Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian Blog

10 Recreational Vehicle Safety Tips

Posted by Matt Schmidt | Jun 09, 2022 | 0 Comments

Summertime is loads of fun. With kids out of school, families often spend time outside, on the road, and traveling. Especially with the heat of summer in Tucson, Arizona, touring new states, surrounding mountains, or lake-side parks is common for those looking to escape the climbing temperatures. 

Offering unique ways to see new environments, travelers opt for fun modes of transportation such as RVs, scooters, ATVs, campers, off-road vehicles, and other recreational vehicles. As fun as these motor vehicles may be, they also come with special safety considerations.

Unfortunately, every year thousands of people are seriously injured or killed in auto accidents in and around Tucson, Arizona. Catastrophic motor vehicle accidents are life-changing events for victims and their families.

We would rather our community members stay safe than need to call us. Here are 10 safety tips that you need to read before you take a spin in your RV, scooter, camper, ATV, off-road vehicle, or other recreational vehicle this summer.

1. Follow the S.A.F.E. Acronym when Turning Corners in your RV, Trailer, or Large Camper.

RVs, trailers, and large campers have extra weight, height, and length as compared to traditional trucks, SUVs, and cars. Even experienced drivers should practice caution when turning larger recreational vehicles. S.A.F.E. is an easy to remember acronym that will help ensure recreational vehicle safety for you, your family, and others on the road.

S-Slowly approach the turn- RVs and campers can always speed up, but breaking during a turn is much more difficult.

A- Arc the turn in the correct direction. When you approach the turn slowly, that will allow you to arc the turn in the correct direction. It confuses and endangers drivers behind RVs and campers when drivers arc the turn in the opposite direction of the intended turn.

F-Finish the turn completely. Don't straighten the wheel until you've cleared the turn. Driving a large RV or camper is much different than a car.

E-Experience is key. Practice in empty parking lots and during slow traffic hours to get the feel for driving your RV or camper. Take training courses too (More information in step 10.)

2. See and Be Seen

Recreational vehicle accidents happen in the blink of an eye. Fun summer days can make us forget safety protocols and ignore vehicle visibility, so taking note of other drivers and other drivers taking note of you is crucial. 

Here are the best tips to see and be seen when driving an RV, camper, scooter, ATV, or other recreational vehicle:

  • Share eye-contact with other drivers
  • Wave or nod at other drivers
  • Use your turn signals or hand signals
  • Pay attention to your surroundings
  • Vigilantly look around you
  • When driving your regular vehicle, make a car game out of counting the motorcycles you see. This ensures that you will scan for other motorists when driving.
3. Take Care of Tires on Your Recreational Vehicles

Tire failures that cause serious injury, especially in rocky environments surrounding the Tucson area, happen frequently without the proper tire knowledge or care. If you're spending time in off-road vehicles, ATVs, and various recreational vehicles, make sure you tend to your tires:

  • Regularly wash/rinse tires- Dirt and various elements ware down the side walls, so make sure you rinse off the build up.
  • Cover your spare tires- Sun, heat, and cold exposure wares on tires over time, even if they're not in use. Cover up your spare tires!
  • Monitor your tire pressure- Tires that are too full or too low in air pressure blow out easier. Check your tires before each trip or at least once a month. Leave air in hot tires because they may become under inflated when the tire cools.
  • Replace older tires- Even if the tread looks okay, change your tires that are more than 5 years old.
4. Wear Protection Gear when Riding in Recreational Motor Vehicles

Safety is way cooler than suffering a serious injury. Always wear the proper safety and protection gear when riding your ATV, off-road vehicle, scooter, or four-wheeler. Safety gear can include: 

  • Seatbelts when available
  • Helmets
  • Eye protection
  • Gloves
  • Over-the-ankle boots
  • Long sleeves and pants
5. Always Ride at Safe Speeds on Trials and Narrow Roadways

Rocky terrain, curved trails, unexpected weather conditions, and narrow roadways pose dangers to uncautious drivers. Recreational vehicles, especially ATVs and four-wheelers, become unstable when traveling at fast speeds. Add a rocky, dusty trail in the mix, and the terrain becomes more difficult to view than typical roadways. You can always speed up if necessary, but slowing down is more difficult in uncertain conditions.

