Beep! Beep! Beep!
The sudden alarm shattered the peaceful morning drive like a stray bullet. I grabbed the tire pressure monitor while Jim white-knuckled the steering wheel and slowly pulled over. The display screen said it all. “Right rear trailer tire: 0 PSI!” In that split second we had a choice: panic, or remain calm. The first would be easy, the latter a challenge. But we’ve discovered that even in the worst of circumstances, the best tool for any roadside RV emergency can always be found deep within ourselves.
In an RV Roadside Emergency, the Situation is the Boss
The pot-holed stretch of the Alaska Highway is notorious for eating RVs. On that day, it was our turn. The right leaf spring on our fifth wheel had snapped, punctured a tire, ripped the shock absorber off and slashed our hydraulic brake line.
Stranded on a narrow shoulder in a remote spot with no cell service, the damage was sickening, scary and so severe that our trailer would need a six-hour tow back to civilization. But as we teetered on the brink of an emotional meltdown, we clung to the ace up our sleeve that would get us through the ordeal: the ability to pick our reaction to the situation. We had no control over what just happened, but we could control how we reacted to it.
In the moments that followed, we understood exactly what Frankl meant. We could yell, scream and take our anger out on each other, which would only make the situation worse. Or, we could pause in that space between stimuli and response and reach inward for a solution.
Most RVers will experience a similar challenge at some point. Carrying good RV roadside assistance coverage is critical, but maintaining a healthy mindset is the best tool for any roadside RV emergency. Here’s how you can access yours on demand.
Tips to Handle an RV Roadside Emergency
First, Assess Your Safety
Ask yourself: Is anyone hurt or bleeding? Is anything on fire? Are you in harm’s way? If you can answer “No” to these questions, you’re doing pretty good. Celebrate that!
Next, Accept that the Situation is the Boss.
No matter how bad things appear at the moment, accept that you cannot change what already happened. Immediate acknowledgment will quickly move you toward a solution.
Finally, Try a Good Belly Laugh to Make the RV Roadside Emergency a Little Easier
Acceptance helps you calmly step into the center of stimulus and response in order to choose beneficial behavior. But if you’re like me and easily overwhelmed in stressful situations, you may need more encouragement to get there. Forced laughter may be what it takes.
Laughter helps you to step back from the situation and feel more in control. It isn’t about making fun of a terrible situation, but rather to help you increase production of feel-good endorphins and decrease cortisol, the stress hormone raging through your body in an emergency.
Think it’s a bunch of hooey? The science behind laughter as medicine has been well-documented since the 1970s. Ask anyone who participates in the worldwide Laughter Yoga movement and they’ll tell you: laughter is beneficial even when there is nothing particularly funny to laugh about.
You will feel like a lunatic when you try it, but put your ego aside and you’ll see that even one thirty-second chorus of “HA! HA! HAH!” can ease the blow of a breakdown. It’s worked for us in many situations, like this time on the side of a busy Texas freeway:
The Best Tool for a RV Roadside Emergency is Found Within
Getting stranded with a 15,000-pound home perilously perched on a deserted highway shoulder is never funny. But forcing laughter can help you get through it with your sanity and relationships unscathed. The important thing to remember is, don’t wait for an emergency to give laughter a try.
“We get good at whatever we practice. People who devote time to laughing on purpose each day become more resilient,” says laughter coach Dave Berman, author of Laughter for the Health of It, and 5 Ways Laughter Will Change Your Life. “We find it comes naturally to respond with laughter in many situations where that might not be the obvious choice to others. The more you laugh on purpose, the more life shows you reasons to laugh.”