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Keeping Safe
KEA Tracks have prepared a simple checklist for on-the-road and around the campsite
Words and Images by: KEA

KEA Tracks knows that there are plenty of travellers happily enjoying the motorhome lifestyle around Australia without any sort of problem whatsoever. However, occasionally problems and difficulties occur that could easily be prevented. We’ve given some thought to this matter and have prepared a simple checklist for on-the-road and around the campsite.

BEFORE DEPARTURE

This is certainly not a last minute item. Keeping all mechanicals in first-class order, especially safety items like your brakes and tyres, is essential.

There are a number of tasks that have to be done immediately before departure – packing up, closing all windows and hatches, disconnecting power cords, turning off the gas et al but we’d just like mention one more. Ensuring everything inside is packed away and secure is very important. In the event of a sudden stop or even worse, an accident, a loose missile in a caravan – you know, those things without an engine – could just be annoying but in a motorhome it might become fatal. Walk around your motorhome to ensure that nothing is open or unlatched. It only takes  a minute but it might save hours or even days of remedial work. Don’t forget to occasionally have a look underneath as well.

ON THE ROAD

We’re sure we don’t have to explain about road rules but simple things like getting plenty of rest breaks along the way is crucial. Be aware of what is going on around you, especially behind. A long line of aggravated or frustrated motorists is an accident looking for somewhere to happen. Pull over and let them pass.

In the car park or camping area, when reversing or manoeuvring, make sure that you have a clear view behind or have an observer you can see. Carrying all the necessary tools that might be needed for tasks like changing wheels or repairing, say, non-working running lights is an idea not to be sneezed at. Don’t forget to include any special tools that might be unique to your motorhome.

Although we know that most of you like to be parked up by late afternoon for that essential happy hour, it’s always smart to have a good torch close to hand – you never know when you might need it.

While it’s not actually illegal to travel along with a gas cylinder open but we’d certainly recommend shutting the gas off – a broken gas line in the event of an accident is not something to contemplate.

AROUND THE CAMP - OUTSIDE

There are certainly plenty of places around Australia to stay for the night without any sort of problem whatsoever, but if freedom camping it’s a good idea to stay well away from any towns or areas where there are known social issues, i.e. those that are alcohol related.

When setting up camp, especially one that’s not familiar, it’s always a good idea  to check where you are planning to park. Have a walk around to make sure there is nothing on the ground that is going to be a problem. Have a look in the air too for any low or overhanging branches. Parking under gum trees in any sort of wind isn’t always a good idea. If you have seen a large branch fall onto an RV then you’ll know what we mean.

When unrolling or rolling up your power cord, inspect it from time to time. Watch out especially for any nicks or damage to the outer PVC sheath and also check the continuity of the insulation where the plug and socket are connected. It doesn’t happen very often but note any heat damage to the plug and socket. If anything looks in any way melted, then change them ASAP. It’s a problem that is only going to get worse.

This is not a safety tip but do consider others if planning to use a generator. Neither is this – it’s essential to leave no trace of your passing by.

AROUND THE CAMP - INSIDE

There aren’t too many hazards inside a motorhome but taking care is always essential. One of the silent killers is damaged power cord so, like the external one, inspect them from time to time. We know that most of our readers aren’t quite as steady on their legs as they used to be, so make sure that there are no trip hazards lying about.

Fire prevention is a hugely important consideration. Ensure your fire extinguisher is functioning – does it need to be inspected? – and close to hand, should it be needed. When cooking on a gas cooktop make sure that anything flammable, such as a hanging tea towel is not too close. Naturally, we assume that everyone knows where their First Aid kit is kept and they understand a few basics. We also know that we all like to feel secure, especially at night but ensuring that you can get out quickly and not be locked in is certainly a good idea.

Our suggestions here are certainly not an exhaustive list and that staying safe is often just a matter of common sense, so please make sure you use yours.

Tags: Safety Safe RV Motorhome Campervan Caravan Road Camp Campfire Power Battery Gas Bottles Alcohol Engine
Category: Features
Written: Sat 01 Mar 2014
Printed: March, 2014
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