Parking and Turning Tips for the RV driver.
I finally took a specialized driving class for Coach owners, along with my wife, and boy was it worth the time. We spent half a day in a classroom, and then went out and spent a half a day practicing what we had learned in 40-foot Diesel Pushers with an instructor.
After this one day of instruction, even though we had previously owned and driven thousands of miles in two different RV Coaches, we felt much safer driving our new rig on the open road.
Here are some of the things we learned in the classroom and on the road part of the classes. We share these in the hopes that they will aid you in your travels also.
Remember the unofficial Rule of the Road for RV drivers: I learned the rule of the road for boating when I had owned and operated a HouseBoat for years on a large lake in Virginia. Basically the rule is that SIZE RULES!.
What this means is that the larger boat is harder to maneuver in the water than a small boat, so the larger, more cumbersome boat has the right-of-way in almost every confrontational situation.
I was happy to hear from the instructor that this same rule applied for drivers of RV's especially the very large ones and the ones that are towing..
When you think about it, this makes sense. When it comes to a situation where you, in your big rig, towing a car, or whatever, must react or the smaller vehicle must react and allow the other vehicle to get out of the way.
Oh, the driver of the smaller vehicle may Yell and blow the horn, but just be polite, smile, shrug your shoulders and continue to wait for them to get out of the way. DO Not take chances trying to make impossible turns with your RV!
DID YOU KNOW – Tips:
- If traveling in Canada, make a note that 12-feet is equal to 3.66 meters, and post it on their dash as a quick reference when approaching an overpass or pulling into a fueling station.
- The driver/owner of a Motor Home should always keep in mind that their Coach is longer, wider and taller than their automobile, and deserves the extra respect and thought when you are turning, stopping, accelerating, and parking the RV........ And the Tail moves!
- When you are on the road remember that a tractor/trailer rig is nearly always at or near the US maximum allowed height of 13-feet and 6-inches, and if you watch them on the road, it should help stay out of trouble with overpasses and fuel stops.
- The number-1 accident with Motor Homes is caused by Tail Swing, and one should keep in mind that the average Motor Home has 2-1/2 feet of Tail-Swing when it is in a turn.
- When stopping at fuel dispensers, keep your rig at least 3-1/2 feet away from the pump to allow for Tail-Swing when you pull away from the fuel dispenser.
- What to do at an Intersection:
Notice the big white painted bar on the road at every stop sign/ stop light in the country. This bar is always designed to be set back enough to allow other turning vehicles to clear the vehicle sitting at the sign/painted bar, when they make a turn. So always stop at the white bar.
Situation One: When you are pulling up to a STOP sign/light and are in the left lane of 2 lanes, and turning left, you should pull up as close to the left line on the road as possible to allow for your tail to swing out and to the right when you turn left. Watch closely when actually turning, if there is a car too close to you on your right. And remember the Rule of the Road mentioned above.
Situation Two: When pulling up to a STOP in a single lane, and turning left, pull up as close to the left line on the road as possible to avoid your tail hitting any signs, fire hydrants or other things on the side of the road at the corner.
When to Turn: If you are driving a Diesel Pusher, you must remember that you are sitting over the front wheel, so whether turning left or right at an intersection, pull straight forward until your Butt is at the point where you need to turn, THEN turn the wheel. Everyone is used to their car, where they are sitting behind the front wheels, and turning the front end before "their Butt" gets to the turn location. You need to turn your Pusher as mentioned here.
- Driving Gap: When on the road, try to keep at a 4 to 6 second gap between you and the vehicle in front of you. This is equivalent to 400-500 feet and is a safe stopping distance.
- Driving Speed: Try to keep your speed down on Interstate Highways, and drive at a 63 to 65 MPH speed and enjoy the trip and the scenery. If you drive at this speed, you will lose only 15 minutes in a 200 mile drive, and pick up as much as 2-2-1/2 MPG. And….Those people that keep passing you will pull in front of you, but will be long gone very quickly at the speeds they are driving.
- Steady Steering: If you are driving down the highway, and it seems that you are constantly turning the steering wheel left and right, try lifting your head and looking further down the road. You will find that you will be moving the steering wheel much less, and still maintaining your position in your lane.
- Looking Ahead: Try getting into the habit of looking 10 to 12 seconds down the road, so you will have more time to react to situations that arise that might require you to slow down, change lanes, etc.