Whatever time of year you’re hitting the open road in your motorhome there are endless things you can find to do. But before you get too eager and start loading up, there are a few matters you really need to know about.
The team at Motorhome Protect have put together this article as a quick guide to the things NOT to do in your motorhome. Just a few pointers that could help you avoid a disaster while out adventuring in the UK next season.
Whatever you do, though, make sure you’ve got motorhome insurance in place before you do it.
So, here are 20 things you definitely SHOULD NOT do:
Ignore pre-trip checks
It’s a statement of fact that some of us are more organised than others. And while not everything in your motorhome needs to be planned 100%,, there are some things even the most laid-back camper needs to do. Performing a final pre-trip check before turning the key in the ignition could save you a big headache or a big repair bill later on. Here’s a quick checklist of all the little things worth double checking:
- Step lifted
- Hook-up unplugged and secured
- Hatches and roof vents closed
- All doors, windows, lockers, and cupboards secured
- Drain valve closed
- Gas turned off and cylinder secure
- Stabilisers up
It will only take a few minutes to do, but it’s a really useful habit to get into.
Forget about motorhome maintenance
We recommend getting your vehicle and habitation area professionally serviced every year. And perhaps seen to more often if you’re heading out on a longer trip. But it’s still vital to stay on top of motorhome maintenance before problems develop. With such a large and powerful vehicle, it’s important to ensure your brakes and engine are working perfectly. But you should also check for:
- Damage to the exterior. In particular failing seals, bulges and signs of damp, rust or water ingress.
- Worn or old tyres. Check tyre tread and look for any unusual bumps, lumps, cracks or trapped debris. Also check tyre pressure and wheel nuts regularly.
- Defective lights. When driving such a large vehicle you need to make sure you can be seen at all times and in all weathers.
Perhaps invest in a book or manual to help you with quick fixes on the road. Badly maintained and underinsured vehicles can leave you and other road users at serious risk. It’s your responsibility to have adequate motorhome insurance for your vehicle before setting off. Some policies can also include breakdown cover, too.
Rush the packing stage
Even if you’ve got a large motorhome, packing those ‘extras’ can soon leave your home on wheels feeling cluttered. And what’s more you might even exceed the motorhome’s payload!
An overloaded or an unevenly loaded motorhome is a potentially dangerous motorhome. Even with perfect driving conditions, if you exceed a vehicle’s maximum payload handling and braking can be more difficult. And if an accident does happen, then it can be even more serious.
Only bring what you truly need and always opt for light, compact options such as microfibre towels or melamine cups and plates. And do you really need a full dinner party set of cutlery?
While we’re on the subject of packing properly. Make sure absolutely everything is put away securely before you begin driving. Place loose items in locked cupboards, strap down appliances and make sure nothing can move around. After all, those country roads can get bumpy! Claims on motorhome insurance can be costly if objects are flying around the motorhome interior during the journey. They can also cause a dangerous distraction.
Turn a blind eye to the weather
For anyone who spends time outdoors, it’s probably a bit of an understatement to say our small island has changeable weather. So, whatever the time of year you’re travelling it’s always wise to look ahead for any poor weather.
High winds in particular can make driving a high-sided vehicle like a motorhome more hazardous. Keeping a watchful eye on the weather reports will give you time to change your plans if necessary. If in any doubt, stop and take a break. No trip is worth putting you or your motorhome at risk.
Make up your own speed limits
As the adverts repeatedly warn us, speed kills. And no matter how desperate you are to reach that perfect sunset spot, always stay on the right side of the law when it comes to speed limits. If you’re driving a motorhome over 3.05 tonnes the speed limits are less than for cars. On single carriageways it’s reduced to 50mph and on dual carriageways to 60mph. Remember a speed limit is not a target. If the road conditions require a slower speed, then do so!
Wander around inside your motorhome when it’s on the move
If people (or pets) are not secured when travelling then an accident is far more likely to result in injury or even death. When you’ve got all your home comforts so close by it can be tempting to walk around in your motorhome while it’s moving. Try to resist the temptation or you could be at serious risk of injury.
When travelling with our four-legged friends The Highway Code states they must be ‘suitably restrained’ so they won’t distract you while driving or cause injury if you stop suddenly.
Perhaps invest in a crate, carrier or travel harness to keep your pet safe and well during transport. Make sure it’s something suitable and comfortable for your pet, and it’s properly installed in the vehicle.
If you need further information then read our Motorhome Protect guide to seatbelts in motorhomes.
Leave the spare parts and tools at home
Being self-sufficient is a big part of the motorhome lifestyle. And no matter how up to date your motorhome is, sometimes things can go wrong when you’re out on an adventure. When this happens there are few better feelings than fixing the problem yourself without the need to call on others for help.
