RV Accident - What to do Before You Have One
by Fran Crawford
To some it may seem pointless to make advance preparations for an accident in your motorhome, travel trailer, or fifth wheel or another vehicle. An accident you may never have. You have always been a careful driver and are even more cautious when driving your motorhome or pulling your towable trailer. Even if you never need the preparations or 'what-to-do' information it is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not be prepared.
Travel trailers, fifth wheels, and motorhomes are 'special' vehicles, and therefore seem to be more newsworthy than regular, family or business automobiles. Should a family vehicle have an accident it would normally not make national news, but RV accidents are often reported on national television news programs. So we know there are such things as RV accidents even though no one ever expects to be involved in one.
It's a good idea to insure your motorhome, travel trailer, or fifth wheel with a company that specializes in RV insurance. And you sould know what your RV insurance company advises as to handling an accident and what information they would like you to gather.
An accident, no matter how slight, can be upsetting and frustrating.
You could easily forget key information if you are not ready to jot it down. Keep a small writing pad and a pencil (or pen if you check it often and replace it if it dries out) in a zip type plastic bag in your glovebox. You might also put your vehicle registration and insurance information the bag as the zip would keep everything watertight. Make sure your insurance information contains your policy number and a number to call to report accidents.
Keep a list of people and companies you might need to call in an emergency should also be in the package. If you don't travel with your camera handy ...beside you or in your bag... you should put one of those disposable cameras in your 'be prepared' bag in your glove compartment. Pictures go a long way to showing facts that might be overlooked in the confusion of the moment.
What to do If you have an RVing Accedent.
Make a quick assessment of your people, your RV and tow/towed vehicle then contact the police. 911 on most cell phones will connect with first responders in the area of the closest cell tower. If possible check with those in all other involved vehicles to establish need for emergency equipment... ambulances, fire engines... to report to police when you contact them.
If you are not too shaken up or injured, gather information from the other driver(s)... Name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver & vehicle license numbers and jot down anything else you might think important about what has happened... that you could forget.
Do not admit liability or discuss the cause or fault with others involved. That is your insurance company's job. Call your insurance company right away or as soon as possible to report the accident and the information you have. If your RV is drivable the police will let you know when you may leave the scene.
To remain calm when your wonderful RV has been in an accident is a lot to ask, but remind yourself that it has already happened and despite frustration there are things that need to be done.
One more thing. First responders... firefighters, EMTs, police... suggested a good idea that would help them immensely in emergencies. If you take your cell phone and put in the numbers of people to call In Case of Emergency and then put ICE where you would put the name, they can easily look up who to call for you. ICE stands for In Case of Emergency. I have my cell phone ICEd.