RV Park Reviews

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

> Driving A Bus, Driving tips for Big Motorhomes
Webmaster
post Apr 12 2013, 11:17 PM
Post #1


Administrator
******

Group: Admin
Posts: 232
Joined: 18-March 03
Member No.: 1



I was searching around on the site, and I don't see where this topic has ever come up, so I thought I would mention a few things I've learned while driving our motorhome, and hopefully other can share their tidbits as well. When we purchased the first coach I was pretty nervous about driving it, and rightfully so it was much bigger than anything I had ever driven.

Here are my short list of tips:

On mine if you're in the drivers seat and aim the mirrors down so you can see the side marker lights, the motorhome will pivot where you see the side marker light when backing up. You should test this as it probably does not apply to all motorhomes. It's about the same if I open the window and look back at the marker light.

Along with that make sure you look up and down when backing up and check all clearances when traveling, these motorhomes can be pretty tall. It's a good idea to print your max height and stick it in view of the driver, so you can always have it to check against when you see a clearance sign.

When your at a red light turning left on a multi-lane road, make sure there are no cars tight on the right of you as your tail can swing wide right and take one out.

Keep your eyes way down the road, and be ready for anything.


--------------------
Webmaster
RV Park Reviews
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
 
Reply to this topicStart new topic
Replies(1 - 12)
Texasrvers
post Apr 12 2013, 11:44 PM
Post #2


Advanced Member
******

Group: Admin
Posts: 3600
Joined: 6-March 06
Member No.: 5452



QUOTE(Webmaster @ Apr 13 2013, 12:17 AM) *
When your at a red light turning left on a multi-lane road, make sure there are no cars tight on the right of you as your tail can swing wide right and take one out.



All good suggestions, and let me add this. If there is a double left turn lane, try to get in the one on the outside (right lane). It is much easier to turn left from that lane, but also consider how soon you will need to make another left turn. You usually can't get out of the right lane very quickly.
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
docj
post Apr 13 2013, 12:49 AM
Post #3


Advanced Member
******

Group: Members
Posts: 812
Joined: 4-July 10
Member No.: 45503



Although these are all good suggestions, IMHO they are examples of why drivers of large motorhomes should be required to obtain Class B licenses to drive them. I took a 5-day a week 3-week course to obtain a CDL in preparation for getting my MH. I learned to drive my "training" vehicle (a 36' straight truck with a stick shift) so well that I have no trouble backing my MH using only its mirrors for literally hundreds of feet and can parallel park it, if necessary. With a good driving course all these tips and many more become second nature rather than something you read about.

I'm not advocating that everyone should have as much training as I had, but IMHO it made me a better MH driver than I would have been without it. Even though CDLs are not required for MH drivers, understanding the key inspection points in a vehicle pre-trip walk-around could keep you some day from driving an unsafe vehicle. Furthermore, I think it is unconscionable to let MH drivers operate air brake-equipped vehicles with no air brake training even though air brakes are considered an additional endorsement to a CDL. One of the most valuable parts of my course was a section on Defensive Driving for Drivers of Large Vehicles.

IMHO driving a big vehicle isn't difficult, it is a skill that has to be mastered with practice like any other new skill. The problem as I see it is that MH owners are permitted in many states to purchase vehicles without ever having practiced driving them beforehand. I think it is commendable that an increasing number of states are now requiring higher class licenses for owners of large RVs. IMHO it's about time!


--------------------
Joel Weiss
2000 Beaver Patriot Thunder--Cat C12
2014 Honda CR-V EX-L toad
WiFi Ranger Ambassador
RVParkReviews.com Administrator
Share our adventures at: Weiss Travels
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Denali
post Apr 13 2013, 10:10 AM
Post #4


Advanced Member
******

Group: Members
Posts: 1062
Joined: 11-January 05
From: Fulltime traveler
Member No.: 2163



Ron Jones, a friend of mine who writes books about travel and RVing in particular, had a suggestion that has saved our bacon several times:

Using a label maker, I made labels that tell me the height, weight, and width (including mirrors) of our motor home, in both English and metric units. I stuck these on the face of the speedometer.

Especially when driving in Canada and Mexico, being to tell instantly whether we can go over that bridge with a 15,000 kg weight limit or 3.6 meter height limit is pretty important. Even when driving in the US we have come across two bridges that were too low for us by an inch or so.

Here's us on a side road off the Natchez Trace Parkway with our 12'2" high motor home:
Oops


--------------------
Dave Rudisill
Fulltimer since 2002
2004 Beaver Monterey
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Texasrvers
post Apr 13 2013, 10:35 AM
Post #5


Advanced Member
******

Group: Admin
Posts: 3600
Joined: 6-March 06
Member No.: 5452



We were totally surprised when we purchased our first motorhome that Texas did not require any special training whatsoever to drive it. We would have welcomed a course that taught us the things we needed to master in order to drive safely. Course now we are 13 years down the road and can say that we have never had an accident in the coach and have never gotten it into a bad situation height-wise. I'm sure a lot of luck was involved so knock on wood. Even now I think we would benefit from a defensive driving course. I am comfortable with our routine driving skills, but you never know what someone else is going to do (like pulling out in front of us because they do not want to get stuck behind us), and they never understand that our coach canít be stopped on dime.

