Your brand new Timberline Range camp likely opens up a brand new world of possibility for travel and mobile living. Whether you are setting out for a quick weekend trip to get away from the daily grind, packing up for a months-long excursion across the country, or just doing your job out on the range, your sense of adventure is likely champing at the bit to get things rolling. Before you do, however, take a quick look below to make sure your sense of adventure doesn’t eclipse these critical considerations.
The sense of freedom gained by mobile living is no reason to discard some common sense safety recommendations. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studied the attitudes of various classes of drivers toward safety restraints in 2004. While the numbers have improved over the last 20 years, the data indicates that drivers of pickup trucks consistently lag behind drivers of passenger cars, vans, and sports utility vehicles.
In 2003, 69% of truck drivers consistently used safety restraints when operating their vehicle. The study reported that “Occupants of pickup trucks are at a higher risk for serious injury or death given their lower safety belt usage and higher ejection rates.” While it is common for drivers to have an increased sense of safety while driving large vehicles, nevertheless, risk of ejection from moving vehicles is still a major risk. The best place to be in a rolling or out of control vehicle is within the enclosure designed to take a beating.
For more information on Safety restraints and the data cited above head over the the NHTSA website at www.nhtsa.gov,
Chances are you’re familiar with how driving your vehicle itself differs from driving it while pulling a 3.5 ton trailer. But for those who are new owners and as a quick review for those of us who have a few miles under our belts, remember that there are a few things to consider before releasing the brake and pulling out. First, adverse weather conditions make driving a vehicle with a trailer even more challenging than before. In fact, a full 25% of fatal crashes are the result of driving too quickly in adverse weather.
As a general rule of thumb, drivers of heavy equipment or trailers should reduce their driving speeds by about 1/3 when driving in wet or rainy conditions. When driving on snowy or icy roads, drivers should consider reducing their speed by a full half. And remember, every pound of cargo you bring up to speed must be slowed in time, so give yourself some room to do so in normal weather and more room when the weather is working against you.
Additionally, remember to take curves a bit more carefully, enter/exit ramps at safe speeds, and slow down for construction and work zones.
When you first hitch up your new range camp, it immediately adds 30 extra feet onto your vehicle. This not only affects the feel and character of how your truck handles, it also affects your sight lines and blind spots. The aptly named “no zone” refers to the areas around and near a vehicle not visible to the driver. Relatively small blind spots between the visible field between side and rear-view mirrors are drastically affected when there is a large trailer blocking your line of sight. Before embarking, take some time to familiarize yourself with your new views (or lack thereof) by adjusting your mirrors and having a colleague or family member move into and out of sight.
On the road, your best offense is a good defense. Keep a safe driving distance between you and those around you and keep an eye out for approaching obstacles in the distance (before you reach them). Remember others are not as familiar with your fields of view as you are, so you will need to be proactive in ensuring not only your own safety, but theirs too.
The beauty of mobile living is that you don’t have to go home each night. Being able to stay out for multiple days means you’ll be able to travel longer distances as well. Remember that while driving, your attention and alertness directly correlate with your ability to avoid accidents and injury. The day before heading out, remember to get adequate sleep to avoid drowsy driving. If you find yourself fighting drowsiness on the road, do not hesitate to pull into a rest stop or find a safe place to nap and re-energize.
While driving, don’t rely solely on high-sugar energy drinks and caffeine to get you by. Eat healthy meals that will provide the long-term energy your body needs to function at high levels and doing so while stopped will avoid deadly distractions (more on that below). Additionally remember that medications may affect your attention. If you are worried about how these might play out on the road, consult a physician or a local pharmacist.
Part of staying alert includes avoiding outside distractions. While it is critical to anticipate obstacles in the distance, don’t get so preoccupied with things ahead or to the side that you neglect everything else. Driving your vehicle pulling a trailer is your primary concern. Don’t text or use mobile devices while driving. Don’t consult maps, write notes, or read. Keep your eye and ears trained on the task at hand because situations can change in an instant. If you must consult your devices or notes, there’s nothing wrong with pulling into the next rest stop or taking a quick detour off the highway to find somewhere safe.
We here at Timberline Range Camps are as excited for the adventures ahead as you are. We’ve been there ourselves and there is nothing quite like waking up someplace new and exciting everyday. We are sure you will find these and countless other joys while you explore your new horizons. Here’s to the safe and endless travels ahead.
“First, thanks for all of the help and patience in preparing to order our camp. You made sure that we really got what we wanted. From the time we picked up our camp we have really enjoyed it. It pulls great, and is easy to park and set up. This camp is so comfortable. Cooking and cleaning is easy, and everything is easy to get to. You can have people in and not feel crowded. We have camped in camp grounds, by lakes, and in the hills hunting with no problems. We like camping in it best when it is cold so we can use the wood stove. There is nothing cozier than that stove. Summer is nice to; the windows are placed so there is good ventilation. The door coming in from the front is more secure feeling. The kids are fighting over who will inherit it, but we are determined to wear it out before that happens.”- Pat and Ernie , Sparks Nevada
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