Your trusty motorhome is parked up, dinner is on its way and the sun is going down. Sounds like bliss! What could possibly interrupt a peaceful evening together enjoying this stunning location? Unfortunately, quite a bit.
While you’ll have motorhome insurance to protect your treasured vehicle, it always makes sense to keep an eye out for danger before it hits.
We’ve rounded up a list of the 20 most common campsite dangers everyone should know.
Fires and barbeques
One of the most common dangers found on campsites has to be fire.
Having a fire or barbeque away from your vehicle or sleeping areas is vitally important to prevent it spreading if it gets out of control.
Never leave a fire or barbeque unattended and always let hot ashes cool down before disposal.
On arrival, always check where the nearest fire point is and make a note of any assembly points or evacuation notices.
It’s a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher, fire blanket and smoke alarm in your motorhome kit.
But make sure you’re familiar with their use, as time spent reading instructions can waste valuable moments in an emergency.
Check and service them regularly so you're always ready to jump into action.
Check out the ROSPA website for further information on fire safety and many other safety tips for campers.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) kills. Known as the silent killer CO is a colourless, odourless, highly poisonous gas that has killed many people over the years.
CO poisoning can be caused by any fuel that burns or smoulders. So, make sure any exhaust from generators is properly vented away from occupied areas.
Barbeques can be particularly hazardous as they continue to give off CO for 12 hours after they’ve been used.
No matter how cold the weather, keep barbeques out of caravans, motorhomes, awnings and tents.
CO gas can build up quickly and at high levels it can cause collapse, unconsciousness and even death. It’s a good idea to install an audible CO alarm inside your motorhome.
Symptoms of CO poisoning can include:
- Chest pains
If you suspect CO poisoning, get into fresh air and seek medical help immediately.
A sharp knife is an indispensable implement for any camper but it’s all too easy to have a nasty accident if you’re not careful.
While this one may seem obvious, never use a knife as a makeshift hammer, screwdriver, or some other tool needed in the moment.
For the sake of your knife (and your safety), please resist the temptation.
When you're not using your knife, keep it stored in a safe, dry place. If you’ve got children, store your knives out of their reach.
Camp sites can be busy places and for everyone's sake, keep your speed down to a fast walking pace.
People are on holiday and may not always be careful when crossing site roads, be sure to watch out – especially when near play areas and when reversing.
Remember many campsites employ one-way systems to manage traffic and keep everyone safe.
Finally, when you've parked your motorhome double check the handbrake is securely applied, particularly on a slope.
Site roads and tracks can often be uneven so take care, especially if the weather is bad or the light is low. Speed humps are common on many site roads, so look out when walking.
As a motorhome owner you may not need guy-lines or tent pegs but other campers do.
If you don’t keep watch you could have a nasty tumble and as for tent pegs sticking out of the ground – stepping on one can cause a severe injury.
Road lighting, where it's installed on sites, is generally low-level subdued lighting and spaced to meet local authority restrictions, reduce the impact on the environment and the effects of light pollution.
Therefore, always take a torch with you if you leave your motorhome after dark.
Not only will it help you avoid hazards but will stop you taking a wrong turning and getting lost (yet another hazard of camping on unfamiliar sites)!
Some of the best sites are open all year round and can be situated in exposed areas.
In winter conditions while some high-risk areas such as pathways, reception areas, toilet and shower blocks, service points and barriers might be treated, it’s not safe to assume so.
There have been cases where caravans and motorhomes have been washed away in floods so keep an eye on weather reports.
In hot weather it’s all too easy for dehydration to sneak up on you, especially if you’ve been out walking or cycling.
If anyone in your group is complaining of headaches or muscle cramps, have them rest and drink lots of water.
Heat exhaustion and the more deadly heat stroke can result from dehydration and must be treated immediately. Watch out for the following signs:
- High body temperature
- Altered mental state or behaviour
- Alteration in sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dark urine
- Flushed skin
- Rapid breathing
- Racing heart rate
Shower and toilet blocks can become extremely slippery, so take care. Wearing flip-flops in these areas can also cut the risk of picking up such horrors as athlete’s foot or a verruca.
In addition, take care when using showers and taps as sites often have very hot water in order to control the Legionella bacteria.
While parents or guardians are responsible for the safety of their children it’s also important for other adults to be aware there might be children running around.
If you’re accompanied by children remember that play areas are never entirely risk free.
Age restrictions will be indicated on the equipment and should be adhered to. You don’t want to cut short your holiday with a trip to hospital!
Bikes, scooters and skateboards
Many campsites allow bikes, scooters and skateboards, but try to keep your speed down to walking pace while on the site and be aware of uneven surfaces.
Rodents and other wildlife
Enjoying wildlife in their natural surroundings is one of the highlights of travelling around in your motorhome, but always be aware of your surroundings.
