I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned perhaps the three most probable safety and security issues -
- Common Sense - don't drive when you are tired, do not exceed your personal limitations, do not drive in bad weather or when ice may be encountered on the road.
- Maintain a properly sized Tow Vehicle (TV) for your trailer and purchase the best Weight Distribution (WD) Hitch you can afford.
- Have a contingency plan for your travel plans and equipment and know what to do when it breaks down or you are involved in an accident.
On common sense:
- I'll leave that one alone - A good GPS with trip planner and a good cell phone with nationwide coverage will go a long way to helping you with go/no go decisions.
On a Tow Vehicle:
Purchase a properly sized vehicle (Factory Tow rated for at least 120% of the weight of your trailer) AND capable of being loaded with everything" (including the tongue weight) without busting the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).
The best reference that I know of to assist in choosing your TV is the "Trailer Life" series of Tow Guides (by year). Below is a link to their 2008 Guide - it's a huge PDF file (19 megs), so it will take a while to load, but please take the time to read and understand it.
I have quoted what I believe to be the most important paragraph in that guide below.
"The GVWR figures are neither guidelines nor estimates; they are limits, and there are numerous valid reasons the manufacturer arrived at the figures given. If you think these figures are “close enough” or have a fudge-factor percentage built in, think again. Your warranty coverage — and your safety — may be at risk."
There is a lot to learn about towing and vehicles here in the Forums - use the advanced search function to find specifics.
On Contingency Plans:
NEVER succumb to "get there itis" - if it takes an extra day - or two or three - that's OK - take your time and travel safe. Slow down, enjoy the scenery, or the attractions of where you are.
Be sure you have a GOOD break down and towing plan. I can attest to the benefits of the "Good Sam" tow plan. I am sure there are others that rank in the same league as "Good Sam", but I am familiar with their services.
When broken down on the side of the road you really do not have the luxury of finding the "best" local towing company that is capable of handling your TV and trailer. Good Sams has a central US dispatcher, they have pre-approved towing servises all over the country, and, best of all, they will call them and pay them directly - no out of pocket expense to you.
I used them when the 345 MoHo' transmission went south several years ago. The wait for a rig was a bit longer than usual because the "closest" recommended rig was out of commission. But I was saved unknown hours because Good Sams knew WHO to call, and had backups to the priimary service providers.
Again, good praises for Good Sam's, they asked all of the appropriate questions, - they were looking for health/safety issues first - made sure that we were "OK" (able to handle the situation mentally), and fished out that we knew that no work could be done until Monday - they even offered to tow us to a campsite and retow on Monday morning.
All the people we talked to with Good Sam's were based in the Boston area. They had all the resources in the area listed on their computer, I could not imagine me calling through a yellow pages list late on Saturday trying to find a tow truck that was outfitted properly to tow the MoHo.
Good Sam continued to call after to make sure that we were not only safe but were handling the stress of the situation. I used them a second time when I had a flat time on the TV which I could not handle myself. The same good service ensued, even though it was four o'clock in the morning.
Like I said, I am sure there are other RV specific (that's an important item - dont expect a "run of the mill" towing policy to handle an RV situation) towing services, but I have had nothing but good service from Good Sam.
RV'ing is supposed to be enjoyable - take your time, take it slow, ask questions, "try" various TV's and trailers to see if they "fit". I once purchased a new Chebby half ton - sold it with about 600 miles on it - it simply did not "fit" - never could get comfortable driving it.
For sure, go to as many Forums and WBCCI rallys as you can and ask as many questions as possible from as many people as possible. For starters, the knowledge base here in these Forum pages is your most valuable source of information.