Any type of large vehicle can be difficult to drive comfortably and safely, but it’s especially true of RVs. They ride higher and longer, go slower, and don’t have the same access to views that we’re used to in a car or truck. Because this is the case, it’s important to keep in mind a few of the basic safety tips when you’re driving an RV. While the more experienced in the RV crowd may find these tips fairly obvious, they’re good to keep in mind during your travels, regardless of your experience level.
Mirrors, Cameras, & Blind Spots
RVs are just flat out large vehicles and because of that, there are a lot more blind spots and limited viewing compared to other vehicles. Make sure you’re aware of all the blind areas around the RV before you start driving by taking a look at the mirrors and familiarizing yourself with any cameras. You’ll want to make sure that mirrors are correctly positioned so that you have the maximum viewable space possible and you don’t want to have to figure out a camera while you’re backing up. Again, these are simple things, but they cannot be stressed enough when it comes to safely operation an RV.
In addition to being larger than a standard vehicle, RVs are also much heavier, which means you’ll need to get used to braking earlier. For larger RVs such as class A motor homes, they may have air brakes which could take some getting used to as well. Again, extra time is your friend when driving an RV so make sure you keep extra distance between yourself and other vehicles on the road and brake early, both so that you have plenty of time to stop, and so that those behind you know to brake as well.
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Take Turns Slowly
Just as it’s important to give yourself plenty of time and room to brake, you need to do the same with turns. RVs ride much higher than other vehicles and can tip if you take a turn too quickly. They’re also much more subject to wind conditions due to the increased surface space, which can also affect your ability to take turns. When it comes to any change of direction, approach it cautiously and be sure to slow down enough that the vehicle can handle it easily and a level that you’re comfortable with.
Watch the Weather
We mentioned wind in the paragraph above and it’s something you should always be aware of when driving an RV. Even a semi truck passing you on the highway can cause a gust that can throw you slightly off course, so you need to be conscious of wind and weather at all times. While it may be fine to drive in light wind and rain, you don’t want to be stuck behind the wheel of an RV or motor home in a complete downpour or really heavy winds. One of the benefits of an RV is that you can pull over and find safety just about anywhere and bad weather is a good reason to do it.
Give It A Test Run
Even if you have plenty of experience driving RVs, it’s important to give it a test run before you hit the open road, which goes double if you’re a new or first time driver. Not only does a test run give you a chance to reacquaint yourself with the vehicle, but you can also make sure that there are no mechanical issues. A general tune up is always recommended before long road trips, of course, but a short ride can be a good way to get comfortable in the RV before a lengthy drive.