If you’ve never driven a motorhome before, that first long trip can seem like an intimidating prospect. Just like towed trailers and other RV styles, motorhomes present their own set of driving challenges. However, with a little patience, a little practice, and a little preparation, you can get on the highway with confidence in no time, headed towards adventure on the horizon. At RV Station Colbert in Colbert, Oklahoma, we’ve got plenty of experience with motorhome operation, so we’ve compiled a list of tricks and tips to help you master driving your motorhome.
First, you’ll need to make sure your motorhome is in good shape for your trip. If you haven’t gotten it serviced in a while, take it in to your mechanic or come see us at RV Station Colbert for parts and services. You can check out your motorhome at home, though, and figure out if anything seems amiss.
Check your tire pressure with a gauge and ensure it’s up to the manufacturer’s standard. Look for cracks or fissures in the rubber and any unevenness. If your tires are very low, you may have a leak. The tires have a lot riding on them in a motorhome and a blowout can be even more dangerous in a large vehicle, so you’ll want to keep that possibility in check.
All your fluids should be topped up and clean to keep your engine running smoothly. Check your air filters at the same time. Look over your whole motorhome for any signs of structural damage that you’ll want to get repaired -- you don’t want things coming loose while you’re on the road.
Every driving task is made more difficult when you’re in a large vehicle, which is why you’ll want to set aside time to practice parking, reversing, braking, and turning in your motorhome. Find a large empty parking lot so you can improve your skills without obstacles.
Your turn radius will be wider than in a standard car, so give yourself more space around corners and take it slow. Running up on a curb can be easy to do in a motorhome, as can drifting into the next lane as you turn, so watch your mirrors.
Small, precise movements are much more difficult to accomplish in a motorhome, which means parking and reversing can be hard to master. You won’t be able to fit in small spaces, which means you’ll need to be on the lookout for big empty lots whenever you stop.
Reversing without a rearview mirror can be especially difficult, and if you find yourself wanting more visibility, you can purchase and install an RV camera that lets you see what’s behind you.
Bear in mind that your vehicle is much longer than normal and give yourself as much room as you need to feel comfortable and avoid hitting anything, and don’t be afraid to take your time when parking and backing up!
Once you’re out on the open road, you’ll want to maintain a constant speed and stay under the speed limit, going no faster than 55mph. Set cruise control and pay attention to your following distance -- the guideline for passenger cars is to add a second of following distance for every ten miles faster you travel, but you’ll want to double this when driving a motorhome. So at 60 mph, you’ll want to have twelve seconds of space between you and the vehicle ahead. You can quickly determine this by watching that car pass a sign or tree, then counting how long it takes you to pass the same marker. This gives you enough time to brake and come to a complete stop with all the increased weight you’re carrying.
Stay in your lane as much as you can and do not pass if you can avoid it. Remember, you’re much larger and bulkier than most of the cars around you, so let them have the right of way. Keep an eye on your mirrors, especially since you have no rear-view option.
Taking things slow is a key factor in motorhome safety, and you can make your journey pleasant with music and conversation. You should enjoy the ride!
This information is for educational purposes. VIARV shall not be responsible nor retain liability for RVer’s use of the provided information. Prior to making any RV service decision, you are advised to consult with an RV professional.