Molehills and rabbit holes, tree roots and uneven ground are likely to be present so always wear appropriate footwear.
Rodents can also be a pest around camping grounds so protect your supplies by keeping food well sealed and dispose of leftovers in the correct place rather than just leaving it outside your motorhome.
Always check around for evidence of nests or burrows before settling down for the night.
In the UK you’re far more likely to be injured by a domesticated animal than one from the wild.
On sites located on or near to farms, take care if there are animals around.
While they may look docile, they can be unpredictable, so be aware when walking through fields with cattle and supervise children at all times.
Electrical hook-up posts often serve several pitches at once so try to make sure your cable is placed as close to the edge of the pitch as possible.
Keep any excess cable pushed under your motorhome so loose cable doesn’t become a trip hazard.
Don't coil your excess cable as it can overheat and catch fire. Make sure your plug, cable and sockets are in good order before you set out on the road.
Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) and cooking stoves
Most motorhomes have LPG systems fitted as standard. As a matter of course you should have your gas system checked by a registered professional every year.
Cylinders should be stored upright in the locker provided by the motorhome manufacturer.
If you’re moving cylinders around make sure to lift carefully to avoid injury to your back.
If using external LPG cylinders ensure the cylinders are secure, to prevent them from being knocked over.
Non-domestic waste such as broken glass or batteries can cause a hazard if disposed of incorrectly by other site users. Contact the site owner if you encounter such materials.
Many popular sites are beautifully situated close to lakes, rivers or streams.
However, while these are inviting you must take extra care, notably if you have children with you.
Young children in particular are vulnerable as they can drown in less than 5cm of water. The same goes for swimming pools or hot tubs on site.
Always follow instructions before use and be aware that some campsites may not have a lifeguard on duty at all times.
But it’s not just water outside your motorhome that can cause issues. If you’re filling up your water tank on site, choose a food-grade hose rather than a garden hose.
If you’re filling up your tank with a portable jerry can, it might make sense to take a trolley with you to save lifting it and potentially injuring your back.
Bites, stings and rashes
Bites, stings and rashes are just part and parcel of being in the great outdoors but you need to treat them accordingly.
Mosquitoes and other blood sucking insects love warm damp places such as woodland and standing water.
You'll be safest in light coloured, long-sleeved clothing, but keep everyone in your camp covered with bug spray just in case.
Unless you're allergic, most insect bites and stings that you'll get in the UK won't kill you (but they will hurt).
To avoid unpleasant critters, keep away from visible nests and try to avoid lotions and perfumes with strong scents.
Keep skin covered whenever possible, and do a tick check on ankles and arms before settling down for the night.
Watch out for poisonous flora, too. Wolfsbane, Deadly Nightshade and Hemlock are just three of the common poisonous plants that can be found in the UK.
Even if you've successfully trained your children and grandchildren to wash their hands before eating at home, they still might take the great outdoors as an excuse to skip the soap for a change.
To avoid stomach upsets, pack plenty of soap or hand sanitiser and make sure everyone is using it correctly.
We may be only a small island but it’s always possible to get lost in even the most idyllic of surroundings.
To keep your name off the missing persons list, it's vital everyone knows not to wander off alone (no matter how old they are).
Keep an eye on landmarks, trails, and markers, and never leave camp without a map and a mobile phone.
Wherever you’re camping in the UK you are still relatively close to civilization and medical care, but it’s always good to be prepared for even minor emergencies.
So keep the following close at hand:
- Assorted waterproof plasters
- Rehydration sachets - to help you recover from food poisoning
- Paracetamol tablets
- Imodium tablets
- Alcohol wipes
- Surgical tape
- Insect repellent
- After bite cream
- Antihistamine cream
- Antiseptic cream
- Muscle rub
- Personal vitamins and medicine
It’s also useful to make a large and small kit for both your everyday bag and your motorhome.
While it may not count as a campsite danger don’t let your trip be ruined by a breakdown far from home.
As well as making sure your motorhome insurance is up to date, check that everything’s in tip-top condition before you set off.
Here are some examples of damage or poor maintenance that could lead to a breakdown:
- Tyre damage
- Engine wear and tear
- Bodywork problems
- Battery issues
- Electrical faults
- Water damage
Motorhome insurance with Motorhome Protect
Your motorhome offers you protection from many common perils of life on the open road but risks can never be completely excluded.
Whatever the dangers, the experienced team at Motorhome Protect will do their best to protect you and your van.
Motorhome insurance through us can come with a number of benefits including:
- Unlimited cover across all countries that are part of the EU
- Cover for camping personal effects up to £3,000
- Cover for motorhomes with a value of up to £150,000
- Unlimited mileage cover
Protect your home on wheels and get a quick quote for motorhome insurance today.