There’s no denying the freedom, adventure, and enjoyment that can be had from what many people have come to refer to as “the RV life.” While we never want to discourage people from getting out on the road and enjoying everything a great road trip has to offer, you should always take the proper steps to make sure you’re doing it safely. There are plenty of basic actions you can take to make sure every trip is a safe one.

Some of these tips are about the pre-trip rituals you should adopt, while other ones focus on the importance of driving safely. When it comes to safety it doesn’t matter whether you own your own RV or you’re taking advantage of RV rental, you still want to make sure you take care of your own safety before hitting the road!

Tip #1: Make sure you understand how your propane gas system works.

While propane is 100% safe when properly used and when the system it is attached to is well maintained, that second part is key. From making sure the lines are clean to checking the actual propane tanks and connections, you want to make sure every single part of the system is working the way it is supposed to. Always get the gas system checked by a professional before a long road trip to be on the safe side and use common sense: like not painting the tanks black (absorbing heat, not a good idea) and not firing up the stove while moving.

Tip #2: Go through a published safety check before any trip.

Trying to remember every little thing you need to check before heading out can be extremely difficult, if not impossible for some of us who tend to have wandering minds. However, there are many examples of long safety check lists for RV travel online. Printing one out for use makes it easy to go right down the checklist and make sure you’ve got everything covered.

Tip #3: Make sure fire extinguishers are in place.

Every modern RV is designed to have holders for at least one, if not two, fire extinguishers. These are a critical part of staying safe during any trip. Having these on hand is always a good idea, and can make a huge difference in an emergency situation.

Tip #4: Have a smoke alarm.

Noticing a fire is easy when you are awake. If somehow a fire starts when you’re asleep, that can be really bad news. An RV is a relatively small space, and a lot of smoke is its own serious danger. A smoke alarm can make sure no matter what stage the fire is in or what time of night it is, that you will get the alarm, wake up, and be able to take care of things before they get out of control.

Tip #5: Use the 20% rule while driving.

When it comes to a fully loaded RV you are dealing with a lot more weight. This means it takes a little bit longer to accelerate up to full speed, and it takes longer to slow down to a full stop. When in traffic make sure you give yourself about 20% more space and time to make sure you really do have enough space to stop.

Tip #6: Always check the wear on your tires.

This is a good safety tip for any vehicle, but for RVs it becomes all the more important. You don’t want a blowout on the Interstate or a back road, so make sure you are frequently checking the tread and overall health of your tires.

Tip #7: Drive consciously.

Finally, remember to simply drive consciously. RVs don’t handle the same way as other vehicles. You need to give yourself more space to make turns, and give yourself more room to brake. This is doubly true with steep hills. Be sure to take that extra time to check the mirrors, watch for potential dangers, and simply drive consciously when you are behind the wheel of an RV.

Follow these seven tips and you’ll have a happy and a safe trip!