The Worst Situations RVers Have Driven Their Rigs Into

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An RV towing a jeep on a busy road.

While RVing provides plenty of epic sunsets and opportunities for adventure, it’s far from perfect. Even when you’re careful, you and your RV can find yourselves in a difficult spot.

We traveled full-time for several years and had plenty of hairy situations. Some were our fault, and others, we couldn’t do much to prevent them.

Today, we’re sharing some of the worst situations RVers have driven their rigs into. Buckle up; it’s about to get bumpy!

RVer Polls Community for Mistakes

We recently saw a post online where an RVer asked, “What’s the worst situation you’ve accidentally driven your RV into?” There were almost 100 comments on the post from travelers sharing the situations they encountered on the road.

Driving an RV is challenging, and even when you do plan, things can go wrong. We like posts like these because they reveal the side of RVing that people don’t often talk about. If anything, we hope it helps you see that you’re not alone when things don’t go as planned.

Is Driving an RV Dangerous?

Driving any vehicle on the road can be dangerous, but the danger can increase the larger the vehicle. Whether hauling a towable or behind the wheel of a driveable, it will require more room to stop. This can result in hitting objects, including other vehicles if you need to stop quickly.

However, there are things you can do to minimize those dangers. We use checklists to help ensure we complete all steps for setting up and taking down camp. Getting in a hurry and missing a step can have disastrous consequences.

Additionally, you must maintain and stay up on the maintenance for your rig. Using a TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) can help you keep an eye on your tires while on the road. It’s also vital that you inspect them before every trip. Walk around to ensure you don’t forget to do something or leave something behind.

When you take the proper precautions, you can minimize many of the dangers. Unfortunately, you can’t eliminate everything. Driving any vehicle on the road can be dangerous. Being a safe and responsible driver means doing all you can when behind the wheel to maximize safety.

How Can You Avoid Making Mistakes While Driving an RV?

As we mentioned, you can avoid making mistakes while driving an RV by taking your time. Too many RVers get in a hurry and make simple mistakes that can have significant consequences. If you feel rushed or in a hurry, take a break. We’ve heard of people getting seriously injured because they were rushing.

You can also avoid making mistakes by keeping your confidence in check. You should always maintain a healthy dose of humility while RVing. Too much trust in your skills or abilities can lead to bad decisions. You may push the limits and endanger yourself, others, or your RV.

The Worst Situation We Drove Our Rig Into

We’re not too proud to admit that we’ve driven our rig into terrible situations.

Our worst situation occurred while visiting Badlands National Park. We pulled into the popular boondocking spot, Nomad View, and discovered it was incredibly muddy. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before we, our truck, and our massive fifth wheel were stuck.

While this epic boondocking spot provides phenomenal views, it wasn’t an experience we want to relive anytime soon. We were fortunate, and a good samaritan came to our rescue. He used his tow straps to pull us out.

If you want to see what the experience was like, watch our video that details the encounter.

The Worst Situations RVers Have Driven Their Rigs Into

If you think our situation was bad, several users shared some pretty stressful situations. Let’s look at other dire situations that prove how unpredictable RVing can be.

Hit a Railroad Track 

One commenter shared that they hit some railroad tracks, which caused their RV to detach from their tow vehicle. Thankfully, they had their chains connected, and they worked as they should. However, they did state they put on quite a show for a group of locals sitting on a nearby bench.

If you can learn anything from this situation, it’s to make sure you use your safety chains correctly when towing a travel trailer. This situation could have turned out much differently had they not.

Stuck in Mud and Sand

There were multiple posts from others who experienced getting stuck like we did. Whether it was the mud or sand, getting stuck is no fun. Carrying the proper equipment can be extremely useful and help you avoid getting stuck. 

Driving a large, heavy RV onto a soft surface won’t end well. When parking on grass and other soft surfaces, consider the weather. If it has rained recently or it will rain during your stay, you could get stuck. Learn from our experience and save yourself the hassle by doing all you can to avoid getting stuck in mud or sand.

Pro Tip: If you’re new to driving an RV, check out our newbies driving guide !

City Traffic

Nobody likes experiencing rush hour traffic in a standard vehicle, let alone with an RV.

Multiple RVers shared that they experienced major cities like Dallas, Atlanta, and Nashville during some of the worst times. Trying to navigate stop-and-go traffic or changing lanes with an RV is a challenging experience.

To avoid this situation, be wise about planning your route. If your plans take you through a major city, consider going through it at night or early in the morning. It may be best to find a spot to stay just before the city. You can then wake up the following day before the chaos so you can drive through without the stress of rush hour.

