RVing in winter provides dozens of benefits and plenty of fun. You can enjoy beautiful landscapes, winter sports activities and smaller crowds during shoulder season. While rewarding, winter camping can be risky, too, especially with the Canadian weather conditions that often include snow and ice. Here are eight things you should know before you drive your RV on the ice. Along with warm winter clothing, these best practises and precautions prepare you to stay safe as you travel across Canada this winter.
1. Respect the dangers.
Road conditions in the winter can be unpredictable and dangerous. And while you may have experience driving on ice, other drivers may not be as skilled. You don’t have to store your RV and forgo winter camping, though. When you know and respect the potential dangers of winter driving, you’re more likely to exercise caution and take it easy on the ice.
2. Give yourself extra time.
Camping is supposed to be relaxing, so add extra time into your schedule so that you don’t have to rush when you’re RVing in winter. You can also check the weather and try to stay put at your campsite if ice is in the forecast, or pull over onto a wide shoulder and wait out a storm. Remember that it’s okay to change your plans, too, if the weather doesn’t cooperate.
3. Recognise your RV’s limitations.
Driving your RV on icy roads is different than driving your car or truck. Understand how your RV is likely to handle icy road conditions so that you can prepare adequately. For example, if your motorhome is rear-wheel drive, you’ll have less traction and control than you have in your front-wheel-drive car. Also, the weight of your RV means you need more room to stop, which can be a challenge on slippery roads.
4. Install snow tires and prepare snow chains.
The right tires boost your RV’s traction on snow and ice. Select tires with deep angled tread to ensure you get the most grip. If you choose used tires, make sure they’re in good condition.
Snow chains can be another asset for your winter camping excursions. Ensure your chains will fit on your RV’s tires, and practise putting on the chains before you need them. Then when you face icy road conditions, you’re able to put on the chains and drive with confidence.
5. Maintain a slow and steady pace.
Icy road conditions require you to take it easy as you drive your RV. If you go too fast, you could lose control or traction. To increase your chances of arriving at your destination intact, accelerate and brake gradually, slow down before you make turns and take turns as widely as possible.
6. Know when to turn on the momentum.
A slow and steady pace is generally the wisest way to drive on ice, but you will want to take advantage of momentum and speed in certain situations. Primarily, try to accelerate as you approach hills. The extra speed can carry your RV up the incline and eliminate your need to push on the gas, which could cause your tires to spin and possibly lead to a loss of control.
7. Allow distance between other drivers.
Your stopping distance increases but your stopping ability decreases when you drive on ice. Try to stay as far back from other vehicles as possible. You can’t predict how other drivers will navigate icy conditions, but you can do everything possible to keep your RV under control.
8. Top off your fuel tank and your supplies.
Despite your safe driving practises, winter weather is unpredictable, and you could find yourself waiting out a storm or for an accident to clear. Be prepared with plenty of RV supplies and gear. Fill up the fuel tank so you can keep your RV and heater running, and check all the batteries to ensure they’re charged and in good working condition. Stock extra propane, food, first aid supplies, and warm clothing, too.
Are you ready for winter camping adventures and fun? Follow these eight winter driving tips to stay safe as you operate your RV on ice. These precautions give you peace of mind as you travel across Canada and enjoy everything the country has to offer this winter.