An RV switcheroo is one of those things that many people can do, but it doesn’t mean you should. Some behaviors while behind the wheel can put you and others on the road in danger.
However, we’ve seen and heard about far too many Class A drivers performing this scary maneuver. If you value your safety, this is one risk you’ll want to avoid.
So what’s a switcheroo when driving a Class A RV, and why should you avoid it?
Let’s check it out!
What Does it Mean to do a Switcheroo While Driving an RV?
Spending hours on the open road can be exhausting for everyone, especially the driver. If you’re trying to cover a tremendous amount of miles in a day, you typically want to minimize your stops. Unfortunately, some people use the “switcheroo” instead of finding a safe place to pull over the RV.
This maneuver involves the driver swapping positions with a passenger while the vehicle is in motion. People will set the cruise control and move out of the seat while holding onto the steering wheel. Simultaneously, a passenger slides in and takes over control. While it may only take a second or two, it’s dangerous behavior.
Drivers try this maneuver when they need to use the restroom, or they’re exhausted from being behind the wheel. However, no matter the reason, we don’t encourage or condone it. We strive to be as safe as possible on our travels and encourage you to do the same.
The Dangers of the RV Switcheroo
If we’ve learned anything on the road, things can be incredibly unpredictable. Tires can blow in the blink of an eye, and conditions can change quickly. Even if the risks are low, if one of these incidents were to occur in the middle of an RV switcheroo seats while driving, it could lead to a serious, potentially even fatal, accident.
Beyond that, you can’t control what other drivers do. We’ve seen our fair share of people scrolling through social media while passing us at 80 miles per hour. If one of these irresponsible individuals drifts into your lane or makes a mistake while you’re switching seats, it’s not going to be a good situation.
Additionally, if law enforcement were to spot you doing the maneuver, they would likely want to chat with you. While laws regarding seat belts vary from state to state, just about everyone agrees that anyone sitting in the cab area must wear a seat belt while the vehicle is in motion. As a result, it will be impossible to perform an RV switcheroo without violating the law.
What to Avoid While Driving a Class A RV
Hopefully, you can see now why a switcheroo isn’t a good idea in your RV. However, it’s not the only thing you should avoid doing while driving a Class A motorhome. Here are several other actions to avoid.
#1 Using Your Cell Phone
Whether talking, texting, or changing music, using your phone on the road is incredibly dangerous. Research shows drivers using their devices are between two and six times more likely to get into an accident. Looking at your cell takes your eyes off the road and can mentally distract you from the task.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,000 people lost their lives in 2020 due to distracted driving. Seriously, it’s not something you should do. There’s no text message or email that can’t wait until you arrive at your final destination.
Using your phone while driving is a huge risk. There’s no way around it. As a result, 30 states prohibit using handheld devices behind the wheel. These are primary offenses, meaning an officer can issue you a citation without any other violations.
#2 Drinking Alcohol
There’s nothing wrong with having a drink or two occasionally. However, you should never have a drink or two when you plan to drive. Operating a vehicle under the influence is incredibly dangerous and lowers your risk assessment considerably. You may not think twice about something like an RV switcheroo while you’re intoxicated.
Even if you don’t have an accident, it can cost you a lot. The legal consequences of drinking and driving are severe.
Even the first offense for a DUI can cost more than $10,000. Additionally, you could lose your license and watch your insurance premium go through the roof. It’ll be embarrassing and frustrating, but you’ll also feel the pain monthly when you pay your insurance.
Sometimes an RVer could be in a tough situation, especially when boondocking. If you’re in an area that doesn’t allow camping and you’ve been drinking, you don’t want to be caught. Law enforcement could tow it if you cannot legally move your rig. We suggest only partaking in alcohol when you know you won’t have to drive your motorhome.
Speeding is incredibly dangerous, no matter what vehicle you drive. However, RVs are heavier vehicles, so they have an increased braking distance even when you’re doing the speed limit. The faster you’re traveling, the longer it will take you to come to a complete stop.
If you’re not careful, you may not have enough room to stop before slamming into an object in the road. It can be terrifying to watch as you’ve hit the brakes, and it isn’t enough. Do yourself a favor. Slow down, and give yourself as much time as possible to slow your RV safely.
#4 Eating Food
Whether it’s your cell phone or a ham and cheese sandwich, distracted driving is distracted driving. When piloting a massive Class A at 65 miles per hour, you need both hands on the wheel and your attention on the road.
If it’s time to eat, let someone else take over. No, we’re not talking about an RV switcheroo here. Find a rest area, truck stop, or scenic overlook to swap out. Or, everyone can grab a bite to eat. Not only does this help you stay safe, but it also allows you to take your time and enjoy your food.
Many RVers plan their breaks around when they’ll need fuel. This means you could fill up, grab a bite, and use the restroom all in one go.
#5 Driving Tired
Another thing you should avoid is driving a Class A RV when you’re tired. Traveling can be exhausting and takes its toll on everyone, especially those behind the wheel. You must plan your days to fit within your limits. You may be able to push more than 600 miles in a single day, but it’s not a good idea.
If you know you have a long travel day ahead of you, make sure you get a solid night’s sleep. Starting the day tired isn’t going to set you up for success. Find a safe place to park for the night or a few hours if you feel drowsy. It may mean getting a cup of coffee or taking a quick nap. It only takes dozing off for a few seconds to create a dangerous situation.
Few things are as dangerous in an RV as the switcheroo. But tailgating is one of them. Remember, your camper is heavy. You need to keep as much space as possible between you and any vehicles in front of you. This may mean adjusting your speed when a car cuts you off in traffic. They may be able to come to a complete stop, but you won’t.
According to the NHTSA, approximately 2,000 deaths and 950,000 injuries result from rear-end collisions. A standard passenger vehicle, especially compacts, will stand very little chance against a massive Class A motorhome. So make sure you keep plenty of room between you and other cars, even if it means adjusting your speed.
#7 Using Headphones
Rules and regulations for wearing headphones while driving vary from state to state. They can distract you while you’re behind the wheel and make it hard to hear what’s happening around you. Whether it’s legal or not doesn’t change the fact that it’s dangerous no matter where you are.
If you want to be a safe driver, avoid wearing headphones. However, if you insist on wearing them, we recommend only wearing a single headphone. This lets you stay aware and hear emergency sirens or other noises while driving.
Is an RV Switcheroo Worth the Risk?
An RV switcheroo isn’t worth it. You can never be too safe when behind the wheel of a motorhome. No matter how much you’re in a rush, it’s not worth the risk of losing your life. We want you to stay safe so you can enjoy your travels for years to come!
Find a good place to pull over and switch drivers or get some rest. While it may not be convenient, and it may extend how long it takes to reach your final destination, at least you’ll arrive there in one piece.
Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA
To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).
You should give it a try!
As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.
Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site!
We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:
You must be logged in to post a comment.