Looking at high RV insurance premiums? There’s a good reason.

An RV is a lot longer and heavier than anything the average car driver has ever handled. That means a wider turn radius, a greater stopping time, a longer stopping distance, slower acceleration at an intersection. It takes training and practice to adjust to that length and weight.

Reduce RV Insurance Premiums With Good Driving Basics

Treat driving as a full-time job, recommends Ram Muessig, a retired professional driver and founder of the website RV Safety. He offers these safety tips to RV drivers:

  • See and be seen – Ram advises, “look ahead about as far as you will travel in 12 to 15 seconds. At low speeds in city traffic, that could be only about one city block, but at highway speeds, it may be about a quarter of a mile…or more”
  • Plan ahead for emergencies – Watch for anything that might require you to slow down or change lanes. “Know what’s going on behind and to the sides, as well. Check your mirrors regularly.”
  • Communicate – Signal your intentions well in advance
  • Adjust vehicle speed to road and weather conditions – Ram recommends that an RV driver slow by 1/3 on wet roads, by 1/2 on packed snow, and crawl on ice.
  • Keep your distance from the car ahead – stopping time and distance is up to four times more for an RV. Never tailgate (good advice even in a car!)
  • Don’t “over-drive” the headlights – Why drive at night, anyway? “We’re RVers, we’re not supposed to be in a hurry,” says Muessig.

Don’t forget such basics as adjusting the seat location, adjusting mirrors for proper view, and buckling up. The National Safety Belt Coalition reminds travelers that wearing a safety belt is the single most effective action to prevent serious injury and death in a traffic accident

Drive That RV Defensively for Lower Insurance Rates

Planning ahead for emergencies is an important skill in defensive driving. Basically, this involves trying to anticipate the worst thing another driver can do, and being prepared to respond appropriately, says Frank Gummersall, another professional driver. Frank recommends the following defensive techniques in his article, Driving an RV Safely (see below):

  • Be “defensively offensive” – “You can’t be timid in today’s traffic.”
  • “Telegraph your intentions” by signaling well in advance and moving into the proper lane
  • Be in an appropriate position before any maneuver (lane change, pass)
  • Move close to the curb before a right turn, to prevent car drivers from moving beside the RV
  • Drive with the flow (if you can’t, your vehicle may be underpowered)
  • Stay in the center lane for the greatest maneuverability

Why not take a defensive driving course? The skills learned in standard defensive driving training will transfer readily to driving an RV, and insurance companies often offer a defensive driving discount.

For a Lower RV Insurance Quote, Take RV Driver Training

National automobile associations offer RV driving courses in major centers. RV driver safety courses are designed to combine training in handling a motor home or tow vehicle with defensive driving techniques.

The Canadian Automobile Association’s RV Smart course introduction reads, “Be safe, knowledgeable and confident with [a] RV driver safety training course designed for today’s RV driver. Develop and strengthen your skills using your own RV or trailer, and increase your awareness of hazards facing you as an RV driver.”

The course offers

  • Half-day instruction using the trainee’s own RV
  • Individual training for the driver and one companion
  • Topics such as towing, braking, parking, hazard awareness, and prevention
  • Safety tips regarding propane, hitching, tires, and weight

The AMA will provide a premium reduction to drivers who take the course and also insure their rig with the AMA.

Saving money on RV insurance is nice, but in the end what’s important is keeping the rig on the road and keeping the driver, passengers, and others on the highway safe from harm. Drive safely.

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