We moved forward only a few inches--just far enough to get off the leveling blocks! But that was enough. There was a sickening crunch as the opened compartment door hit a post. The repairs cost thousands of dollars.
We are experienced RVers, and there is no excuse for making a mistake like that one. We began kicking ourselves for not adhering to our checklist, which of course includes making sure that all the outside doors are closed before even turning on the ignition.
The NPR program The Hidden Brain gave a great example of failing to use every item on a checklist: in 1935 a Boeing plane nicknamed the “flying fortress” crashed and burned, killing two pilots, because the crew had neglected to check every item on their checklist.[i] Incredibly, the control lock had been left in place.
True, checklists can be boring. In my years of editorial work, I got very tired of making a huge chart for each project and listing all the trivial steps that had to be followed between a manuscript and a book, but those charts saved me from making many mistakes, and I should have remembered their value.
Strangely, the things people forget are obvious steps. In proofreading books, I never overlooked a misspelling or misuse of an unusual word, but several times I failed to notice some problem with a simple word. Our brains tend to see what we expect to see.
One item people often forget to check is the TV antenna. Many times a tidied-up RV will pull out of a campground with the antenna extended. We try to chase the driver down but are not always successful. The results are probably not pretty.
Many RV websites contain valuable checklists. Every owner needs to choose the relevant items from those lists to create a computerized document that can be easily revised as needed.
Most important, the checklist must be printed and followed just before each trip (or before moving off the leveling blocks, as we discovered). No checklist is useful if it is sitting on a computer.
Text copyright 2017 by Carol Leth Stone.
The Hidden brain is Hosted by Shankar Vedantam.