To be able to do that, though, you’ll need the right toolkit with the right tools. If you’re wondering what tools to carry in a motorhome then we’ve got plenty of advice for you. From spanners and socket sets to screwdrivers and pliers, you’ll feel like the king of the campground if you can come to the rescue in a jam!
Remember that as well as tools you’ll also need a supply of some basic spares. Such items include:
- Spare fuses
- Spare bulb kit
- Wiper blades
- Electrical tape
- Cable ties
- Spare bolts and washers
- Spare jubilee clips / hose clips
Forget to check the height of your motorhome
We’ve all seen or heard it happen. Someone who isn’t used to the size of their motorhome drives into a car park with height restrictions. Much embarrassment, swearing and potential damage to their motorhome roof ensues! It’s also important to know the length and width of your motorhome as some campsites might also have size restrictions.
Driving such a large vehicle can be nerve-wracking even for experienced motorists. If you need some extra guidance then perhaps consider a motorhome manoeuvring course run by one of the big motorhome clubs.
Park up without getting permission
Parking your motorhome for free in the UK is the dream of many camping enthusiasts looking for the freedom of the open road. From our wonderful coastline to the beautiful parks and woodland dotted all over the country, there are plenty of opportunities for free overnight stays - provided you’re responsible and get permission.
Park in a spot that you can’t get out of!
Another common mistake when you’re in a hurry and desperate to park up for the night. You see what looks like a decent but tight spot so you pull in and begin to relax. Unfortunately, when it comes time to leave in the morning you realise a problem. How are you going to get out again? Manoeuvring out of tricky spots is not something we usually associate with motorhomes.
To avoid a stressful start to your day, always look to park somewhere open and avoid parking near low items such as rubbish bins or picnic tables. You might hit them when backing out.
Leave your motorhome unlocked
Even in lonely, faraway places theft from motorhomes can be a problem. Whether you’re just heading off for a quick stroll to the beach or a day-long hike, it’s always best to lock your motorhome and keep valuables out of sight. Motorhome insurance from Motorhome Protect can provide cover for camping personal effects up to £3,500.
Set up your awning in high winds
Having an awning in your motorhome is a great asset, particularly when you need some extra space for guests. However, if high winds are expected then you really need to take steps to secure it with storm straps. Or even take it down. If you don’t, you could end up facing a potentially costly repair bill.
Forget to check the accessibility of your campsite
Campsites can be found all over the UK offering a stunning array of facilities in beautiful locations. However, some can have particular accessibility issues that a motorhome owner needs to be aware of. Whether narrow, gravel roads or steep slopes, you’ll want to make sure your motorhome is capable of getting there before you make a booking.
Leave without making a plan
You’ll never regret planning ahead and preparing for any eventuality. Scrambling around in the dark at the end of a long day is not likely to lead to a stress-free trip.
The Gap Decaders have some top tips for things definitely NOT to do in your motorhome. Many of which involve being well-prepared. From never forgetting to pack the gin to avoiding parking under trees when there’s a lot of bird poo on the ground, they’ve clearly learned from hard-earned experience!
Park anywhere you like
Simply pulling over at the side of the road when you feel like may sound like fun, but it can lead to big problems for all concerned. Whether you’re just pulling over to check the map, or plan to stay for the night, you’ll need to find a safe space where you can properly pull off the road.
Pitch up without checking the ground first
Not parking on a slope overnight is something we all learn from bitter experience. It might seem fine at first, but trust us you won’t get a good night’s sleep.
Squeeze into tiny spaces
Don’t be that person. The one who parks too close to other campers. People come for rest and relaxation, not to hear you brushing your teeth or anything else in your motorhome!
Leave the loo until it’s full!
Another one from the ever-helpful Gap Decaders. If you leave emptying until the red toilet light comes on, then you’re likely to get unmentionables on your shoes, no matter how careful you are. Eww!
Leave a mess
Whether wild camping or at a luxury holiday park, leaving a mess is a big no-no. Food scraps, litter, or even human waste, will not only ruin things for others but it makes it more likely you won’t be able to park there again.
Forget to protect your home on wheels
Having specialist motorhome insurance in place gives you that extra level of protection when you need it most. Whether it’s fire, theft or an accident, motorhome insurance can help you with the cost of repairs or getting back on the road.
Using our panel of insurers, the helpful team at Motorhome Protect will search out an insurance policy that’s tailored to you and your home on wheels.
Cover can include benefits such as:
- Unlimited cover across all the countries that are part of the European Union
- Cover for vehicles valued up to £120,000
- Unlimited mileage cover
- Up to 6 months to complete a self-restoration
Call us for a quick quote for motorhome insurance today.
Policy benefits and features offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.