More Americans Live in RVs, But How Many Are Doing it Safely?

For a while I’ve been thinking, “Is it me, or does there seem to be more RVs than ever on the road today?” RV parks and campgrounds seem more crowded, and RVs are constantly passing us on the highway. Then, the Washington Post proved my suspicions with their recent article: “1 Million Americans Live in RVs.” 

Americans live in RVs
New RV nomad warns other drivers.

A million Americans live full-time in RVs, according to the RV Industry Association. Some have to do it because they can’t afford other options, but many do it by choice. Last year was a record for RV sales, according to the data firm Statistical Surveys. More than 10.5 million households own at least one RV, a jump from 2005 when 7.5 million households had RVs, according to RVIA.

Interest in “RVing” — either full time or on weekends — appears to be picking up, especially among young couples. Half of new sales are going to Americans under 45, and purchases by people of color are rising, RVIA found in its 2016 surveys, a change from the 20th century, when white retirees dominated campsites.  READ MORE

It’s great that so many people have discovered this way of life! Imagine if more people opted out of the sticks-and-bricks lifestyle in search of a better way to live — what a happier world this would be. 

Americans live in RVs
We can’t argue, it IS a great lifestyle for us!

But meanwhile, it’s clear that many people new to the RVing lifestyle could benefit from learning about things like Gross Vehicle Weight Ratio for RVs. Over summer, we saw so many large towable RVs being pulled by vehicles that didn’t look like they were meant for the job.

Americans live in RVs
We aren’t experts, but this didn’t look safe to us.

And we also saw large motorhomes pulling crazy loads behind them. This guy went all the way to Alaska towing a trailer behind his motorhome.

Americans live in RVs
Do they get miles per gallon or gallons per mile?

We cringe every time we see what appears to be a dangerously overloaded RV or tow vehicle. We can’t say for sure which RVs are capable of pulling large loads and which ones aren’t just by looking at them, but after our two separate Escapees Smart Weigh sessions, we learned from the weighmasters that the majority of people who get their RV weighed are surprised to learn that their rig is grossly overloaded. 

Americans live in RVs
Motorhome towing trailer: is it safe?

Until something goes wrong, most people don’t know how dangerous it is to drive out of the towing and weight limitations of their RV. Drive this way long enough, and eventually things go wrong. From RV tire blowouts to brakes blowing out, nobody gets away with crazy stunts like this for very long.

Americans live in RVs
No triple towing RVs in BC, Canada.

Seems to me that people who live in RVs have a lot at stake to take chances with safety. When everything you own is rolling down the highway at 65 miles-per-hour, being overly cautious seems like a better way to go in my book.


2 thoughts on “More Americans Live in RVs, But How Many Are Doing it Safely?”

  1. I sometimes get funny looks when towing my 30′ trailer trailer with my Suburban. Looks can be deceiving, because I’m below the payload by a few hundred lbs and below GCWR by a ton according to our local CAT scale.

    • Yeah, I’m sure that many vehicles we see out there are perfectly capable of towing the attached RV. To be extra certain you’re in the zone I would make sure to get your rig to an Escapees Smart Weigh station if you haven’t already. We used to use CAT scales and found that the numbers we got there were very different from Smart Weigh. It was an eye opener. Drive safe!


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