You love the idea of hitting the open road with just you, your family and everything you need to cook up a meal and get a great night’s sleep right there in your transportation. But if you’ve never actually taken an RV trip, you might be a little intimidated by the size of the rig.
Don’t worry; that’s totally normal, and you’d be surprised how quickly you’ll get used to (and probably addicted) to driving your motorhome or RV. But before you grab the keys and head off, there are a few things you should know about driving these bad boys.
It’s not a huge deal.
First off, relax. With the number of motorhomes and RVs on the roads today, you can’t go thinking it’s impossible to drive one. After all, if it took a degree in rocket science to handle a big vehicle, well, there would be a lot of vacancy in campgrounds and RV parks around the country!
Your nerves aren’t going to help you handle the RV any better, so try to have a little confidence in your ability; it’ll help you as you set out on your newfound favorite pastime.
The Golden Freeway
Remember when you were a teenager practicing driving, and you froze in terror before entering a freeway for the first time? There’s something about those high speeds that can make you much more nervous than you need to be. Taking the RV out is the same thing; just as you eventually realized that freeway driving was actually easier (and probably more enjoyable) than driving in town, the same goes for your motorhome or RV.
The beauty of the interstate is that it doesn’t discriminate against size; your vehicle will be simple to handle because you’re not maneuvering around intersections and parking lots. As long as you get really good at checking your mirrors before you switch lanes, this part of your trip shouldn’t phase you at all.
The Parking Dilemma
Speaking of parking your rig, we understand if that’s a little intimidating at first. The last thing you want to do the first time you take out a large vehicle is back it up. While you’re still getting a feel for your RV, try to “pull through” for parking as much as possible. That means finding tandem parking stalls and pulling through one to park in the other. This way, you can enter and leave the lot without ever needing to back up.
Of course, you’re going to have to back that rig up eventually, so don’t be sheepish about asking for a little help from your passengers your first few tries.
Stop Riding the Brake
When you’ve got a huge vehicle beneath you, it might be tempting to ride the brakes when your speed starts to get you spooked. This is not what you want to do in an RV. Those brakes could get hot and stop working if you abuse them, so use deceleration to help you stop, rather than relying wholly on the brakes for slowing. And keep those brakes in good working order. It’s important to get them checked regularly and replaced when needed.
The same goes for your rig’s tire pressure – check it every week (even if that seems excessive) because your tire levels impact the vehicle’s handling.
Your Eyes and Ears
While keeping alert and focused on the task at hand is important any time you get behind the wheel, it’s especially critical in an RV, simply because the size of the rig can do some serious damage.
Never drive when you’re tired, emotional or have had too much to drink. Get accustomed to monitoring your surroundings – especially those blind spots – all the time you’re behind the wheel. Allow yourself the mental focus you need to get yourself where you’re going safely – and you’ll do just that!
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.