Motor Home Awareness

With the end of winter we experience an increase in the amount of motor home and recreational vehicle traffic on our highways. Despite the rising cost of fuel, and even perhaps in the name of economy, Mr. Marvin Motor Home will decide to stay close to home and go camping on his family vacation this year. Throughout the summer and even into the fall many will drive their RV to tailgate at the next big game.

Many experience an enjoyable, relaxing time filled with hiking, boating, swimming, fishing, campfires and cookouts while sharing memories (and perhaps even a few adult beverages) with friends and family that will last a lifetime. But for some, their dream vacation or fun filled weekend turns into a horrific nightmare in the blink of an eye as result of a motor home collision.

All too often these collisions involve a commercial motor truck or tractor trailer as the two larger vehicles unsuccessfully try to share the road. Due to their lighter weight construction, the motor home will suffer the brunt of the damages.

Be on guard for motor homes this spring, summer and fall and know that they are very likely being operated by someone without a commercial drivers license, possibly a retiree advanced in age with a chance that their perception and reaction time might not be as sharp as it used to be.

Anticipate the RV to make unexpected maneuvers and drift into your lane. Use situational awareness while rounding curves, particularly on undivided two-lane roads during spring, summer and fall. During these seasons there is a higher likelihood that an RV may be approaching from the opposite direction. Also be extra vigilant in windy conditions causing not only the RV, but large trucks to blow and drift into the other lane.

Those who earn their living driving large commercial vehicles often ask "Why aren’t RV drivers, weekend warriors and rental moving vans regulated like we are?" DOT only regulates vehicles engaged in interstate (and in most cases intrastate) commerce. FMCSR 390.5 defines a commercial motor vehicle as "any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce" Safety regulations governing private use of recreational purpose or trucks > 10,000 lbs. transporting only one’s personal belongings fall under state and local jurisdiction driving laws governing standard passenger vehicle operation.