Driving a motor home opens up a new world of on-the-road travel
adventure. It requires no special license, and it's easier than
many newcomers think. Experienced automobile drivers already have
the skills to drive a motorized RV. Automatic transmissions, power
brakes and power steering are typical features.
GENERAL RV DRIVING TIPS
Adjust and use all rear view mirrors. As in any new vehicle,
before leaving on a trip, sit in the drivers seat and adjust all
mirrors for optimal road views.
Be aware that the driver sits higher in a motor home.
This is a distinct advantage because you can see farther and react
Allow more time and space for an RV. It takes significantly
longer for these bigger vehicles to accelerate, slow down and
stop. Therefore, do not follow too closely in traffic, and allow
more time to brake, change lanes and enter busy highways.
Be aware that the driver is farther to the left of the center
of the vehicle. This causes most drivers to drive too far
to the right side of the road. Be aware of this and make the necessary
Minimum height clearance is 11 feet in a motor home.
Be on alert to avoid hitting overhanging tree branches, carport
roofs and low canopies over filling stations, motels, etc. Finding
out the exact height of the RV you're driving is best.
Due to the length of the motor home, its turning radius is
greater. The front and rear wheels will track paths much farther
apart than those of a car. Also, when driving from a flat surface
up an incline or vice versa, the rear end will drag. Though the
motor home is built to handle most of these types of situations
with the built-in drag skids, driving very slowly will minimize
the possibility of any damage. Very steep inclines should be avoided
as damage may occur for which you will be held responsible.
Be aware that a motor home is buffeted by cross winds and
air currents created by passing trucks. Slow down your driving
speed when big trucks pass. Anticipate the wind effects and compensate
When backing up the vehicle use the mirrors and have someone
watch out the back window. In close quarters, have someone
give directions from outside, while you view things through a
side mirror. If another person is not available, the driver should
get out and inspect the area behind the vehicle. By evaluating
the situation before backing up, drivers can avoid surprises and
RV DRIVING IN THE MOUNTAINS
Watch the engine temperature carefully. If the engine overheats,
immediately pull off the right side of the road for the engine
to cool. Check the engine for coolant. Use low gear on inclines
where the transmission is repeatedly upshifting and downshifting.
The proper way to descend is to put the transmission in low gear,
thus avoiding the overuse of the brakes. If at any time it appears
that the brakes are fading, the vehicle should immediately be
stopped and the brakes allowed to cool before proceeding.
RV DRIVING ON GRAVEL ROADS
Motor homes operate reasonably well on dirt and gravel roads.
However, on such roads, gravel thrown up by oncoming traffic can
produce dents in the fiberglass or windshield damage.
RV DRIVING ON SLIPPERY ROADS
Motor homes are actually better at negotiating slippery road
conditions than are automobiles. The fact that a higher percentage
of the weight of the coach is on the rear wheels means that the
traction will be good. However, slow down and exercise caution
when you encounter slippery conditions. Traction may be better
due to weight, but if you start to slide, that same extra weight
will carry you further than a car.
RV DRIVING ON BACK COUNTRY ROADS
Motor homes are not suited for traveling on really rough roads.
These roads frequently wind through woods that have not been cleared
sufficiently to permit the huge bulk of a motor home to pass.
Also, due to the height of a motor home, any unevenness in the
road, especially side-to-side unevenness, may result in a constant
throwing about of all items stored in the upper part of the coach
and the possible tipping over of the vehicle.
RV DRIVING ON THE HIGHWAYS
Frequently, long lines of cars collect behind a motor home. When
this happens, the driver should pull off the road to let the cars
go by. If you do not do this, particularly daring drivers will
take dangerous risks to get by, and the motor home will be the
focal point of a potential accident.
RV DRIVING IN WINDY CONDITIONS
Motor homes, by their very nature, are high profile vehicles.
Like all such vehicles they are adversely affected by windy conditions.
If the wind is blowing, your best bet is to slow down. Speed and
wind make for very dangerous situations. Turn on the radio and
check for wind advisories. If the situations are dangerous (or
you see other high profile vehicles such as large trucks or other
motor homes pulled over to the side), pull over and wait for the
RV DRIVING IN FREEZING WEATHER
When the temperature drops, driving conditions change. In addition
to making roads icy (including the hard to see "black ice"),
cold weather may cause freezing of the vehicle. If the temperature
drops below freezing, the operations guide gives specific actions
to take to prevent damage to the vehicle systems. If you have
any questions, please call.
RV DRIVING SAFETY
When you're driving a motor home, make every trip a safer
one by buckling up your safety belt and making sure passengers
are also secure. Wearing a safety belt is the single most
effective thing you can do to prevent serious injury and death
in a traffic accident, according to the national safety Belt Coalition.
Besides, it's the LAW.
With proper attention to the differences in vehicle size, height
and weight you'll find it fun and easy to take the wheel of a
motor home. A motor home is not difficult to drive, however it
is substantially wider, longer and heavier than an automobile.
These differences do call for special driving procedures. The
procedures are easy to master and make your trip that much more
Your motor home vacation can be the experience of a lifetime.
These guidelines can help make it a safe one too.