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A recent survey conducted by GMAC Insurance revealed that many of the 7.2 million RVers on the road today aren’t comfortable behind the wheel or aren’t familiar with many of the basic road rules associated with driving large vehicles.
The survey of 2,500 Americans gauged RV owner fluency with vehicle operation, safety issues and driving acumen, including a series of questions derived from various states’ Department of Motor Vehicles drivers’ tests for standard and oversized vehicle tests.
“The survey shows that there are literally millions of RVers on the road that could stand to brush up on their fundamentals,” said Wade Bontrager, vice president of GMAC Insurance RV division. “We’re working to help arm RVers with pertinent safety information found in our “10 Essentials to Safe RVing,” and through grassroots safety rally programs to ensure smooth travels for RVers.”
GMAC reported that, on average, 33% of RVers failed to correctly answer questions derived from standard drivers’ tests. Nearly half (44%) answered a series of questions derived from the oversized-vehicle driver’s license test questions incorrectly.
Of particular note in the survery were the following:
* Safe passing: 35.3% incorrectly stated that when passing an oversized vehicle, “it is best to pass slowly on the left.” The correct answer is “it best to pass quickly on the left.”
* Tire safety: 10.9% incorrectly indicated one “should let air out of hot tires so the pressure goes back to normal.” According to GMAC Insurance, the most common RV insurance claims are attributed to tire-related accidents.
* Cornering: 36% surveyed indicated they were not very comfortable turning corners because of added height and length.
Some other areas that caused levels of discomfort with basic RV operations included:
* Backing up/parking: 27.5% are not comfortable with backing up or parking.
* Driving in crowded areas: 31% of those surveyed are uncomfortable driving in urban areas, yet 12%, the equivalent of 840,000 RVers say they plan to use their RVs to attend sporting events this year.
* Vehicle height: 24% revealed they are not comfortable negotiating low-hanging obstructions, a major cause of accidents.
* Propane safety: 64% of those surveyed are not “extremely” comfortable with propane-tank operation and care, one of the critical check points in RVing.
Some areas where RVers are comfortable and proficient at operating and driving RVs include highway driving, big-rig driving distance, and trip preparation.
The survey also probed participants about their RV plans in the next 12 months.
According to the GMAC Insurance, 23% of the RVers surveyed will increase travel this year and 53% will use their vehicles on weekend trips. National sites and sporting events were popular destinations.
Also, the key motivators to travel by RV were autonomy and the ability to “see the country.”