An RV is substantially wider, longer, and heavier than an auto. These differences call for special driving procedures.
Get the big picture
- Maintain a 360-degree zone awareness at all times
- Make frequent mirror checks
- Hone your anticipatory skills
- Check and predict actions of all road users
Make sure others see you
- Ensure that all lights are operational
- A clean RV is easier to see than a dirty one
- Use strategic lane positioning—be where you should be
- Use headlights
Keep your eyes on the move
- Scan aggressively and selectively
- Check ditches for wild animals and other potential dangers
- Watch for upcoming hazards
- Glance at the speedometer and other gauges
- Check traffic lights for “stale” or “fresh”
Drive like a trucker
- Gear down when you see “Steep Grade Ahead” sign
- Ensure that your automatic transmission is NOT repeatedly up-shifting and down-shifting
Move over or slow down
- Be prepared for any possibility when you see a vehicle stopped by the roadside. If possible, move to another lane until you have passed the stopped vehicle.
- To protect police officers, emergency workers, and occupants of stopped vehicles along the highways, most states and provinces have passed laws that require motorists to move out of a lane that’s adjacent to one with an emergency vehicle whenever safely possible. If it’s not possible to change lanes, then you’re required to slow down.
What lane to drive in?
When driving on a freeway with three or more lanes of traffic going in each direction, you may want to drive in the lane that is immediately to the left of the far right lane. You’ll not need to slow down or move over to allow traffic in from the merge lanes, and you’re not running a blockade in the fast lane.
When driving on a freeway with three or more lanes and a semi ahead of you changes lanes, the chances are good that the trucker knows something about road conditions ahead that you don’t know. You may want to change lanes, too.
DO NOT back up a motorhome while the toad is still attached
If your motorhome is towing a car, never back up—you may damage the connection. Unhook the towed vehicle first, and move it out of the way
- RVers should compensate for their extra weight, height, and length when cornering by slowly approaching the turn
- As you complete the turn ensure that you don’t straighten before the entire vehicle has cleared all obstacles
- Since RVs are heavier than passenger vehicles they require a greater braking distance—allow more time for your recreational vehicle to slow down or stop
- On downgrades, use your lower gears to assist the engine in slowing the RV.
- As a general rule, descend a major incline in the same gear or one gear lower than you used to climb the hill
- Bad weather conditions such as wind, driving rain, fog, sleet, snow, and ice are hazards for all drivers
- Slow down in high crosswinds
- Avoid driving when weather and road conditions make travel treacherous
- When the temperature drops, wet roads often become icy and dangerous
Experience is a key. The best way to become a good RV driver is by practice.
Remember, safety is no accident.
Take your time.