The top item on my parent’s list of concerns when I told them I was going to go full-time RVing by myself was personal safety. This past week, I received an e-mail from a reader who also brought up the subject, so I figured it was worth a post.
So far, I have found the RVing community to be a wonderful and very helpful group of people. In fact, I like to believe the best about humanity in general, but I know that sadly there are exceptions to the rule. I have already given some thought over how to stay safe on my travels, here are my conclusions thus far.
First, issues others than personal safety, the kind of stuff that is important to all RVers whether they’re on the road by themselves or traveling with others.
As I’ve brought up before, I have very limited technical know how. I have given some thought to taking a mechanic class at the local technical college, but that would require money and time that I don’t really feel like spending right now. So instead, I’m going to make sure I have a roadside assistance plan, for the breakdown that will inevitably occur if I’m RVing long enough. One class I will be investing in however is how to drive my RV safely. I’m thinking I’ll be attending one of the RV Boot Camps put on by the Escapees RV club to learn the basics about safely operating an RV, since that is definitely stuff I’ll have to learn how to do on my own.
Of course I’ll also have a list of things to check when hitching and unhitching the RV between traveling, as being on the road has a tendency to loosen bolts, and forgetting even once to reattach the safety chains before driving off could have disastrous consequences.
When it comes to the common belief that living on the road must surely be more dangerous than staying at home, Technomadia has a wonderful article on safety that explains that it really just isn’t so.
On the subject of personal safety though, here is the plan. I already own a can of pepper spray, and it will be coming with me. It’s been brought to my attention that hornet spray has much the same effect as pepper spray, but has a longer range, so that is something I will have to think about. I also have plans to buy an air horn, and my truck came equipped with anti-theft device with a panic button on the key chain.
Another suggestion I have found from surfing around on RVing forums was bringing a gun with. For the people who feel comfortable with them, okay, I understand it. But I would not feel comfortable owning one myself, and couldn’t see myself using it which would defeat the whole purpose.
My parents told me I should get a little dog, but I’d really like not having to worry about a pet when I first hit the road. This is a good suggestion for soloers who like dogs or already have one however. At some point down the road I do want to have a dog, but I’m a fan of larger breeds (sighthounds being my favorites) and I’d feel bad keeping a larger dog like that in a RV as small as a Casita, plus that would limit how long I’m able to be gone from the RV, and the kind of places I can stay. Instead it’s much more likely that I’ll adopt a cat while I’m on the road, and the dog will come later.
But in the end, I feel my best safety practices will come down to common sense. When arriving at a campground, I’ll be letting the people at the check in desk know that I’m alone. If I get to my planned stopping point for the night, or a rest stop, and it doesn’t look or feel right, I’ll simply move on. Situational awareness is what I’m talking about here, being aware of your surroundings is key.
Again, this plan is a work in progress. Do you have any other suggestions for staying safe while RVing?
Image courtesy of abulic monkey
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