Safety Tips for Your Upcoming Road Trips

dangerous driving in the rain - tips

Photo by Woodley Wonder Works

Located one mile from Tioga Downs, Jim’s RV Center has 20 bays available for service and complimentary facilities for overnight customers with scheduled service calls. Before starting your next journey, make this the first stop to ensure your RV is safe and ready to roll.

With so many people enjoying the option of traveling the highways of America in motorhomes, fifth wheels, or pulling a travel trailer or folding camper – all available at Jim’s – the roadways can become a safety issue.

Check your list of safety tips before leaving home and consider adding any of these you might have overlooked.

  • To help keep your recreational vehicle secure and your things safe while sightseeing or hiking, install a dead bolt to RV doors.
  • Make sure smoke alarms and fire extinguisher are in working order.
  • Remove excess grease build-up from the kitchen’s cooking vent/hood.
  • Give a once over to towing or hitch equipment.
  • Schedule a service appointment to have belts, hoses, tires, lights, signals, brakes, engine, transmission, and battery checked.
  • Check all the wire coverings to ensure the plastic or rubber coating hasn’t been chewed by hungry rodents.
  • Always leave a copy of your travel itinerary with family or friends in case of an unforeseen emergency.
  • Keep a road atlas by your side and be aware of the clearance levels of any bridges, tunnels and overpasses along your travel route.
  • Be comfortable with the size and weight of your RV so you don’t attempt to cross trestle bridges or covered bridges that won’t accommodate the weight or height of your RV.
  • Do visual maintenance throughout the trip each time you stop for the night.
  • Never leave the RV unattended while cooking.
  • Don’t store ignitable items such as curtains or fabric blinds close to the stove or portable heaters.
  • Check that retractable steps and awnings are securely stored or put away before taking to the road.
  • Keep the weight inside the RV balanced and secure. Uneven weight distribution and things sliding around the interior can cause problems.
  • If your RV has been stored, check for any birds nests that may be blocking the flue.

Contact our friendly staff at Jim’s RV Center today and be on your way to a safe trip no matter what time of year you’re traveling.


Tips for RVing in the City

Once you drive off the lot of Jim’s RV, chances are you’re planning a lot of backroad excursions and adventures along Route 66. New York City, Austin, L.A., they sound fun, but RVing in the big city can be more trouble than it’s worth.

Well, it is possible to have a good time as an RVer in a dense metropolitan area, but you’re going to want to keep these tips in mind if you plan on hitting the Big Apple, the Big Easy, or the City of Brotherly Love in your new RV:

Plan Ahead

Feel free to wing it when driving through Arizona. The Southwest is very RV friendly with plenty of parks that are easy to find. Not so in most big cities. Know where your RV park is and how to get there from a major landmark. There are apps that will help you find cheap gas and groceries in the city, that let you know where construction is taking place and so on so that you can plan a safe, efficient trip.

Beware the “Fuzz”

Some cities are friendly towards RVers, others are not, so don’t always assume that the police will be happy to see you. In some areas, it’s not uncommon for RVers to be woken up at two in the morning by surly police officers telling them they can’t park overnight here.

Start Early, Leave Early

Your RV park will likely be a little out of the way, so make sure that you start your trip into the city early, and that you leave before it gets dark. One really bad traffic jam can wind up eating an entire day of travel time.

Typically, RVers don’t visit big cities, they drive through them, or around them if they can help it. After all, most of us are outdoorsmen and women by heart. But there’s no reason not to see the Empire State Building, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, or downtown New Orleans just because you’re in an RV.


Germs and Your RV New York, Prevention is Key!

There are several common areas where germs lurk around campsites. One source of contamination comes from the misuse of your  RV’s black water tank — which holds waste. There are many diseases that are spread through contact with human waste – cholera, dysentery, hepatitis, measles, polio, typhoid fever, amoeba, giardia, hookworm, pinworm, roundworm, tapeworm, trichina worm – to name a few. Gloves are a must when handling black tank hoses and valves.  Always be sure to close the valve and tip the drain hose below the valve to catch any spillage that may continue to flow. After draining the tank, rinse the drain hose and drain area with water. Do not use the same hose you use to connect to your RV for fresh water. The key is to isolate clean from dirty.

The water supply (city water connection) to your RV can also be a source of germs. Before you go ahead and hook your hose to your campsite water hydrant, you may want to give it a wash down with some bleach or disinfectant spray. Dogs are a staple in most campgrounds and they tend to use the water hydrant for purposes other than drinking, if you get my drift.

Prior to using your fresh water holding tank disinfect it with chlorine bleach or an RV product made specifically made for this purpose.  Always use cleaners according to the specifications in your Jim’s RV manual.

The galley is a typical area for germs. Your RV kitchen can be a playground for cross contamination of foods.  After you have handled uncooked meats wash your hands, this will keep germs from being a part of the meal at your dinner table.

Germs that can cause disease or illness include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Germs really can’t harm you until you come in contact with them, so it’s a great idea to focus on prevention. Germs typically enter the body through the nose, eyes, and mouth; often transmitted from our own contaminated hands and fingers.

The key to prevention is to create a barrier between your hands and the infectious matter. Caution should be used when dealing with anything that can possibly be contaminated. Sanitary gloves can go a long way in these scenarios. There are many styles and materials to choose from. I, however,  recommend a disposable sanitary glove so that you can just trash it when you are done.

With so many odd bugs and illnesses surfacing from time to time, hand sanitizer is all the rage.  Therefore, another preventive measure is to sanitize your hands following any contact with germs. Oddly, people pass their hands through a faucet of running water and then rub them against a hanging towel which only makes the germs “wet”. To effectively control the spread of germs you must use soap. If there is none, then a bottle of hand sanitizer or antiseptic hand wipes are the next best thing.

