Taking a few common sense precautions, and putting in place a few “just in case” measures, can go a long way to maintaining your peace of mind, and keeping you safe while RVing.
Trust Your Instincts: The most important safety tool you have, are your eyes, ears and common sense. Always be aware of your surroundings, trust your instincts and intuition; while you may believe that most people are good, that does not mean you shouldn’t take precautions. If you see an area frequented by people who look “off” or suspicious in some way, simply don’t park there.
Type of RV: As a solo RVer, one safety factor you might consider in selecting your type of RV is total self containment. While you may like the spacious floor plans of some trailers and 5th wheels, or even a truck camper, you may want to be able to get out of bed, and get into the driver’s seat, without having to go outside, if you needed to leave an area. Many single women choose Class B or C motorhomes for this reason.
Dogs: Dogs not only provide companionship, they also provide protection. A good guard dog can be invaluable. While small dogs are cute, and fit neatly inside an RV, you might consider a larger dog, one with a deep, hearty bark, and a good set of teeth. *A safety tip, walk the dog for the last time at night, before it gets dark, or too late at night.
Emergency Exit Plan: When parked overnight outside of a campground, pull the curtains and window shades, so that it’s not obvious that you’re alone. Also, plan an exit route, by pointing the RV in a direction that it is easy to drive out of if you need to leave in a hurry.
Weapons: Bear spray is a popular self defense tool among RVers; it has a longer reach than pepper spray, so you don’t need to be close to spray a problematic person. It is also smart to bring bear spray when in bear territory. Be aware of the wind direction, if it’s blowing toward you, you may also be hit by the spray..
An air horn can also be an effective self defense tool, to scare away bears and other animals, as well as troublesome people. A walking stick can also be an effective self defense tool on the trail.
Firearms are a personal choice, and it depends on your skill and comfort level. Also, gun laws vary by state, so be sure to check prior to crossing state lines with your firearms. Click here for the different state gun laws, and click here for CCW reciprocity.
Emergency Satellite Devices: This is a emergency satellite device and subscription service that can be used to update your location when you are out of cell service range, and to send a signal when you need emergency services, when you are out of cell range.
Smartphones: Keep your phone with you at all times. Keep your voice activation on, so you can say something like, “Siri call 911.” Make mental notes of your location as you travel, such as keeping an eye on the mile markers, so you can figure it out where you are during an emergency.
Be Prepared: Keep your RV well maintained, and serviced regularly. Have spare parts and know how to change a tire. Keep emergency numbers handy, programmed into your phone. If you do not have a tow vehicle, consider a bike as a back-up, to transport you to a safer location, or someplace where you can get cell service or help.
First Aid Kit: Have an emergency first aid kit so you’re prepared for cuts, insect bites, sprains, poison ivy, etc. Also keep a miniature first aid kit in your backpack for when you’re hiking.
Emergency Support Services: If you are a solo RVer, it’s worth it to pay for enhanced travel services. Good Sam provides an enhanced emergency roadside service with extra features, such as if you are sick, someone will drive your RV home, or provide pet care, if I you are unable to be in your RV.
Safety In Numbers: When you are overnighting at any non-campground location, like a Walmart, park with other RVers. Also, you can send a quick text message to let friends or family know where you are, and when you arrive and leave from a place. There are also travel groups you can join, and you can caravan with other RVers you trust.