How safe are motorhomes (or RVs) when it comes to frontal collisions? That’s a question the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) tried to answer by crash testing two different motorhomes at 64 km/h (39 mph), one semi-integrated and one fully integrated, all in the name of science.
Why did they do it? In their words, “The rapid increase in the number of motorhomes. Since 2014, the number of newly registered motorhomes in Sweden has increased by 50 per cent. During the same period, 6 people have died in a camper, 4 of them last year. The most common type of accident was frontal collision. Another approximately 100 people have been injured in road traffic accidents with motorhomes since 2014.”
So, how safe (or not) are they? The short answer judging by the results is that, if you’re planning on taking a trip with these RVs, you’re going to want to make sure that you avoid possible frontal impacts at all costs. You can start by keeping your eyes on the road attentively, and only overtake when it is safe to do so.
How did the Swedes test them?
According to Trafikverket:
The Swedish Transport Administration’s crash test is the same frontal collision test used in Euro NCAP, a European consumer organization that crash tests cars for cars; a frontal impact of 64 km/h (40mph) against a barrier corresponding to a vehicle of the same weight. Although the motorhomes were unloaded at the time, they are relatively heavy.
In this case, the tests correspond to a frontal impact of 90 km/h (56mph) against an average passenger car. It is a tough test which unfortunately corresponds to a crash scenario that is not unusual on our roads.
A frontal impact could easily kill you
Hitting something head-on is the absolute last thing you need if you’re ever behind the wheel. According to the Swedish authority, the structure of these RVs is not sturdy enough so as to protect you or absorb the impact forces in a way that would favor occupants. For one, these motorhomes have really short crumple zones in relation to their weight.
While it would be safer to purchase a semi-integrated model rather than a fully integrated one, you still wouldn’t be nowhere near as safe as in a regular passenger vehicle. So what can you do in order to increase your chances of not getting hurt? Try choosing safe roads that have some type of solid center divider.
Another good idea is to make sure you have no loose objects inside, like say a coffee maker – it can easily become a projectile in the event of a crash. Also, you should remove the table if you have passengers in the back, and look to improve overall anchoring when it comes to the interior.
The Swedish Transport Administration’s recommendations to consumers
- Choose safe roads with central separation.
- Keep the speed limit
- Make sure you have no loose objects in the living area, such as a coffee maker. Remove the table if you have passengers behind.
The Swedish Transport Administration’s recommendations to manufacturers
- In the short term – improve the anchoring of the interior of the living space
- In the short term – make sure the table is easy to remove
- In the long run – look over so that the basic vehicle is crash-proof