Motorhome ownership has increased considerably in recent years, as more younger people find the prospect of the open road an appealing one. Campervans and caravans are inexpensive and freeing ways to explore the country and offer unique ways to spend extended periods of time away living and working.
But as winter descends on the UK, drivers of every stripe face new challenges relating to vehicle maintenance and road safety – with larger vehicles like motorhomes more susceptible to risk overall. For the new owner, what simple safety measures can you implement to remain safe this winter, and to keep your motorhome insurance premium from going up?
One of the main hazards presented through winter weather conditions is slippery roads, in the form of ice, snow, sludge and sleet. The condition and integrity of your motorhome’s brakes are paramount for keeping yourself and others safe while driving. Before you set off each time, you should check your brakes by pushing the footbrake pedal all of the way down; if it does not feel firm at the bottom of its arc, this could mean trouble.
You should also pay close attention to how the brakes feel when driving. If your motorhome is drifting to one side whenever you brake, this could be an indicator that one brake pad is more worn than the others – and a sign that replacement is necessary.
As well as testing your brakes, you should also be regularly checking your tires for their health and condition. The colder weather will cause your tyre pressure to drop, which can increase wear if not addressed properly. When pumping tires back up, though, you might benefit from keeping them on the side of under-inflation; this can improve traction in snowy conditions. However, winter tires are the better and preferred option overall.
Of course, the integrity of your motorhome is only part of the equation. You must also be a conscientious driver during the winter, which in some cases means shifting your habits to better suit the conditions. For one, colder and slipperier roads can make cornering dangerous, especially in a large and bulky vehicle such as yours. You should slow down to the corner much sooner than you would usually, and accelerate out of the corner slowly to prevent wheelspin.
The latter should be done also for taking off out of traffic. Slow acceleration ensures you keep control of your camper, while also keeping engine strain low and energy efficiency high.
Packing Safety Equipment
Lastly, there are items of safety equipment you can keep on board your motorhome to keep yourself and your passengers safe in the event of an accident or incident. Blankets and spare coats are a good start for if you get stranded in the cold, while snow chains can be useful for sticky situations such as getting stuck in a snow drift. High-visibility items such as coats, vests and hazard squares can help in low-visibility conditions.