View of city traffic during rush hour.

Smashed Awning on Tree

One commenter said they were trying to avoid a pothole during their maiden voyage and got too close to a tree. Unfortunately, their side awning came in contact with the tree and did considerable damage. To this day, they still have a messed up awning.

This situation spotlights the importance of being aware of your surroundings. This is especially true when navigating and maneuvering in campgrounds. If you’re not careful, trees, power poles, and other vehicles can appear out of nowhere.

Take your time and use a spotter when necessary. It’s better to be safe than sorry in these situations.

Hitting Road Objects

Several individuals shared how they hit objects on the road. Unfortunately, changing lanes quickly can be hazardous in a large vehicle.

There may come a time when you have no choice but to grip the steering wheel and hit something. If you’re in this situation, hold on tight and try to keep the wheel as straight as possible.

You can minimize the chances of this situation by keeping your distance. The further you can see ahead of you, the more time you have to react to objects on the road.

In addition to keeping your distance, watch your speed. The faster you go, the more room you’ll need to stop.

Read More: These aren’t the only mistakes RVers make while driving! Read about these RV mistakes we made so you don’t have to.

An RV on the side of the road after an accident.

Entering Gas Station

Whether driving a gas or diesel, you’ll eventually pull into a gas station. Unfortunately, not every gas station can handle RVs. Some stations have low-clearance awnings over their gas pumps. If you’re in a fifth-wheel or motorhome, you could be well over 13 feet tall and do severe damage.

Additionally, some gas stations have steep inclines you’ll need to navigate when getting in or out. Depending on your setup, these could cause clearance issues between your tow vehicle and your rig. Have a co-pilot use the street view on Google Maps to avoid these situations.

You can use truck lanes at truck stops while towing if you have a diesel vehicle. These lanes are fantastic since they’re for big rigs. They’re easy to get in and out quickly to get back on the road. You won’t have to worry about clearance issues as your RV likely isn’t as large as a semi.

Not Using RV GPS

You don’t have to RV long before you realize you need to use an RV GPS. Several commenters shared that they learned this lesson the hard way.

You can’t simply punch in an address on Google Maps and expect it to be safe. A standard GPS doesn’t factor in low clearances, weight limits, or any other restrictions for large vehicles.

You don’t have to purchase an entirely separate device. We enjoy using RV Life Trip Wizard to plan our routes and for turn-by-turn directions. If you want to drive confidently and not worry about whether a course is safe, you should consider this very cost-effective option.

A GPS system inside an RV.

Learn from the Mistakes of Other RVers

One of the best ways to learn is from the mistakes of others. This way, you can learn a lesson without having to experience the stress or financial impact of the error.

The key to longevity in RVing is to minimize the number of mistakes you make. So learn these lessons from us and other RVers and avoid making them yourself.

What is the worst situation you’ve experienced in your RV?

  1. I don’t have an RV. When I go camping I stay in a cabin or cottage. But I did drive a school bus for many years. You need to use your side mirrors to see how much room you have on each side. The buses are big. You have other people’s children on board. Sometimes being loud where it’s harder to concentrate on your driving. A smaller, special ed bus is more easy to navigate but a bigger bus is horrible trying to back up and get turned around.

  2. I had done this several times before with no problems!! Well, this time not so lucky. Our range has a folding glass cover. I was fixing a small skillet of eggs, so I only folded the top half way…turned the stove, turned my back and BAM!!! The glass cover exploded!! Should ALWAYS read the instructions! Open the COVER COMPLETELY before cooking! We are still finding slivers of glass!!!!

  3. I drive an 18 foot skoolie…Way outside,Parker,AZ…We went explore a boondocks site…got off a bit…BOOM dirt suddenly turned into baby powder sand…then that scarey feeling….Sink,Sink,Sink….tried everything…NO GO…told my companion….walk up to main road…Flag down ,Everyone…two,jeeps came down…Nomads of course…they both had wenches, YESH…hooked us up…pulled us right out….Best part…one was well known..Utuber…Wandering Gupsy(what are the odds…) she travels FT with her fabulous white and black accents Jeep,…that’s how we met.

  4. We arrived at a state park, to lay over for a couple of days. The gps took us to a road with a big sign that said Oak Mountain State park. After driving for over six hours I was glad to see this sign. We drove up a very steep and narrow road for about a mile only to find the gate locked. Luckily have a camera on the back of my rig, my wife got behind me on her cell phone and backed me all the way down the mountain. I finally got through to the office and was guided to the correct entrance. After a very stressful entrance we did enjoy our stay!

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