How to Properly Equip and Operate Your RV for Driving in the Winter Months

Home » How to Properly Equip and Operate Your RV for Driving in the Winter Months

While camping and traveling in your RV during the cooler months can be an extremely exciting and rewarding experience, it is important that you are familiar with possibly dangerous weather and road conditions due to snow, sleet, and ice. The operation of a normal sized vehicle in bad weather settings can be dangerous enough, but adding the larger size of an RV into the equation can make driving on the road even more precarious. That is why it is extremely important to familiarize yourself with your RV and all of the basic safety procedures of operating your individual RV correctly and safely. Doing so will ensure you and everyone in your group will have a fun and exciting camping trip.

If you happen to come across a rainstorm in your RV while on the road, the street may be slick, vision may become impaired, and any current traffic may worsen. It’s important to remember to stay calm and not panic. If you feel as if conditions are too unsafe to drive in, pull the vehicle over in an appropriate location away from other drivers, and wait for the weather to improve.

If you are able to continue on in the rain, following these few tips can help you safely maneuver your RV:   

  • Remain seated and wear seatbelts at all times— Everybody in the vehicle should be sitting down wearing the proper restraints. People who may be up and moving around can not only be a distraction to the driver, but may hurt themselves by falling if any sudden bumps or turns occur.  
  • Give the vehicle a much longer time to slow down and stop— The wet road may cause your tires to slide, making it much harder for your RV to come to a complete stop. Keep this in mind when coming up to traffic, stop lights, and stop signs, and give your vehicle adequate time to a full halt. 
  • Avoid using your brights— While it is necessary to employ the use of your headlights so you can see and be seen, turning on your brights can cause the light to reflect, making it even harder to see the road in front of you. If your headlights still don’t provide the proper amount of light to see ahead, pull over and wait until you can see. 
  • Be aware that road spots that may have oil accumulated may be slicker— Areas such as parking lots, near stop lights, and other places of heavy traffic flow can have a high volume of oil covering their streets. The mixture of rainwater and oil can be extremely slippery, so be sure to use even more caution when driving around these areas. 
  • Do not attempt to cross ANY running water— All it takes is a couple inches to lift your vehicle and sweep it away. If you come across a low water crossing that has running water covering it, it is best to wait it out until the water subsides.


For icy or snowy road settings, remember that:

  • Black ice is a nearly invisible coating of ice that may be present on roads when it is cold out. Driving over black ice may cause you to lose control of the vehicle and slide. If you find yourself in this situation, the first reaction is to slam on the brakes, but this can cause you to spin out and lose even more control. Try to keep the wheel straight and if you begin to slide around, turn your wheel in the direction of the slide. The best thing to do is keep calm and slow your vehicle by keeping your foot off the pedal until the black ice is passed. 
  • The use of chains on your tires can greatly improve traction when driving on roads covered in ice and snow. 
  • It is always safer to wait inclement conditions out rather than traverse the icy, snowy, or rainy road.


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