6. Avoid Paved Surfaces in ATVs and Off-Road Vehicles

ATVs and off-road vehicles are designed for rough terrain. Traveling on smooth pavement, especially at high speeds, is incredibly dangerous for ATvs and off-road vehicles. When ATVs turn on pavement at high speeds, the light body and tires slide and tip over easily.

7. Select a Recreational Motor Vehicle that's Right for You

Think carefully before you invest in a new recreational vehicle. Not only are recreational vehicles large financial purchases, but they also come with extra responsibility for yourself, your passengers, and everyone else in the area. Here is a comprehensive list of considerations before you purchase a vehicle for your summer fun: 

  • Uses for vehicle- Will you use the vehicle on trails, pavement, off-roading, long distances, room for the whole family, etc? 
  • The size and age of drivers- Make sure the four-wheeler, ATV, or scooter are the right size for the driver.
  • Time available for  maintenance- Will you have enough time to properly check in and maintain the vehicle between uses? Regular maintenance prevents some serious accidents.
8. Pause Driving if You Become Tired

Recreational motor vehicles take extreme concentration while driving. Especially when exploring on narrow roads, winding roads, or off-road, one wrong turn can cause serious injuries or death. Pull over, rest, and continue driving when you feel ready–for some drivers, this may mean stopping for the night.

9. Always Ride Recreational Motor Vehicles with the Proper Equipment

If you do end up the victim of an accident or a recreational vehicle issue, it's smart to already have safety equipment on-hand such as: 

  • Jumper cables
  • Tow rope
  • Spare tire and a set of tools
  • Flares
  • First aid kits
  • A sharp knife to cut away debris if necessary
  • Tire pressure gauge and tire plug kit
  • A fastener like duct tape, zip ties, super glue, or epoxy
10. Enroll and Excel in Training Courses for the Recreational Motor Vehicle You Ride

Though training courses are often optional, they're always helpful. Whether you pick up driving tips or even learn more about the ins-and-outs of your RV, ATV, or scooter, training courses are designed to ensure your safety and fun. 

Recreational vehicle accidents mainly happen because of getting distracted, being uninformed, or driving recklessly. Training courses provide necessary information and warnings before you embark on journeys with your new recreational motor vehicle.

Reduce your risk of getting in an RV accident, ATV accident, scooter accident, or other type of recreational vehicle accident. Stay informed, stay aware, and stay protected in order to keep having fun all year round.

If you or a loved one have been injured in any kind of motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. However, proving someone else's negligence and determining who's at fault can be challenging, especially when insurance companies put profits over people. They will do all they can to pay as little as possible which is why you need proven attorneys on your side at AZ Injury Law. If you are seriously injured or have lost a loved one as a result of a recreational motor vehicle accident, we can help.

The personal injury attorneys at our Tucson, Arizona law firm serve accident victims across Arizona and are the premier accident attorneys in the state when it comes to recreational motor vehicle accident claims.

Contact The AZ Injury Law Firm if you or a loved one has been in a serious recreational motor vehicle accident.

About the Author

Matt Schmidt

Matt graduated from the James E Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona in passing the Arizona bar exam in 2010. Matt's primary interest in law focuses on general personal injury and insurance bad faith.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Our team works together - for you!

Our award-winning lawyers are backed by a talented, caring team of legal professionals, paralegals, bilingual assistants, notaries, and others - all dedicated to you, your case, and the compensation you deserve.

No fees and no costs until we win.

As such we always have your case and your best interest in mind. When you win, we win too by providing the best legal care possible.

Thorough investigation and preparation.

We tirelessly and thoughtfully prepare every case we represent as though it was going to trial. This lets insurance companies know that we are a force to be reckoned with. As such, we settle successfully 98% of the time.