8 Common RV Accident Types, And Tips on How to Avoid Them

With the increase in RV sales over the past few years, it’s no wonder the statistics for RV accidents increased by 5,000 during a nine-year period. The Federal Motor Carier Safety administration released a report that more than 70,000 people were in RV accidents during 2003. By 2012, the same company reported 75,000 injuries occurred due to RV accidents. As of this year, there are on average 26 deaths from RV-related accidents. This includes people in cars that were in an accident with an RV. 

Detailed in a report by Beebe and O’Neil, there are nearly 8.9 million RV owners. Toss in the enthusiasts, the ones who rent RVs, at an astounding 30 million. With this information, it is clear to see why accident stats are so high. Between the newbies, young drivers and those drivers who are too comfortable due to years of driving experience, there are plenty of accident stories in the news on a weekly basis. 

While there is reason to consider the negatives pertaining to RV usage, this article will highlight the common issues along with some tips to avoid potential accidents. Here are eight common RV accident types, along with some tips for avoidance. 

Trailer Sway

This occurrence is the number one cause of RV accidents. It has been reported that on average, there are 500,000 accidents due to trailer sway. Trailer sway happens when two trailers are driving side by side, as it creates a vacuum between the two. High winds also contribute to trailer sway. Winds can cause trailers to literally sway, blowing them into passing vehicles While accidents often occur because of the sway, it very seldom tips the trailer over.  

Unevenly loaded/ Overloaded Trailers

If you are involved in an accident while hauling an uneven or overloaded trailer, you will be deemed responsible, no matter who was at fault. Hauling a trailer that isn’t loaded correctly can cause serious accidents, that could be easily avoided. This is also a large reason for trailer sway, especially as you gain speed. Not only will an incorrectly loaded trailer cause difficulty in staying on the road, but the trailer can also start strongly whipping back and forth, undoubtedly leading to a collision with another RV or car. 

RV In Woods

Trailer sway causes the most amount of RV accidents.

High Winds/Gusts

Whether driving or parked, high winds can cause some serious damage to RVs. High winds can cause serious damage to RVs, whether they are parked or being driven. While a sturdy motorhome is less likely to suffer this sort of accident, today’s RVs are more lightweight manner as a cost-efficient method, allowing them to be easier targets. 

There are steps to take to protect your parked RV from wind damage. First, be sure to park in an open area. Avoid overhanging tree branches and face the front of the RV toward the direction of the wind. Another tip is to utilize the stabilizing jacks, as that will help secure the rig. 

While driving, slowing down will decrease the chance of damage, especially when sideway winds are in play. This sort of wind can be the most destructive. Driving at slower speeds will decrease the sidewind’s power. When winds are registering at a speed of 20mph or higher, detour on side streets to avoid the highways. It will be safer to drive at a lower speed on side streets, as there will likely be less traffic.

Extreme Tiredness

Pushing yourself for ‘one more mile’ is always a gamble to safety. Driving drowsy not only creates potential for falling asleep at the wheel, it also slows your reflexes and reaction times. 

It might surprise you to learn that a 2016 study by American Automobile Association (AAA) resulted in the finding that drowsy drivers were more dangerous than drunk drivers. Let that sink in. Driving while tired is a bigger hazard than a drunk driver behind the wheel. Sleepiness is not a good condition to be in while trying to reach the destination. 

It is recommended that you stop every 3 or 4 hours and take a quick 20- or 30-minute nap each break. Take a short, brisk walk after the nap to ensure you are fully awake before getting back behind the wheel. Grabbing a snack or energy drink can also help ensure you are fully energized for another leg of the trip. 

If you find yourself a distance from the intended RV Park, there’s no shame in stopping at a rest stop. As a courtesy, give the RV resort a call to let them know of your delayed arrival. They will usually be fine with the late check-in and be hospitable with the response to your request. 

RV Accident

Drivers of all types cause RV accidents.


Age and experience, or lack thereof, are reasons for accidents. While older adults are oftentimes the target of blame, the age limit shows little limits these days. 

RV drivers used to be considered mainly seniors, and it might surprise you to learn that age group only represents 10 percent of RV drivers. Millennials have taken the lead with 38 percent. There has also been an increase in 21-to 35-year-old RV drivers as well.  Younger people just buying an RV for the first time will be quite inexperienced, which is a main reason for accidents. Whether they overcorrect, drive too fast or take a turn too sharp, an inexperienced driver is more likely to be involved in, or to cause an accident.

On the flip side, seniors have the wrap of driving too slow. Impeding can cause just as many accidents, and the more experienced drivers tend to become more comfortable with the task of driving, also setting them up for accidents. 

Rear-end Collisions

Aggressive drivers will hover to a bumper no matter the size of the vehicle. The fact that aggressive drivers don’t care that you are driving a large vehicle can be shown by the number of rear-end collisions caused by being followed too closely. While you can’t make them back off, you can allow more space between you and the vehicle directly in front of you. Allowing 10 seconds to slow down in the event of a quick brake needed is recommended  for a safe stop/slow down.  

Tire Blowouts

This sort of accident is pretty common with RVers, more so than with most other vehicle types. While you can’t always prevent a blowout, there are preventive measures that will decrease the chances of a potential hazard. Checking the tire pressure on a regular basis, replacing tires every 3 to 6 years, or as soon as the tread begins to bald, and rotating tires every 7,000 miles are a few steps that will help prevent a blowout. 


While this blends easily into the age/experience category of accident causes, speed plays a huge part in recorded accidents. Speeders can be 18 or 81, no matter the age, the damage is the same for the RVs in accidents due to speeding. With a greater vehicle like an RV comes greater responsibility, including driving within the posted speed limits. Speeding in an RV can decrease control, allow greater trailer sway and more damage sustained due to an event such as a blowout. 

While some accidents are simply unavoidable, there are steps to take to prevent destruction and despair. Rotating tires and replacing old ones, having a properly-balance trailer and ensuring your speed matches the weather are a few preventive measures to help ensure a safe trip. 

Additionally, knowing how to react to high winds, trailer sways or tiredness can also help stop an accident before it happens. Be cautious, fully alert, and most importantly, enjoy the drive!

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About Debra Pamplin

Since 2007, Debra Pamplin has worn her freelancing hat proudly. Though she has written about music and RV topics over the years, travel writing has always been her priority. Since the beginning of her career, she has had many articles published on a variety of topics. Websites such as USA Today Travel, Coldwell Banker and NerdWallet.com have published her stories. Her byline has appeared in numerous print publications and popular websites over the years. https://www.clippings.me/debrapamplin

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