Is this approach to germs obsessive compulsive, is it over-kill? It is up to you whether or not you want to fight this war, traveling sick isn’t optimal. Prevention is necessary and gives you a one-up in the battle with germs.


10 Five Minute RV Maintenance Tips

Of course, Jim’s has a state-of-the-art RV service department with the latest in diagnostic and repair tools and parts that can handle just about any problem your RV faces. I say, why not just avoid RV problems all together. Here are a few quick and easy RV maintenance tips you can follow on your own to keep your camper in great shape from year to year.

Quick And Easy RV Maintenance Tips

Check sealants twice each month – check the rubber sealants around your windows to make sure they’re tight and not cracking. Cracked or loose sealant can let air in which causes drafts and leaks.

Check tire pressure before every trip –this one should be a no brainer. Make sure your tires are fully pressurized before you set off on your next road trip – it’s an easy RV maintenance tip that will prevent blowouts and it also  improves your gas mileage!

Run generator 2 hours per month under 50% load –letting your RV sit unused for months is not good for the generator. Run it under a light load for a few minutes each month to keep it primed so that it is ready the next time you decide to hit the road.

Check battery water level–making sure your batteries have enough water in them is crucial to ensuring that they will hold their charge. Check your battery water level frequently and add distilled water when necessary.

Clean holding tanks regularly –clean out your gray and black water tanks frequently to prevent bacteria and odors from leaking into the rest of your RV. Black and gray water tanks can get really gross, really fast – this is one RV maintenance tip you don’t want to forget! If you have to spend a vast amount of time on the road, cleanliness is a must.

Lube slide rails and gaskets twice each year –make sure all your slideout rails and all gaskets on your RV are properly lubricated to avoid friction. This will help make sure your slide rails stay in working condition all season long.

 Torque lug nuts before each trip – it is very important that you always make sure your lug nuts are fastened tightly before you head out. This RV maintenance tip is crucially important – if you’re not careful, your whole wheel assembly could fly off! Accidents slow down trips and can drain your pocket book, this type can be easily avoided.

 Sanitize fresh water system each spring – this is an RV maintenance tip that you should follow at the beginning of the RV season. Before your spring RV season starts, make a point to thoroughly sanitize your fresh water systems to keep your drinking water fresh and clean.

 Properly winterize each fall –this is one of the most crucial RV maintenance tips that you can follow. Before the winter hits it’s absolutely necessary to follow all of the steps to winterize your unit to protect it from the winter cold and lack of use (if you need help, check out our previous posts about how to winterize your RV!).

 Retract awning during heavy wind and rain – this RV maintenance tip is extremely important. On at least one of your camping trips you’re going to have to weather a storm. Make sure your awning is pulled back – otherwise, it’ll collapse like an umbrella and bend like crazy!

If you follow the above RV maintenance tips throughout the season, you may end up saving thousands of dollars in service costs! And remember, for all your RV maintenance and service needs, visit Jim’s RV Center in Nichols NY.


RV brake maintenance improves safety


Your RV is a very large piece of machinery that is capable of going at high speeds. While this may seem like an obvious statement, it is very important to remember these basic facts when it comes time to use your brakes. One of the biggest learning curves for the first time RV owner is learning how to judge closing distances and when and how much brake pressure to apply to stop safely and securely. While RV brake systems are designed to handle the heavy loads, they can still wear down very quickly if not checked regularly and used too aggressively.

The first thing that you should do when stopping has to deal with what you do when you are moving. Always keep plenty of distance between yourself and any vehicle in front of you. This will give you more time to apply your breaks than if you are following too close. If you do need to come to a stop, start slowing down as far away from your stopping zone as possible and slowly but firmly apply pressure to the brakes. Avoid slamming on your brakes at all costs, although you may be forced to at one point or another.

Another good way to keep your brakes in good shape has to do with driving down hills. Your RV will create a lot of momentum when moving downward and your intuition may tell you that you need to ride your brakes. This will quickly wear your brakes down and may cause brake failure down the road. Instead, put your RV in a lower gear and this will naturally keep your RV at a safe controlled speed on hilly terrain.

If you start to hear squeaking or grinding when you apply brake pressure, then you should immediately take your RV into the shop shop and have them inspected and fixed. Brake failure can lead to dangerous and even deadly accidents if left unchecked. If you are looking for a new RV, then be sure to come into Jim’s RV.


In your RV Pay Attention to Clearance


If you are new you RVing, then you have probably had the thought go through your mind about how much bigger it feels behind the wheel than it looked at the dealership.  There is nothing wrong with buying a large Class A sized RV.  They come packed with features and accessories, but it can be a huge shock when you start driving it from place to place.  One of the biggest things that you have to deal with is all the new rules that go along with owning such a large vehicle.

One of the things that you need to know is how tall your rig is.  From fast food joints to bridges, you have probably already noticed height warnings before you even bought an RV.  It is important to know how tall your RV is, and be sure to measure again if you add anything to your roof such as solar panels or air vents. If you hit something that is too low it will cause a large amount of damage to your rig and may put others around you in danger as well.

One of the lesser known issues that you have to be aware of in your RV is the width.  While like height it is important to know so you don’t cause any RV damage, but it is also important to know because some roads have width restrictions.  While the road may look about the same size as most others, a width restricted road may put other cars in danger because they do not have enough clearance around you while passing.  Many of these roads will have signs alerting drivers of these rules.

It is important to know the dimensions of your rig so you can become a safer driver.  Your owners manual should have these measurements listed inside, but if not, be sure to carefully measure yourself. If you are looking for a great new RV, no matter the size, then be sure to come into Jim’s RV.