Personally witnessing the results of an RV crash in Vancouver, BC on Christmas Eve reminded us about the importance of driving safety and accident avoidance. As we were walking over toward the Sheraton Wall Center to check out the Christmas lights on display, a pickup truck towing a travel trailer plowed right through the front of the hotel, crashing into the concierge area. The truck ended up right inside the hotel lobby!
The accident is still under investigation, so we don’t yet know the cause of this particular crash. But we thought we’d take the opportunity to offer some of our best tips for avoiding RV crashes — specifically the factors that may have played some role in this particular RV crash.
NOTE: To view our first brand-new YouTube video in over a year, scroll down to the bottom of this article. We’ve included the actual CTV newscast, with our photos, video, and interview. It also includes a little about what we’ve been up to, and a teaser about our new RV. 😉
- 1) About the Vancouver Christmas Eve RV Crash
- 2) How to Avoid an RV Crash
- 3) Our First New YouTube Video in OVER A YEAR!
- 4) Free RVing Tips, Tricks, Reviews & Giveaways
About the Vancouver Christmas Eve RV Crash
Christmas Eve 2023 was a crisp evening in downtown Vancouver, BC, Canada. It was already dark, with the roads damp from occasional drizzle, which is, of course, common during the winter in Vancouver. There were large crowds of pedestrians out and about, including us, as we were out enjoying the lights that were up for the holidays all around the city.
These are certainly not circumstances under which we’d prefer to be driving an RV — wet roads at night in a major city full of traffic and pedestrians.
As we approached the hotel entrance on foot, we saw a travel trailer parked right in front of the building. It’s unusual to see any RV in the downtown area at any time, let alone on a wet night over a holiday weekend. So, it caught our attention and piqued our interest, and we walked toward it to check it out.
As we got closer, the pickup truck towing the travel trailer seemed to be nosed in very close to the building. A few steps closer and we realized that it wasn’t close to the building. The truck was inside the lobby, and there was shattered glass everywhere.
Our first thought was, “This is surreal, like something you see on TV.” The film industry is huge in Vancouver, so we thought they must be shooting a movie or TV show. We see film crews in the area from time to time, so it wasn’t a stretch to think that’s what was happening.
But this was no movie. Someone had actually plowed directly into the front of the building, smashing through the plate glass windows and bending the window frames directly into the area by the concierge desk. There was glass everywhere, including all over the hood of the truck.
The police had just arrived and placed yellow caution tape around the area. Besides broken glass all over everything, some of the rolling carts that bellhops use for luggage were bent by the front of the truck as they were shoved across the lobby.
The police and hotel staff said it had happened just before we arrived, and that no one was hurt. We were able to get lots of photos, as well as video of them backing the rig out of the hotel.
Shortly after they parked the truck & trailer in the plaza outside, we were approached by CTV anchorman Kevin Charach, who had just arrived (after the rig was already outside). He’d just come from anchoring the evening newscast and asked if we’d be willing to share our photos and video for use on the late-night news. We air-dropped all of our photos and videos to him right there on the sidewalk.
Kevin then asked if one of us would be comfortable being interviewed on camera. We laughed to ourselves a little bit because we knew that, of course, he had no idea how regularly we’d been on camera and on TV before. 😂
He also asked what credit they should include on our photos and footage. Of course, we said @rvgeeks (this was an RV-related incident, after all)! All of the still photos and video CTV used in the story are ours. So we’re including the actual newscast in our new YouTube video, below, with credit back to CTV, of course.
Since we didn’t witness the crash actually happening and didn’t speak to the driver or police about what led to it, we can’t comment on the cause of this specific accident. But it did remind us that RV crashes do happen, and there are many factors that can play a role in them. So, we thought we’d review some of the factors that may have played some part in this one.
Experiences like this RV accident in Vancouver are always a good reminder to review our own crash-avoidance practices.
How to Avoid an RV Crash
As long-time readers of this blog may know, Peter was both a professional motorcoach operator and the safety & training manager for a large bus company for many years. After training literally hundreds of professional drivers in and around New York City (and winning multiple bus driving competitions), he has lots to say on the topic of driving safety. That said, we’re going to limit today’s discussion to only those factors that may have played some part in this particular RV crash.
Of course, some things are beyond our direct control as we roll down the road. That said, there are many things that we can do to lessen the likelihood of ever being involved in an accident. When it comes to the RV crash at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre, there were many factors that may have played a role.
Driving an RV In a Large City
If you’re thinking about driving an RV into a big city, there are several considerations to keep in mind.
- Congestion/traffic/pedestrians/narrow streets/visual clutter
- Difficulty maneuvering in tight conditions/turns
- Limited parking for large vehicles
- Navigational challenges (reduced GPS signal around tall buildings, frequent opportunities for wrong turns, 1-way streets, etc.)
- Driving an RV in a large city isn’t generally recommended for newbies — it’s best to build experience & confidence first
Driving an RV At Night
When driving an RV anywhere at night (let alone in a congested city), several additional risk factors are involved. The added challenge of driving an RV in the dark is why many experienced RVers try to abide by the 2/2/2 or 3/3/3 travel rule.
- Animal/wildlife hazards (They’re more active and harder to see. Pedestrians are harder to see, too)
- Fatigue issues are more likely the later it gets
- Other drivers may be tired or impaired (a drink with dinner is more likely than other meals)
- Reduced visibility, including glare from oncoming headlights
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Pre-Trip Inspection (PTI)
Remember to always take your pre-trip inspections seriously before you hit the road. No matter how safely you drive your rig, a mechanical failure could cause an accident. Taking the time to ensure that systems are ready for travel is a key part of driving safely.
- Brake/tail/turn signal lights, tire pressures and tread condition, engine fluids, mirror adjustment, brakes, wipers, horn, etc, etc.
- Maintenance (The truck & RV involved in this incident seemed older, and it’s possible that it may not have been well maintained.)
As mentioned above, in typical winter Vancouver fashion, it had been raining on and off the evening of the crash. The wet roads were not only slippery but, being a late December evening, freezing conditions had the potential to crop up unexpectedly.
- Wet windows and mirrors reduce visibility
- Wet roads reduce traction and increase glare
- Add this to nighttime driving, as temperatures drop, and “wet” can rapidly change to “icy” with little or no warning
Driver ability is, of course, a potential factor in any RV crash.
- How capable and experienced is the driver?
- Is the driver operating an RV in conditions that exceed their abilities?
- Decision-making skills (could different decisions about where and when to drive have been made)?
This might be a good time to review our post RV Driving Tips: 21 Ways To Stay Safe & Calm.
Our First New YouTube Video in OVER A YEAR!
Without further ado, here’s our brand-new YouTube video with CTV news footage and interview, and some updates about our exciting new RV that will be coming soon.
We hope our Christmas Eve experience reminds us all to stay as safe as possible on the road. Safe travels, everyone!
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