10 RV Driving Tips

Most RVs are not particularly difficult to drive but there are a few things to keep in mind that will make your travels safer and more enjoyable. The majority of drivers can adapt quite well to the increased size, height, and weight of an RV, but keeping alert, planning ahead, and driving cautiously remain top priority in the safe handling of your vehicle.

Drive with care and arrive at your destination safely. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Drive with care and arrive at your destination safely. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Check Lights Before Traveling

  • Prior to starting your day’s travel check the functioning of all signal lights, 4-way flashers, brake lights, and head lights

Mirror Adjustments

  • Adjust the side-view mirrors to barely see the side of your RV
  • Adjust the convex mirrors to include blind spots, keeping in mind that distances may be distorted
  • Check your mirrors every 30 seconds
  • Ensure that you’re driving within the painted lines
  • Be aware of the traffic behind you and whether they are keeping up with you, preparing to pass, or falling back

Look Well Ahead

  • DO NOT overdrive your visibility
  • 90% of all driving decisions are visual based

Leave Yourself an Out

  • Determine the lane of least resistance and safety
  • Maintain safe following distances
  • Leave room to change lanes when stopping behind another vehicle
  • Is there a way out of here?
  • DO NOT drive your RV into any place that you can’t see a way out of—especially if that RV is a large motorhome towing a car
Drive with your headlights on to make your RV more visible to other road users. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Drive with your headlights on to make your RV more visible to other road users. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Navigating Large Cities

  • Plan your trip in advance so that you can avoid going through large cities during morning or late afternoon rush hour
  • The best time to drive through major cities is early Sunday morning—during the workweek, you’re best to travel between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Follow the Rule of 20 Percent

  • Fully loaded RVs have slower acceleration and take longer to come to a full stop than autos
  • To compensate, add 20 percent to everything you do, from increasing your following distance and judging if you have enough clearance to safely merging into traffic.

Know & Post Your Height, Width & Length

  • A major insurance claim is RVs hitting gas station overhangs, underpasses, and bridges
  • Solution: Post your exterior height, width, and total length in the motorhome or tow vehicle where it can easily be seen while driving
  • Height: Measure to the highest point such as air conditioner or satellite dish
  • Width: Measure to the outermost points such as mirrors, awnings, or handles
  • Length: Measure from the front of the vehicle to the end of the towed vehicle or trailer
Learn the road signs, and what their different shapes and colors mean. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Learn the road signs, and what their different shapes and colors mean. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

One Hour Rest Stop Walk-Around

Visually inspect your tow hitch connections and check for overheated and low tires every time you stop at a rest stop or refueling location. Pranksters have been known to remove pins from the hitch. Perform a walk-around that covers these visual points:

  • Check to ensure that tires have not overheated
  • Check tow bar or hitch and safety cables
  • Ensure that hitch pins or bolts are still in place
  • Check to ensure that the wiring harness is connected securely
  • Look under the chassis for signs of oil or coolant leaks
  • Check storage bay doors

Turn Signals

  • Turn signals are valuable for communicating your intentions to other drivers; if you don’t signal, other drivers have no way of knowing what you plan to do
  • In an emergency pull completely off the road and use emergency flashers, flares, or some other emergency signaling device to warn oncoming traffic
Drive carefully and arrive safely at your destination. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Drive carefully and arrive safely at your destination. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Remember, Safety Is No Accident

Worth Pondering…

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

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