Are Class A motorhomes safe? (13 safety tips)

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Are Class A motorhomes safe? We will discuss safety issues onboard a Class A motorhome, how difficult it is to drive this type of RV and how to stay safe on the road. 

Are Class A motorhomes safe?

Class A motorhomes are the least safe RVs out there. Many road accidents occur due to the added size and weight of a Class A motorhome, also because not all passengers have been wearing a seatbelt. In the case of an impact, a Class A can be extremely unsafe and result in total damage

Here are a few possible explanations of the safety issues concerning this RV type:

  • The Class A cabins are too heavy for the chassis on which they are built; 
  • Most class A motorhomes underrated chassis that do not have the capacity to stop a coach under normal road conditions;
  • The absence, in many models, of steel bars which can be used as bumpers to protect the coach and its occupants in low-speed collisions, and
  • The units leaving the factory are almost at full capacity and therefore exhibit poor road stability.

These safety concerns should all be reason enough for people to take the time to investigate the units to find out what they are (or may be) facing with regards to Class A motorhomes.

The truth is, they have more structural issues than any other type of RV. At least half of them are unfounded to the point that an accident, even at a speed of 25 mph, could destroy one and cause serious or even fatal damage to the driver and passengers!

Is a Class A the right RV for you?

The largest motorhomes on the market, Class A, are huge vehicles with gasoline or diesel engines. With spacious bedrooms and sleeping areas, full kitchens and luxurious bathrooms, Class A RVs can include many luxuries, such as residential-size refrigerators, induction ranges, ice machines, microwaves, washer-dryers, high-end electronics. technology and designer furniture.

Class A motorhome Pros:

  • Passengers can access the bathroom and refrigerator while the vehicle is in motion
  • Virtually unlimited service potential
  • Plenty of space to store, sleep and live
  • Can tow everyday vehicles.

Class A motorhome Cons:

  • May require a special license in some states
  • Can be difficult to drive and park
  • More expensive to insure, refuel and repair
  • High altitude can make low branches and bridges problematic.

Class A motorhomes can be distinguished by their large size and square shape. It is definitely the choice that will bring you the closest to the comfort of a home. They are built on a larger frame resembling that of a bus or truck. The huge windshield gives them visibility while driving and interior clarity that is hard to compare. Some measure up to 45 feet and have up to 4 extensions giving them maximum living space.

Safety aspects to consider before investing in a Class A motorhome

The configuration of the Class A motorhome allows the integration of huge boxes under the vehicle allowing storage like no other vehicle can offer you.

There are 2 main mechanical configurations, one for gas and the other for diesel. The gas engine is usually located at the front of the vehicle and the diesel engine is predominantly at the rear and commonly referred to as a “pusher”.

All sections of the vehicle generally provide comfort approaching that of a home. The kitchen is often more spacious than in other categories of motorhomes, even allowing the installation of appliances reminiscent of your everyday kitchen.

The master bedroom offers you the comfort of a bed at home and several models also offer space to arrange a set of appliances suitable for washing your clothes.

The Class A buyer seeks comfort, luxury, living space and all this with the minimum possible compromise.

Still, keep in mind that Class A is the largest motorhome out there. It looks like a bus and is approximately 28 to 45 feet long. It is in this category that the most luxurious, spacious and expensive models are classified. It is particularly popular with retirees who spend part of the winter in the South or who travel a lot.

Arranged like a house, it provides maximum comfort and amenities. The windshield offers a panoramic view. Since the Class A motorhome is the tallest inside, it feels less stuck there than in another class. It also offers more storage space. The larger wheels generally provide better handling. Can accommodate up to six people, depending on the model. It can pull a car and heavy equipment like a boat.

The longer and taller a motorhome, the more difficult it becomes to drive on sloping ground or when the wind picks up. Crosswinds, such as the passage of a truck, can affect its stability. In town or on small country roads, it can be difficult to manoeuvre and park.

