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RV Travel CAUTION: 7 Scary Road Signs of Doom

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tsunami warning scary road sign

Top 7 Scary Road Signs for Full-time RV Travelers

A full year into our full-time RV adventure, we continue to learn and experience new and scary things about this incredible lifestyle on the road.

Everyone who drives any kind of vehicle knows road signs are key to making sure you get where you’re going with the least amount of complication and delay…

If you pay attention to the scary road signs. 

From regular speed limit signs to those green and white location signs that tell you where you’ll be if you Exit Now, road signs are very important.

Of course, we always watch for the typical road signs. The info you need to know like speed, location, and Rest Areas. 

We didn’t always pay as much attention to other signs, like mile markers and roadside billboards telling us which hotel, truck stop or restaurant to visit in the miles ahead.

Other road signs have surprised us, on this journey: 

As travelers (in a car or an RV), and, even more importantly, as roaming nomads (living in unfamiliar places for short periods of time), there are some scary road signs we now notice immediately and take seriously. 

Some are very funny, considering how unlikely they are. Some are so mundane (we thought), but end up being the most nerve-racking while driving Charlie the Unicorn, our 40′ Class A Motorhome.

 

#7 VOLCANO EVACUATION ROUTE

a scary road sign for volcano evacuation route

In the Pacific Northwest, the land is littered with many active volcanoes, part of the “Ring of Fire:”

The Ring of Fire is a string of volcanoes and sites of seismic activity, or earthquakes, around the edges of the Pacific Ocean. Roughly 90% of all earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire, and the ring is dotted with 75% of all active volcanoes on Earth. — National Geographic

Washington State has five volcanoes listed as high or very high threat potential by the Department of Natural Resources: Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Adams.

We take the threat of volcanoes very seriously. We both grew up in Western Washington, with the shadow and glory of Mount Rainier ever-present over Seattle.

We still vividly remember the day Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980.

We recently visited Mount St. Helens on our way back home to Washington. It’s an amazing experience, even 40 years later, witnessing the awesome, scary and destructive power of a volcanic eruption.

We pay attention to those VOLCANO EVACUATION ROUTE road signs. You just never know. 🌋

mount st helens May 2022

 

#6 UNEXPLODED AMMUNITION?! 💣💣💣

unexploded ammunition scary road sign

While off-roading in the Arizona desert, we happened upon the Yuma Proving Grounds, where the Army tests new ammunition. This was a new sign for us, especially as we were already OFF THE ROAD, following Jeep and ATV trails through the desert.

You have to drive through the Proving Grounds to get to the Castle Dome Ghost Town, but the signs on the side of the road are a bit disconcerting… you definitely want to stay on the gravel road or designated trails out here!

 

#5 ZERO VISIBILITY POSSIBLE (uh….what?!?)

zero visibility sign

When you’re clipping along at 65 MPH in a 40′ Class A Motorhome, certain signs bring on some extreme stress. One of those is ZERO VISIBILITY POSSIBLE…

Not a sign we ever expected to encounter.  

As it turns out, when crossing I-10 through the Southwest, visibility problems caused by sand and dust storms are so normal that these signs are not rare! 

Many of these hazard signs have flashing yellow lights that are activated automatically, in the event of low visibility. Other signs advise and instruct drivers how to wait it out if you happen to become overwhelmed by a dust storm on the highway.

We were there:

low visibility dust storm in california
A rogue low-visibility dust storm in the Mojave Desert, CA

 

#4 HIGH CLEARANCE ROAD

scary road sign for RV travel

Some people are very adventurous with their RVs and boondocking out in the middle of nowhere…

Then there’s us. We tend to baby our rig, Charlie-The-Unicorn RV, because it’s also our full-time home. 

So when we see signs about high clearance vehicles required, with direct warnings for RVs and Trailers, we park Charlie safely and take the 4×4 Jeep out for some fun!

 

#3 RUNAWAY TRUCK RAMP

another scary road sign runaway truck ramp

Ok, I know I’m not the only one who worries about my brakes failing when we’re careening down a high grade mountain pass. 

When I see these signs, it’s a stark reminder that problems happen often enough that a worst case contingency plan had to be in place… and they are everywhere through the mountain passes.  

Fingers crossed we never have to use one of these sand-trap, big-rig-catching ramps for real!

 

#2 TSUNAMI HAZARD ZONE (prepare to swim!)

tsunami hazard zone scary road sign

Another worrisome reality of living on the West Coast comes from the same geologic power that makes Volcano Evacuation signs necessary: 

The Ring of Fire and those deep underground tectonic plates moving, shifting, and bumping into each other, cause earthquakes. When those quakes occur underwater, it can trigger a Tsunami, or massive wave(s) that crash onto shore and flood further inland.

These signs are plentiful along the Oregon and Washington Coasts. They’ve even painted blue lines on the road where you can expect to be in most danger.

Get above those blue lines if a Tsunami warning is announced!

 

#1 DEER CROSSING (no joke!)

deer crossing scary road sign

This is the most surprising road sign we never worried much about… before driving a 55-foot rig (RV towing a Jeep). 

Yes, we’ve avoided deer and other animals while driving in our car before…

But when you’re driving a massive 36K-pound rig, and you can’t swerve or stop suddenly, it’s a BIG DEAL when you see wildlife on or near the road.  

Deer love to come out early in the morning and at dusk (usually when we are heading to our next campground). We are always on the lookout for them, as it would end badly for the animal, for us and our rig, and quite possibly for anyone else around us on the road if we had to stop quickly or swerve.

Not to mention the damage, in the event of a collision.

 

So far, we’ve been extremely lucky in our RV travels. We haven’t yet encountered real danger or damage related to any of these scary road signs.

We’ve got our eyes peeled 👀

 

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Another way we stay safe and avoid scary road signs is with careful planning, trip routing, and RV-SAFE GPS with RV LIFE Trip Wizard, an affiliate partner of BooksAndTravelUSA.com — More coming soon about RV Cross-Country Trip Planning! Until then, click the banner below for more info about the #1 app we rely on for safe travels!

RV LIFE Trip Wizard

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Thank you for reading!😘

We hope you enjoyed the article and are inspired and reassured through our RV experiences and adventures. If we can figure this out — and survive — so can you!

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Russ & Sherri

Books & Travel Explorers

Welcome to Books & Travel USA Full-time RV Travel Blog & Book Club.  We’re Russ & Sherri, your RV driver & travel guide. We’re glad you’re here!

We are living, working & traveling the U.S. full-time in our 2016 Entegra Aspire 40′ Class A Motorhome named Charlie The Unicorn. Join us on our GenX Post-pandemic Adventure!

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