Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Beware RV bumper clutter

In my RV travels I have seen all kinds of "bumper junk" attached to both the front and rear of RVs. It's understandable that RVers want to take along things that make RVing more fun. Many RVs don't have the extra storage capacity required to stow things like ladders, BBQs and bikes. The only places left for excess baggage are the roof, ladder and bumpers.

RVers need to be very careful how they store this stuff because frequently "bumper junk" blocks the signal lights. Besides being against the law, it is a major safety hazard. The biggest culprits in this regard are ladders. I see ladders strapped on the back of one out of three RVs on the road. I wonder what non-RVers think when they see a ladder strapped to another ladder on the back of an RV?

RVers love to use ladders to reach the tops of their rigs for washing and polishing. Here is an example of a 5th wheel with a ladder covering the driver side brake and turn signal.
This can be dangerous when you are merging into traffic.
Sometimes we RVers forget how long our rigs are while traveling down the road.
If the person passing us on our driver side doesn't see the signal, it could easily result in an accident. Always check and double check your mirrors to make sure you are clear to merge or change lanes.

If you are going to hang a ladder off the back of your RV be sure the tail lights are clearly visible.
I use a fold up ladder that is tall enough to wash the rig but can be neatly stowed away.
I don't particularly like these ladders because they aren't as stable as a standard ladder and the rungs are skinny and make you feet hurt when you've been standing on them for a while. This type of ladder, however, does not interfere with the tail lights and I don't use it often enough to warrant hanging a standard ladder on the back.

Bicycles can also block your tail lights. Whether you mount them on a ladder or on the back of a towed vehicle, be sure they don't obstruct your signal lights. Sending a clear signal that safety comes first - Jim Twamley, Professor of RVing


Jeepsrule said...

Good article Jim! This was one of the reasons that I use magnetic lights on top of my toad. I have a covered bike carrier that partially blocks the toads lights and I want everyone to be able to see what I'm signaling.

Anonymous said...

And this article is followed by an ad for a receiver bike carrier.

Anonymous said...

Why don't RV manufacturers provide a storage area for a ladder and provide the ladder as an optional purchase? And more importantly why don't manufacturers provide a small unlockable cabinet on each side of their RVs for a practical sized fire extiguisher. something bigger than the one provided inside the door.

Bill the Web Guy said...

We replace our Fire extingusher with a larger one just inside the door and then smaller ones in the cab and in the bedroom. If you think about a fire being in the main part of the RV and you are in the rear in bed you could have a problem. We have a knock out window back there but you can put out a small fire if you get to it quickly and maybe give yourself an exit to the bigger extingusher.

alearning said...

Not only is stuff like this dangerous because it blocks signals, but if the load isn't solidly secured, all that stuff becomes road shrapnel! Ikes!

We opted for a telescoping ladder (one example here: http://www.inspectortools.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=CO300&gclid=CISrn7nujbQCFSTZQgodUG8AvA) -- a bit pricey but well worth the saved space and safety.

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