How to drive a Class A motorhome (safety tips)

Driving in a Class A motorhome shouldn’t feel like a dangerous job. After all, you want to have a good time during the trip. Here are a few basic safety tips that any driver must know before hitting the road:

  1. Pay extra attention, given the increased width, in particular in roundabouts; negotiate the bends well;
  2. The braking distance is longer and the turns will be taken at a slower pace
  3. Overtaking a bicycle or moped is more difficult; you often have to adapt your speed to these two-wheelers and be patient until you can pass safely
  4. Crossing an oncoming vehicle when the road has no markings is more difficult
  5. Parking spaces are too small
  6. Tedious maneuvers if you take the wrong route
  7. Respecting safety distances saves lives
  8. You should also avoid travelling in a convoy in a motorhome and make it easier for following vehicles to pass.
  9. When driving a motorhome, all the rules of the highway code must of course be observed as well as behave in an exemplary manner.
  10. Know the risks of using the phone while driving
  11. Fasten your seat belt: its essential before starting the motorhome
  12. Know the dangers of alcohol and driving and drinking
  13. Fatigue and drowsiness are your enemies. Make sure you know the risks and take all the precautions while driving.

Final thoughts on the safety of Class A motorhomes

Although Class A motorhomes offer a better view of the landscape and the possibility of monitoring traffic flows more easily, it is more difficult to drive a vehicle of this size. 

The first thing you must do before turning the ignition key is to place a sticker on which you will have written the height, width and length of the vehicle. 

This will prevent you from leaving the nasturtium on the roof of the first underpass you find, but you should also know that the risk can come from the branches of trees, the sides of a mountain road or the balconies that line a narrow street and that are not marked on the panels.

Despite having large rear-view mirrors and a panoramic windshield, visibility is far from perfect. There are always dark areas on the sides. At some crossings, only the passenger, next to the driver, will be able to tell you if the road is clear. 

Nor is it easy to appreciate the entire length of the motorhome. Also, to carry out a manoeuvre (reversing in particular), it is necessary, in the absence of a backup camera, to be guided by someone who, outside the vehicle, watches the rear and everything that is outside the field of vision of the vehicle. 

Travelling with an RV is a unique experience as it provides a fantastic feeling of freedom. But driving a car that pulls one of these houses on wheels is not trivial. 

Differences in the vehicle’s response to acceleration, braking and cornering speeds due to the extra weight and increased aerodynamic drag make it necessary to drive particularly cautiously.

Do you have any questions or comments on the content? Please let us know!

FAQ on Are Class A motorhomes safe?

Are RVs safe in a crash?

Just like any other vehicle on the road, RVs are not completely safe in a crash. The structure of an RV is not strong enough to protect the driver and passengers. These models indeed have a very short deformation zone compared to their high weight.

Is a 40-foot motorhome too big?

A 40-foot motorhome is not too big in terms of space and comfort, but it may be a downside if you plan on travelling through National Parks with it. For certain trips, such as boarding a ferry, or visiting certain villages or foreign countries, the length of your vehicle will be decisive for you and truth to be told, 40 feet is a big motorhome (but not the longest)!

Is it hard to drive an RV?

Experienced motorists tell us that it is not hard to drive an RV, however, for a newbie, it could pose a challenge. It is recommended that before driving an RV you familiarize yourself with its dimensions, as you must quickly get used to the vehicle and know in what space you can park or if a road is wide enough to fit on it.

How to drive safely with an RV?

To travel safely with an RV you need to know the differences in the vehicle’s response to acceleration, braking and cornering speeds due to the extra weight and increased aerodynamic drag that make it necessary to drive particularly cautiously.

How to drive with a motorhome?

To drive with a motorhome, you have to know the following tips:

  1. Know its dimensions. It is as basic as it is fundamental.
  2. Spread the load evenly. 
  3. Avoid overtaking.
  4. Drive at a steady speed. 
  5. If there is a strong wind, slow down. 
  6. Use the side mirrors. 
  7. Do not leave loose items inside.

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