-125s. TALL pole for USC & historical flags. 14 year Army vet. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, USF&WS, NPS, TVA, state & county campgrounds



RV-Dreams Community Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 11
Date:

I've heard that a lot in all my recent research but they are way over my budget especially just starting out. For now we plan on being on the road for a year full time and then kids will be back in school and we will part time. So a super C will be a lot to take on wouldn't it? I'm just not sure so that's why I'm here and getting all the info I can to make the best decision. We only have a year on the road so I kinda have to get it right the first time.

__________________


RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 281
Date:

I would suggest that you go to a RV show, and just sit in some of the different styles for awhile and picture how you think you will live in each one. That will help you pick a style and size for your needs.Once you narrow that down than start researching the different brand. You are going to live in this full time for a year so you want to make sure the floor plan will work for your family. Take your time and enjoy the advantage.
Good luck

__________________

Bob C

The fulltime Dream begins, class of 2016

2016 Dodge Ram 5500 HD Classy Chassis hauler bed/air ride

2016 New Horizon Majestic M43RL3S

home base Sandwich,Ma.

 



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 778
Date:

Linda, I'd suggest that you slow down a bit and figure out what sort of RV will best suit your plans. Motorhomes, fifth wheels, travel trailers, etc. all have advantages and disadvantages. Do some research by asking questions here and on some brand-specific forums after you get to the point of focusing on certain brands.

We researched for a couple of years before we bought our Foretravel. We started our with a completely blank page as we researched, meaning that we hadn't decided that we wanted a motorhome. We chose a motorhome because it fitted what we thought were our needs at that time. Now, three years later, our needs have changed, so our Foretravel is for sale and we're looking for an F350 and an Airstream travel trailer because THAT is a better fit for us now.

From your mention of a price, it sounds like you are looking at motorhomes, so let me talk about them a bit. First, some terms. A Class A is the "bus" that most people think of. A Class B is a van. A Class C is a pickup camper built on a van body. Okay, the last two are oversimplifying a bit, but you get the picture. A Super C is an over-the-road truck that has been remade into a motorhome. It sounds like you are going to be full-timing for a year or so, so I'd suggest that you limit yourself to either a Class A or a Super C.

Class A motorhomes come it two versions - a gas engine located between the driver and navigator seats or a diesel pusher. The gassers are cheaper, and are usually built on a medium-duty truck chassis. Those are the ones that sometimes have a large amount of coach behind the rear wheels. There is a lot of storage space back there, so that's where all the stuff ends up. That means that the rear axle is often at or over the Gross Axle Weight Rating, while the front axle is quite light. The result of that is there is a lot of pitch (up and down motion) as you go down the road, and the steering can get "interesting" at times. Diesel pushers put the big, heavy engine at the rear, with the tires directly ahead of it. There isn't a lot of storage space in back, so the weight on the rear axle is pretty much a constant. The wheelbase is also generally longer and it usually has an air suspension. Both factors contribute to a smoother ride.

A tag axle is simply a third axle added behind the rear wheels that helps to carry the load when the engine and transmission are too heavy for a single axle. If you look carefully at one you will see that there is a set of duals immediately followed by a single wheel. That single wheel is the tag. It is there strictly to help carry the weight, so it just "tags along."

One advantage of a motor home is that you sit up higher than most other vehicles, which means that you can see farther down the road. You can anticipate problems far sooner, so you can slow down or change lanes sooner. You also have a generator on board, so you are truly completely self-contained. More than one motor homer has been stuck in traffic because of an accident and prepared coffee for the emergency workers, while many of us have just waited in comfort.

As for learning to drive such a coach, all it takes is practice. On the cheap end, find someone near you to drive it from the dealership to an empty parking lot and then you practice there. When you are comfortable, go on out on the road. It won't take you long to get somewhat comfortable with your coach, and the more you drive it the more comfortable you will get. The more expensive way is to go to an RV driving school, where a professional will teach you.

__________________

David, kb0zke

1993 Foretravel U300 40'

Build number 4371

For sale



RV-Dreams Community Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 11
Date:

oh wow thanks for that great explanation on the differences. I really liked the coffee in traffic story. That sounds like us. I am leaning Class A deisel at this point with the small amount of research I have done so far. The thought of being in it while traveling all in one contained unit just sounds like a good fit for us. With a parrot and a dog and my weak bladder it just seems best.

Still learning so things could totally change though.

__________________


RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 962
Date:

We've never regretted getting a diesel pusher. First time I 'walked' down a mountain pass with the exhaust brake on sold me on the rig.

__________________

Barb & Dave O'Keeffe
2002 Alpine 36 MDDS (Figment II), 2004 Subaru Forester toad (Mischief)
Blog:  http://www.barbanddave.net/Site/Welcome.html
SPK# 90761 FMCA #F337834



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 435
Date:

I believe in a safe tow. See my signature.


__________________

2003 Teton Grand Freedon  2006 Mobile Suites 32TK3 SOLD     2006 Freightliner Century 120 with Detroit 14L singled, ultrashift,  hauling a 2016 Smart Passion

Page 1 of 1  sorted by
 
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Tweet this page Post to Digg Post to Del.icio.us