If you are from the upper Midwest, the East Coast or the Rockies or wherever snow covers the ground for more than 3 months out of the year, or if you are traveling through these areas, you are sure to encounter treacherous road conditions during your travels at some point.
With winter weather hitting Michigan and the surrounding Great Lakes region, I thought today would be a good time to share few winter RV travel tips. Everyone wants to reach their camping destination safely and no one wants the weather to holding them back, especially if the destination is warm! If you are careful in your preparation and plan ahead, reaching your destination despite bad weather can be much easier and less stressful.
1. Pack comfortable winter clothes. Warm sweaters, boots, mittens or gloves, a scarf, a hat, a jacket that’s able to withstand the elements and possibly snow pants are all necessary staples. I recommend that these items are packed for easy access in the event of a breakdown.
2. This goes without saying, but check the oil and fluids in your towing vehicle before embarking. Our service department recommends that your oil is the proper viscosity for winter driving. Check the service department at your local dealer as they can best recommend what oil is best for the driving conditions you are about to face.
3. Carry a crate with all necessary fluids and a few basic tools. A gallon jug of anti-freeze and windshield washer fluid, a quart or two of oil and transmission fluid, a basic tool kit, a tow strap, flashlights (the kind you can wear on your head are amazing!), jumper cables, a roll of duct tape, a handful of zip ties and a snow shovel.
4. If you are traveling in a motorhome and have air brakes, make sure the air dryer is fully functional. It’s not good to get condensation in your brake lines as this can cause the lines to freeze up and create a considerable hazard and expense.
5. Before you embark, winterize your RV as plumbing can freeze while driving. If your plumbing freezes during your travels, reaching your destination and not being able to use dishwasher, sink, toilet or icemaker creates additional hassles that I am sure you won’t want to have to deal with. Check with a service technician on how to properly winterize your RV or bring it to a service dealership such as Lakeshore RV Center as soon as the weather begins to turn cold.
6. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and have plenty of tread for winter conditions. Getting caught in poor weather conditions on bad tires is never a good time.
7. Always exercise caution while driving in high winds, especially if you are towing a larger profile travel trailer or 5th wheel! Drive slowly as the wind can push your RV around the road considerably which can easily cause an accident. Use common sense – if it’s too windy, pull off and wait it out!
8. Do not pump anti-lock brakes, depress the brake pedal firmly to bring your vehicle and RV to a stop. If your vehicle or trailer is not equipped with anti-lock brakes, pump your brakes in the event you lose control. Keep pumping them until you are able to regain traction. Always exercise caution and travel slowly on snow and ice; remember, black ice is often very difficult to see!
9. Try to travel with a full tank of gas as much as possible. In the event of an emergency situation or traffic backup, I guarantee you will feel much more at ease knowing you will not run out of gas. Trust me, I have done this before!
10. It’s common sense, but I advise that if the weather turns for the worse and you can only see a few feet in front of your vehicle, to pull over until the weather clears or try to set up camp somewhere else along the way. Remember, you are going to have a great time when you reach your destination… But you have to get there safe first!
What are some safety precautions you live by or some bad weather necessities that you don’t leave home without? Please share below, we’d love to hear from you! Until next time this is SJ from Lakeshore RV Center wishing you an enjoyable and safe start to the holidays, wherever your RV travels are taking you.