Woman preparing tea in her camper.

Your Propane RV Fridge Is a Fire Hazard When in Tow

Your Propane RV Fridge Is a Fire Hazard When in Tow

You’re likely keeping an eye out for hazards beside you or in front of you while towing. You might not realize that a massive fire hazard could be following you down the road as you drive. Your propane RV fridge has the potential to create a terrifying and dangerous situation in a matter of seconds. Let’s take a look at how your propane RV fridge is a fire hazard and a few things you can do to keep you and others safe. 

Woman cooking and following proper precautions with her propane RV fridge.

Why Is Your Propane Fridge a Fire Hazard When You Drive?

It certainly could be. Let’s take a look at a couple of reasons why your propane fridge could be putting your RV at risk while you’re traveling down the highway. 

Your Gas Lines Could Leak 

Your RV’s propane system likely contains dozens of feet of propane lines. Many RVs have quick connections located near the rear of the RV. These connections require propane lines to run from the front of the RV to the rear. These RV lines could develop a leak due to age or objects from the road and quickly cause a dangerous situation.

A leak in any propane system is not something to ignore. Propane is a highly explosive gas. Not only will you likely wind up with empty propane tanks, but you could be putting yourself and others at risk.

Propane + Ignition = Disaster

Propane is a flammable gas. A single spark can cause a disaster. Your propane RV fridge could develop a leak in the lines or the components, and you could be blissfully unaware. There are reports of RVers losing their entire RV as a result of propane igniting.

RV manufacturers often use a lot of insulation and wood materials during construction. These materials are the perfect fuel for a quick and hot burning fire. A typical RV will burn to the ground in less than 10 minutes. That’s an incredibly quick-burning fire that will likely result in a complete loss of not only your RV but its contents as well.

Woman enjoying coffee in her motorhome hooked up to a propane RV fridge.

Are There Other Risks When Driving While Your Propane Fridge Is On?

While the chances of an explosive or dangerous situation resulting from your propane fridge are small, you might have another issue. It’s common for RV propane fridges not to work correctly when unlevel. While you may have a perfectly level campsite, you’ll likely be traveling on roads that aren’t so level.

When your propane fridge isn’t level, it likely won’t stay cool. A warm fridge can be troublesome, especially if you’re traveling for a long time. You may arrive at your destination to discover that the food and other items in your fridge aren’t as cold as you’d like. This can be dangerous if you’re storing meats or other temperature-sensitive items.

How Can You Keep Your Food Cold While You’re Driving?

If you’re hoping to keep your food cool while traveling, there are a couple of safer options. Let’s take a look!

Power Your Fridge with Electricity

Switch your fridge over to electricity to use your RV’s 12-volt system while driving. This will keep your fridge and its content cool while you’re on the way to your next big adventure. You’ll be able to set up your site with confidence, knowing that there’s a cold drink waiting for you in the fridge.

Use an Old-Fashioned Cooler

If your fridge can’t use a 12-volt system while towing, you can go old-school and use an old-fashioned cooler to keep your items cold. While coolers are nothing new in camping, many new brands can keep their contents cool for weeks. Whether it’s meat or drinks, you won’t have to worry about your stuff getting too warm while you’re traveling.

Going to Drive with the Propane on Anyway? Here Are Some Tips

Despite the risks, you might choose to drive with your propane on anyway. Here’s a couple of tips to make sure you’re as safe and legal as possible.

Turn off the Propane Before Filling Up

You don’t have to RV long to discover that RVs and fuel stations are best friends. But it’s also an opportunity for a fire to break out. A fire and propane tanks aren’t a good mix. If your propane tanks are on and a fire erupts at the gas pump, your propane tanks are going to be a ticking time bomb.

Turn off your propane tanks before you start filling up. Once you’ve finished pumping, you can turn them back on if you’re planning to travel with your propane on.

Follow the Rules for Tunnels, Ferries, and Other Enclosed Areas

If your route requires you to take a tunnel, ferry, or other enclosed route, pull over beforehand and turn your propane off. These areas often have restrictions on propane and other explosive materials. You may even find that some of these areas prohibit the transport of propane. This may mean changing your route to avoid these areas.

Is It Illegal to Drive with Propane On?

Traffic laws vary from one state to the next and can change abruptly. As a result, it’s best to verify any applicable laws wherever you plan to travel with your RV. Several East Coast states, like Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey, all have strict prohibitions on taking propane through tunnels or bridges. However, it’s legal to drive with propane on in most states and circumstances.

Is Driving with Propane on Worth the Risk?

Driving with your propane on can be incredibly dangerous. The damage that can occur won’t only harm you and your passengers but also others on the road. While it may be more convenient to travel with your propane on, it’s likely not worth the risk. Your RV fridge can keep your contents cool for several hours if it’s properly insulated and you keep it shut.

We want you and others to be as safe as possible while traveling down the highway. While a propane RV fridge can enhance your camping experience, you don’t want it to cause an accident. The slight inconvenience of turning your propane on and off is worth the assurance that you and others are safe while you’re driving. Do you travel with your propane tanks off?

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