The Top RV Driving Tips You Need to Stay Safe
How to Drive an RV or Motorhome (safely)
If you’ve driven down Interstate 70 (I-70) during the summer, you’ve seen how popular RVing is here in Colorado. It’s a great way to gather family and friends for some good old fashioned exploring, and everyone can settle comfortably into their new home away from home.
There’s more, though, to a successful RV or motorhome trip than loading up and hitting the road. If you’ve never captained one of these large vehicles before, here’s everything you need to know to stay safe.
Practice driving an RV before your big road trip
Driving an RV is nothing like driving a standard passenger car. If you’ve never driven one before, it pays to practice beforehand. Even if you don’t own your own RV and will be renting, you can always do daily rental from a local provider prior to your road trip.
When practicing your driving, be aware of the following:
- Turning. A long, wide vehicle requires extended, wide turns. Right turns are particularly tricky because they put you next to the curb. The trick is to keep an eye on the rear-view mirrors and stay as close to the center lane as possible.
- Parking. Having a buddy to help direct you into parking spots is a good system to use if you’re not comfortable. If you’re towing, remember that backing up turns the trailer in the opposite direction of the steering wheel. There’s also no shame in on moving to an easier spot.
- Braking. Stopping an RV requires more time and space, so keep a safe distance between your vehicle and other cars on the road. It is suggested that you stay at least 2 seconds behind on a regular vehicle, so in a recereation vehicle, you might want to make that a 10 second rule. Not sure how to figure that out? When the car in front of you passes a fixed object on the side of the road (say an electric pole or bridge), begin to count to ten and that’s as far back as you should drive.
- Be aware of lane positioning. RVs are wide, and it can be tricky to figure out if you’re in the lane properly. Until you become comfortable with how wide an RV is, use the side mirrors to check how close the back tires are to the lane markers. Staying in the right lane as much as possible is also a good idea, because traffic will be on the driver’s side.
- Take it slow. When maneuvering the RV, don’t let traffic stress you out. Take a deep breath and remember what you’ve practiced. Panicking only makes things worse for you and for other drivers.
When it’s time to refuel then watch more specifically for a truck stop. Standard gas stations just aren’t built for the size of large RVs and motorhomes.
Safety inside of an RV
Once you’re cruising down the road, make sure your passengers follow some safety rules as well:
- Remain seated while the RV is in motion. Bumps, abrupt braking, and other road hazards can all lead to injury.
- Buckle up! Most RVs and motorhomes have seat belts in the living area’s couch, though they may also be in an RV chair or recliner.
- Secure car seats properly. You may find that the front seat is the safest option, which is contrary to usual advice about car seats.
Now that you know how to safely drive an RV there is only one thing left to do: choose your next adventure spot.