Driving safely can mean the difference between life and death, so it’s imperative to learn and abide by the rules of the road. Whether you’re a less experienced driver or a senior who would like to brush up on the best ways to stay safe behind the wheel, there are many things to consider when driving your RV on your next road trip.

One of the first things you should do is get familiar with your vehicle. If your RV is new or if you don’t drive it that often, be sure to go over where everything is before you start your engine. Different models have different locations for the same button or switch, so familiarize yourself with where everything is.

Being prepared and comfortable with your RV is the first step. Read on for more tips on how to drive your campervan safely.

Minimize distractions

Safe driving is dependent on minimizing distractions. Playing music, talking to passengers, and looking at your phone may not seem that risky, but these actually are very dangerous activities because they take your attention away from the road. All it takes is a split second of inattention to put you and your passengers in danger.

Keep distractions at bay by preselecting a playlist to listen to for the drive, keeping passengers to a minimum (especially if you are an inexperienced RV driver), and putting your phone away the entire time you’re behind the wheel. If you know you’ll need to deal with important phone calls while you’re driving, set up a Bluetooth to connect your phone to your camper van’s stereo system, and put your phone in a dashboard holder to keep it closer to eye level.

Be patient

Slow drivers may wear on your patience, but it’s important to keep your wits about you, especially if the roads are wet or slick. Stay a safe distance behind the vehicle in front of you, especially if you’re on a curvy or two-lane road. If you’re on a tight schedule, leave early to give yourself enough of a cushion to arrive on time in case you run into traffic or get stuck behind someone who isn’t in as big of a hurry as you are.

Many people have at least one accident across the span of their lifetimes, and some have many more than that. Sometimes, an accident that doesn’t seem like that big a deal (such as a fender bender) can actually cause pain later. No matter how small an accident is, it’s always a good idea to get the other driver’s information and establish a timeline. If you start to feel pain in your neck or back, see a doctor right away because these injuries can cause chronic pain later in life. In fact, one study showed that people who have been involved in an accident are 84% more likely to develop chronic pain.

For more information on how an accident in your RV can contribute to health issues, read more here.

Keep your RV in good shape

It’s imperative to make sure your RV is in good condition before every trip. Check your tires, windshield wipers, and gas gauge before setting out. Make sure your windshield is clean, especially if you’re going to be driving with the sun in your eyes, because the bright sunlight on the horizon can really reduce visibility if your windshield is dirty. Get the oil changed regularly as well, and make sure fluids are topped off before you leave.

When venturing out on your next road trip, there are several things you can do to help you avoid getting in an accident in your RV. By familiarizing yourself with your vehicle, minimizing distractions, being patient, and keeping your RV in good condition, you can arrive at your destination safely.