Ah, the Evergreen State: 124 state parks, 850 RV parks, endless gorgeous scenery, and 167,632 miles of road. If you're new to Washington, it might be worth taking a minute to scope out which roads are the most perilous. Here are the top road hazards to watch for when at the wheel of your RV.
Much like literally everywhere, the weather in Washington State impacts driving, particularly driving RVs.
One of the biggest road hazards unique to Washington State is the wet weather conditions, especially during the fall and winter months. The rain and wet roads can cause hydroplaning, reducing tire traction and making it challenging to control the vehicle. RVers need to be extra cautious when driving on wet roads due to the larger size and weight of the vehicle, which can make it harder to brake and control the vehicle, and hydroplaning can become a bigger risk. RV drivers should maintain a slower speed and increase their following distance to give themselves more time to react to any potential hazards.
RVers in the PNW may be used to this, but for the uninitiated: Washington State's mountainous regions experience heavy snowfall, causing snow and ice to accumulate on the roads. The slippery and icy conditions make it difficult to maneuver any vehicle, and make RV maneuverability especially challenging RV drivers should make sure to have proper winter tires, carry chains if possible, drive slower, and avoid sudden braking or acceleration to prevent sliding.
Fog can be a major challenge for RV drivers due to reduced visibility, and Washington is the most overcast state in the country, seeing an average of 165 foggy days a year. RV drivers should use their fog lights and drive at a slower speed to increase their reaction time and avoid potential hazards on the road.
Washington State is prone to landslides, with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of landslides every year, many of which are not in areas that have experienced slides in the past. Landslides can occur suddenly and without warning, causing significant damage to roads and vehicles. Drivers should pay attention to warning signs and avoid driving on roads that are susceptible to landslides. RV drivers should pay close attention to any landslide warnings and avoid driving on roads that are susceptible to landslides. RVs are more vulnerable to being caught in a landslide due to their larger size and slower maneuverability.
RV drivers should be especially careful when driving through areas with wildlife such as black bears, cougars, and moose. Stay vigilant! Be on the constant lookout for signs of wildlife and take appropriate measures to avoid collisions such as slowing down and giving the animals enough space.
Deer and elk crossings can pose a risk as well – be extra cautious when driving through forested areas and slow down to allow for enough time to react to not only wildlife potentially crossing the road, but for other RV and car drivers proceeding with caution or dealing with an encounter.
Road rules can vary from state to state, and since RVers are more likely to get out of dodge by crossing state lines, make sure you're up to speed (so to speak) for when you make a run for the border.
It is against the law to hold your cell phone while you are driving in Washington State, even if you're stopped at a red light or in traffic. Hands-free is allowed so long as you can start use by a single touch/swipe of your finger. Since distracted driving can be especially dangerous for RV drivers, pull over to a safe location if you need to update your navigation app, search for a campsite, or attend to any passengers or pets in the RV.
Right turn on red: In some states, it is legal to turn right on a red light after coming to a complete stop. However, in Washington state, you must first come to a complete stop and then wait for the green light before turning right.
Left lane passing: In Washington, it is illegal to drive continuously in the left lane of a multilane roadway if you are going slower than the traffic around you. The left lane is designated for passing or faster-moving traffic.
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