Families who want to physically isolate while going on vacation may use self-contained homes on wheels this summer. Along with experienced drivers used to towing trailers or driving motorhomes, there may be many behind the wheel for the first time.
Recreational vehicle (RV) dealers are seeing brisk sales this year, reports Bloomberg. Families want to get out of their homes and break their isolation without the potential infection dangers of flying or using hotels. RVs can pose their own set of hazards, especially if negligent drivers don’t have them under control. Mistakes that can make a car dangerous could make an RV much more so.
A motorhome or a pickup towing a trailer will take much longer to stop. Speed, along with a turn or sudden braking, may cause the trailer to jackknife. Both types of vehicles have high centers of gravity, so flipping the vehicle over is much easier than a passenger vehicle.
Although new sales are booming, there are many older RVs on the road. They may be parked for months before going on extended trips. Tires may be rotted or improperly inflated, leading to blow outs and loss of control. RV’s may not be properly maintained, resulting in brake failure or break downs in dangerous spots on busy roads or highways.
Drivers may have a hard time seeing what’s along the vehicle, and it may be impossible to see what’s behind them. This lack of awareness may lead to unsafe lane changes.
These are large, bulky vehicles that are difficult to drive. Drivers new to towing trailers may not be used to their length and try to get through an intersection like they’re driving a car. They could sideswipe other vehicles and strike pedestrians. A driver speeding to get through during a yellow light or going through a red could be especially dangerous.
There could be drivers on both ends of the spectrum: younger, inexperienced drivers and older ones whose skills have deteriorated. Many retirees see the country full time driving their RV’s. Declining health, along with a refusal to accept it may pose dangers to others on the road. An inexperienced driver may not appreciate the limits of RV’s, whether that’s slow acceleration, long braking distances, the dangers of flipping over, and the effort it takes to get from one place to another in a large vehicle.
Impairment or intoxication
The driver and passengers are on vacation. They may want to cut loose and party. In a motorhome, the kitchen is a short walk behind the driver. Food may be passed around and drinks may flow. Why wait to reach the destination when the road trip itself can be a party? Drinking alcohol, driving, poor judgment, distraction, speed, and slow driver reaction time can be a recipe for disaster.
The biggest motorhomes could be 45 feet long and weigh 30,000 pounds. If the driver makes a mistake, especially at high speed, the mass of the vehicle could easily kill someone in a passenger vehicle, a motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian.
RV owners may have a far destination in mind. In addition to the dangers above, you can add driving in darkness while fatigued, distracted, or falling asleep.
If you drive an RV, please take special care to get to your destination safely. If you’re sharing the road with one, be aware of the potential dangers it poses. It may be best to stay away from one, including passing it safely to put it behind you.
If you or a family member is injured in an accident involving an RV, call The Fleck Firm for a free consultation at (270) 446-7000. We can talk about the accident, the law, and your best options to obtain compensation for your injuries. Insurance companies have lawyers. You should have one too.