RV accidents pose significant risks to travelers, and being aware of the most common scenarios is key to preventing mishaps. From tire blowouts to collisions with low-clearance structures, understanding these potential hazards can help ensure a safe journey for all adventurers. Learn about the top RV accidents and how to avoid them with our expert guide. Stay informed, stay safe, and enjoy worry-free RV adventures!

Here are the top most common RV accidents.

  1. Tire Blowouts
  2. Refrigerator fires and propane leaks
  3. Running into low clearance structures
  4. Not pulling in steps
  5. Jackknifing
  6. Awning Accidents
common rv accidents

Tire Blowouts/Overloaded vehicles

Tire blowouts are the leading cause of RV accidents, posing significant risks to travelers. These incidents often stem from overloaded RVs, improperly inflated tires, worn tread, and extreme weather conditions, particularly heat. To minimize the likelihood of experiencing a tire blowout and ensuring a safe journey, it’s crucial to take preventive measures:

  • Frequently check pressure; the best time to do so is when the tires are cold.
  • Don’t let air out of hot tires; when they cool down they could end up under-inflated.
  • Know the weight limit for the RV you are using and be sure not to overpack it with all of the things you want to bring on your adventure. Overloading your RV can result in tire blowouts, road instability, and longer braking distances, heightening the risk of RV accidents for both you and fellow road users.

Refrigerator fires and propane leaks

Refrigerator fires and propane leaks are pivotal safety issues for RV owners and travelers, contributing to common RV accidents. These occurrences can result in severe outcomes such as property damage, injuries, and even fatalities. Here’s essential information about these potential hazards and strategies for mitigating the risks:

  • Don’t use an RV with a tank painted a dark color.
  • Make sure the oven and stove burners are completely shut off when not in use.
  • Make sure the engine and all items that use the propane tank are shut off when fueling the RV.
  • Know where the the propane gas detector is.
  • While driving make sure the refrigerator is not running on the propane setting.
  • Checking all awnings, steps, and jacks
  • Disconnecting all hookups: power, sewer, water
  • Walk around the RV a couple times to make sure everything is retracted, unplugged, and there are no obstacles in the way.
  • Check the tire pressure and treads
  • Make sure the oven and stove burners are off
  • Check under the RV for any leaks
  • Check coolant, oil, and transmission fluid levels
  • Double check safety lines and tow bars
  • Check all brakes
  • Check for propane leaks and make sure smoke and propane leak detectors are working
  • Close and latch all doors including cargo areas

Propane is a flammable and hazardous material; always make sure you are safely operating and using your propane and appliances powered by propane.

Running into low clearance structures

Forgetting the height of an RV is a prevalent oversight among travelers, often resulting in collisions with low-clearance structures such as gas station overhangs and bridges, contributing to common RV accidents. To prevent such mishaps, it’s crucial to maintain awareness of your vehicle’s size and height. Here’s a helpful tip: place a reminder note on your dashboard highlighting the height restriction of your RV, including any additional height from antennas or rooftop attachments. By keeping this reminder visible, you can mitigate the risk of accidents caused by overlooking your RV’s dimensions while driving or towing. Stay vigilant and mindful of clearance heights to ensure a smooth and incident-free journey.

Not pulling in steps

When concluding an RV vacation, it’s typical to overlook essential tasks in the haste to return home or reach the next destination. Forgetting to retract the stairs or roll up the awnings is an easy mistake, contributing to common RV accidents. With a multitude of items to secure before hitting the road, it’s not uncommon for even more crucial checks to slip through the cracks.

Awning Accidents

Awning accidents can occur when awnings become loose or damaged during transit, posing hazards to the RV and other vehicles on the road. Improperly secured awnings can flap in the wind, detach from the RV, or cause collisions with overhead obstacles. To prevent awning accidents, RV owners should ensure proper awning installation, use quality awning hardware, and retract awnings during transit or when not in use. Regular inspection and maintenance of awning components can also help identify and address potential issues before they escalate into accidents.


Jackknifing occurs when the trailer of a towed RV swings around and forms an acute angle with the towing vehicle, often leading to loss of control. This type of accident can happen during sudden braking, icy road conditions, or when driving too fast for the current circumstances. Proper weight distribution, maintaining a safe following distance, and avoiding sudden maneuvers can help prevent jackknifing incidents on the road.

Safety Precautions

To prevent accidents, it’s crucial to proactively familiarize yourself with potential scenarios and safety precautions. By staying informed and mindful of necessary precautions, you can avoid accidents and ensure a smooth journey. Creating and diligently following a comprehensive checklist can help minimize the risk of forgetting critical tasks before hitting the gas.

For more tips on RV camping or information on RV rental please feel free to browse our website or contact us anytime. NW Adventure Rentals has a luxurious fleets of motorhomes and travel trailers, conveniently located in the Pacific Northwest at our Seattle location! Let us help you have a great outdoor vacation!