By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A photo of a camper driving down a highway with both of its room extenders or “slide outs” extended has prompted a word of warning from the Wyoming Department of Transportation.
In addition to being illegal, towing a trailer anywhere with its room extenders left fully extended can be dangerous, department spokesman Doug McGee told Cowboy State Daily on Friday.
“A thorough walk around the camper before driving away is probably not a bad idea,” WYDOT spokesman Doug McGee told Cowboy State Daily on Friday.
The living space of many recreational vehicles can be increased with pieces of rooms that extend, also called “slide outs.”
When a camper is parked for the night, such extenders are a great way to increase the comfort level inside the trailer.
But leaving the slide outs extended while traveling is against the law, McGee said. When driving, it becomes a hazard for not only the camper driver, but others on the road, as the trailer is wider than its travel lane.
The width of a vehicle cannot exceed 102 inches, according to Wyoming law.
The photo of the camper surfaced on the well-known Facebook group “Yellowstone National Park: Invasion of the Idiots.”
Noted Wyoming outdoorsman Paul Ulrich said he has seen many instances of slide-outs extended while driving in the last few years.
He said it’s particularly dangerous when driving on a two-lane road.
“One minute you’re driving down the road and it’s Disneyland,” Ulrich said. “The next minute an 18-wheeler demolishes your camper and your entire family is plummeting down a canyon only to explode upon impact. It’s just not a good way to start a vacation.”
“Do Your Homework”
McGee told Cowboy State Daily that WYDOT is seeing many new campers on the road since the COVID-19 pandemic and recommended anyone interested in buying one do homework before purchasing.
The park’s east gate’s opening on Friday will mean an influx of tourists, and campers, in the state of Wyoming this year and McGee said there were a couple of large parking lots that would be great spots for inexperienced drivers to practice before hitting the road.
“A lot of our mountain passes are pretty high and they involve some steep grades, climbing and descending,” he said. “A lot of times, someone that’s not an experienced camper or RV driver can really struggle with those steep grades, especially on the downward side. That can get pretty dangerous.”
WYDOT spokeswoman Jordan Achs added that campers and recreational vehicles are included in high-profile vehicle warnings and could be blown over in high winds, if drivers do not take precautions.