No matter how energized or wide-awake you feel, stop at a rest area every couple of hours to take-a-break (PC = reset) from driving. Don’t think of the rest area as just a comfort station, think of it as a POI. Weather permitting, having a picnic type lunch outside of your RV is a pleasant experience. You will be surprised of what you may discover and learn if you get out of the confines of the RV. We stopped at a POI [Rest Area] yesterday and discovered a well-kept, with signage, nature trail through a swamp area. I recall stopping at POI’s [Rest Areas] throughout the country and learning quite a bit about the local culture, history, wildlife, historic sites, etc. The Welcome Centers located near the state lines are a great place to stop and wander around.
I don’t believe I need to tell you to keep your personal safety radar working. You don’t need to become frightened or paranoid with so many strangers wandering around the area, but you need to be careful and watch out for possible dangerous situations.
Stopping for a few minutes also gives you the opportunity for a quick safety check of the tires and wheel bearings on all the “rubber meets the road” objects [wheels]. Do a 360 degree walk-around your vehicle(s) doing a vertical and horizontal visual inspection of your vehicle(s). You may want to touch each tire and wheel hub with the back of your hand sensing for excessive heat. A hot tire could mean an inflation or other problems. A hot hub is a good warning about wheel bearing or dragging brake problem. Make touching the wheels/hubs a routine whenever you stop at places, such as, rest areas and gas stations. It’s better to address a problem at a safe location than wait for a disaster to happen out in the middle of nowhere.
At most rest areas, RV’s share the parking areas with the big trucks. Some of the truck drivers are very professional while others are not so professional. You should get along with them, and they should get along with you. I’m going to assume that you have noticed truckers driving thru a parking slot, stop, then back-up into the slot. Ever wonder why the trucker may be doing such a thing? After the trucker backs into the slot, the truck and trailer are aligned in a straight line, mostly in the center of the slot. The trucker is not in a contest to win a free cup of coffee, he/she is setting up a safety zone on both sides, front and back of their rig within the slot. What the trucker has done is made space available in his/her slot for another trucker or RV’er to use, if needed, when they turn to enter or egress from the adjacent slot. When turning, the rear wheels on a trailer track inside of the tow vehicle’s track. That’s the challenge for the trucker or an RV’er towing a trailer or another vehicle. They need to make the turn into and out of the slot without taking their neighbor’s rig with them.
RV’ers need to do the same thing – set up a safety zone within their parking slot. Unlike truckers, motorhomes towing a vehicle do not have the option of pulling up and backing up. Motorhomes must do it right the first time, there is no second chance. There is also another big difference with most RV’s – they have steps and slide outs that extend into or beyond the safety zone. We keep a 12” florescent safety cone by the RV door. Whenever we extend the steps or slide out in a rest area, we put the cone near the line separating the parking slots as a precautionary measure. Truckers will be grateful for every square inch in your safety zone you give them for turning.