With snow covering the ground from October till April in Canada, it’s no wonder RVers can be found road trippin’ even in bad conditions. After all, what’s the use in having an RV at all if you can only use it for half the year? At the same time, it’s important to be smart about driving in inclement weather. If you plan on taking your RV out while the snow and sleet is still flying, you should know a thing or two about how to drive your RV in the winter.
Up ahead, we’ve listed our top tips for driving your RV in the winter, including how to know when it’s just too wintery to go out at all.
How to Drive Your RV in the Winter
Follow these steps for a fun and safe winter RV trip!
Step 1: Be prepared with the right supplies.
When you’re prepared, whatever you’re worried about happening probably won’t. If you’re not prepared … it’s anyone’s guess.
While no one ever wants to imagine being stuck on the side of the road in the freezing ice and snow for any duration of time, in the frigid winter landscape of Canada, it’s frightfully possible. That’s why being prepared with the right supplies is so important.
Imagine that you were to get stuck somewhere for two to three days. What would you want to have with you?
For starters, you’d need enough drinking water and groceries to sustain you and the rest of the people in your party. You’d also need energy, so you’d have to have enough fuel and propane. It’s also a good idea to have a comprehensive first-aid kit as well as an emergency roadside kit that includes reflectors and flares. While all these things are important to have during the winter months, you should have most of them whenever you take an RV trip.
Step 2: Check your battery.
In the frigid weather, vehicle batteries suffer, which means it’s important to check that your battery is in good condition every time you head out. Local service shops can check the condition of your battery, or you can use a multimeter. If your battery is old or weak and you’re planning a big winter trip, think about replacing it before you leave. Many RV drivers are upgrading to lithium batteries these days because they tend to hold a charge for longer, even in the winter.
Step 3: Check your tires.
If you don’t have quality tires for driving on snowy and icy roads with your RV, reconsider your trip, or get new tires. You might opt for tire chains as well. In fact, some areas of the country actually require that vehicles have chains in order to go on certain roads.
Step 4: Know how to drive your RV in the winter.
RVs that you drive usually have rear wheel drive. Unfortunately, this isn’t ideal for winter conditions. Because the front wheels are only good for steering, the back wheels can easily slip and skid, which causes fishtailing on the road. Naturally, if you lose control of your RV, the consequences can be more severe than losing control of a small car. RVs can tip and roll easily, which can produce an instantly life-threatening situation.
For this reason, it is recommended that you always drive slower in the winter, especially when temperatures are near freezing. In fact, temperatures at or slightly above freezing can be especially dangerous because what looks like rain and sleet can instantly turn into black ice with just a degree or two change in temperature.
When to Stay Home
No one wants to cancel a trip or go home early just because of the weather. But if you were born in Canada or you’ve spent any significant amount of time here, you know that “better safe than sorry” can truly save lives when it comes to winter driving.
That’s why our policy is to first of all, always check the weather before heading out on the road — especially if you’ll be heading out on stretches of road that are far from towns and civilization. If there’s a winter storm warning, play it safe and stay put until it’s over or leave in plenty of time to miss it altogether.
If you’ll be near larger cities and the weather only looks slightly bad, you’ll probably be okay because if you need to stop at a restaurant or hotel to wait it out, you’ll be able to. When you’re far from civilization, however, don’t risk it. Travel is fun when it’s safe but getting to that next destination on time is never a good excuse for travelling in a nasty Canadian storm.
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