Personal RV Safety Tips

While RVing is relatively a safe lifestyle, it never hurts to take a few precautions because you never know when an emergency or crime may occur.

1 - Emergency Exit Windows – Do you know where the emergency exit windows are located in your RV (emergency vents in some truck campers)? Do you know how to use them in the event of an emergency? Gather the family and take the time to practice removing the window screen (if so equipped) and opening the window. Are you and your loved ones physically able to climb out through the window if needed?  If not, think about what other items like an escape ladder you might carry to make this possible.


Know Where Your Emergency Escape Windows Are and How To Use Them

2 - Don’t Share Your Real Time Location – While it’s tempting to post pictures on social media of your awesome campsite, either in a campground or in the middle of nowhere, it lets people know (possibly criminals too) your current location and more importantly that your home is likely vacant. With all the information on the internet, it only takes a few clicks for a criminal to determine where you live. Even if you have a house sitter, why invite trouble? Save posting pictures until you return home, as friends and family will still enjoy them just as much.


Watch What You Post on Social Media

3 - Second Entry Door – Does your RV have more than one entry door? Many RVs have a secondary entry door that is seldom used, if ever, by the owners. To save time when setting up camp, the owners will often leave the steps in. Two potential safety issues can arise due to failing to extend the steps.

- In the event of an emergency (say a fire blocking the primary entrance door) and you have to use the second door, are you going to remember the steps aren’t deployed potentially falling out of the RV and breaking bones?  

- Do you ever have guests (say grandchildren) traveling with you? Are they going to remember the steps aren’t deployed on the second door?  Additionally, if you have a folding handrail that folds across the door opening, make sure to deploy it so the door can quickly be opened from the inside in the event of an emergency.

4 - Rake – Some RVers that disperse camp in the boondocks will rake out the ground around their RV to see if anyone or anything leaves footprints during the night or when they are away from their RV during the day. See other boondocking safety tips in our Boondocking Safety article.

5 - Flashlight – Keep a flashlight handy by your bed stand or door. You never know when your electrical system might fail or you need to light up someone outside your RVs door when a knock comes after hours. It’s a good idea not to open your door until you have verified who is knocking and what they want.


Keep a Powerful Flashlight Handy

6 - Noise – If you need to scare an animal or intruder away from your RV, depress the panic button on your key fob, if your vehicle does not utilize a key fob, consider carrying a portable air horn.


Keep Your Key Fob Handy

7 - Secure Windows – Just like at home, it is a good idea to secure sliding windows with a dowel rod in the track or install a screw limiting how far the window can open to discourage intruders. Note: Never limit the ability to fully open an emergency escape window.


Screw Track to Limit How Far Window Can Open

8 - Firearm – Do you carry a firearm for personal protection when you travel? Surveys indicate more than half of RVers do. Whether you do or not, it’s best to keep it to yourself and not share with others. If you keep others guessing it will statistically be assumed that you are. For those of you that do travel with a firearm, make sure you know what each individual state’s laws are regarding what is allowed.

9 - Trust Your Instincts – Always be aware of your surroundings and listen to your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right choose another place to camp.

Employing these tips will help assure your next campout in the Pacific Northwest is a safer one. 

Dave Helgeson
Author: Dave Helgeson
Dave Helgeson is the MHRV Show Director. He and his wife love to travel across the west in their RV. Dave writes about all things RVing but loves to share destinations and boondocking advice.

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