Stay safe everyone.
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
docj
post Apr 13 2013, 11:24 AM
Post #6


Advanced Member
******

Group: Members
Posts: 812
Joined: 4-July 10
Member No.: 45503



QUOTE(Denali @ Apr 13 2013, 12:10 PM) *

Ron Jones, a friend of mine who writes books about travel and RVing in particular, had a suggestion that has saved our bacon several times:

Using a label maker, I made labels that tell me the height, weight, and width (including mirrors) of our motor home, in both English and metric units. I stuck these on the face of the speedometer.

Especially when driving in Canada and Mexico, being to tell instantly whether we can go over that bridge with a 15,000 kg weight limit or 3.6 meter height limit is pretty important. Even when driving in the US we have come across two bridges that were too low for us by an inch or so.

Here's us on a side road off the Natchez Trace Parkway with our 12'2" high motor home:
Oops


Although it doesn't include all possible roads, we have a Garmin "trucker" GPS (the 465T) into which we program our vehicle height, axle weights, etc. It's a good first line of defense and, for the most part, keeps us out of those situations. These limits are active even if the GPS is not being used in a route-guidance mode. So it will tell me things like "a mile further down this road it is truck-restricted".

There is a newer Garmin version which has an option for an RV rather than just a "truck." This would help avoid situations in which ours tells us not to go down a specific road because of truck restrictions that are not "size-based" but are simply "no through trucks" types of things.


--------------------
Joel Weiss
2000 Beaver Patriot Thunder--Cat C12
2014 Honda CR-V EX-L toad
WiFi Ranger Ambassador
RVParkReviews.com Administrator
Share our adventures at: Weiss Travels
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
docj
post Apr 13 2013, 12:08 PM
Post #7


Advanced Member
******

Group: Members
Posts: 812
Joined: 4-July 10
Member No.: 45503



QUOTE(Texasrvers @ Apr 13 2013, 12:35 PM) *

We were totally surprised when we purchased our first motorhome that Texas did not require any special training whatsoever to drive it. We would have welcomed a course that taught us the things we needed to master in order to drive safely. Course now we are 13 years down the road and can say that we have never had an accident in the coach and have never gotten it into a bad situation height-wise. I'm sure a lot of luck was involved so knock on wood. Even now I think we would benefit from a defensive driving course. I am comfortable with our routine driving skills, but you never know what someone else is going to do (like pulling out in front of us because they do not want to get stuck behind us), and they never understand that our coach canít be stopped on dime.

Stay safe everyone.


I assume you are aware that these days TX does require a non-commercial Class B license for motorhome operation. This matter has been extensively discussed on the Escapees Forum and I can even provide you with citations from the TX Transportation Code that define the requirement.

As for the defensive driving course, you have pretty well summed up the objective. It was, of course, designed for truck drivers and the basic message essentially was "you are driving a very big vehicle and if you hit someone you are likely to seriously injure or kill them, regardless of who is at fault; if you do your career will probably be over. Therefore, you need to drive defensively to prevent accident situations from happening."


--------------------
Joel Weiss
2000 Beaver Patriot Thunder--Cat C12
2014 Honda CR-V EX-L toad
WiFi Ranger Ambassador
RVParkReviews.com Administrator
Share our adventures at: Weiss Travels
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
John S.
post Apr 28 2013, 06:15 PM
Post #8


Advanced Member
******

Group: Members
Posts: 230
Joined: 2-November 03
Member No.: 207



Yup, TX does require a class band you need to show up with a licensed driver. I suggest the Nacogdoches area as they are very familar with the rules and do the test every week for a new FT owner it seems.


--------------------
John S.
2001 Foretravel U320
2007 Bornfree
Jeep Wrangler Toad
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Florida Native
post Apr 30 2013, 01:13 PM
Post #9


Advanced Member
******

Group: Members
Posts: 1075
Joined: 2-November 05
Member No.: 4762



Having a good copilot and listening to them is essential. I drive and my wife navigates and helps looking for potential problems. She says things like. "Got a blue car off the road, 1/4 mile on right." a few seconds later, I think he is moving, can you get over? This sort of team work really makes things safer. Safely driving a motor motor home is a two person job. Sometimes I drive by myself for short periods and I really can tell the difference. When I took a short motor home course, he started with, You mirrors are you best friends, use them and know their strengths and limitations. It takes a while to get them set up properly. You know you have two on each side looking at different things.


--------------------
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Alessandro
post Apr 30 2013, 03:28 PM
Post #10


Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 21
Joined: 10-November 08
Member No.: 27397



QUOTE(Webmaster @ Apr 12 2013, 11:17 PM) *


When your at a red light turning left on a multi-lane road, make sure there are no cars tight on the right of you as your tail can swing wide right and take one out.

Keep your eyes way down the road, and be ready for anything.

I drive a 43' Dutch Star with a double rear axel.
The "tag axel dump" raises the wheels on the tag axel in order to make sharp turns. †The MH can make sharp turns and you have to make sure your clear of everything, or you can turn the back end into a fence, building, etc. Well, normally you are in the right lane in front of a light. Having said that, realize, you are BIG, so even a sharp right turn can cause trouble as you need space to do so. Any car on your LEFT side is a pain i.t.a.! I position my MH in the MIDDLE of the two lanes, simply to show to my fellow drivers, I need room to turn.
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
John S.
post May 3 2013, 06:07 AM
Post #11


Advanced Member
******

Group: Members
Posts: 230
Joined: 2-November 03
Member No.: 207



Lifting your tag mostly just saves it from scuffing. The drive wheels are your pivot point tag up or down. I have a tag as well and only lift it to back in never on the road driving even in a turn.


--------------------
John S.
2001 Foretravel U320
2007 Bornfree
Jeep Wrangler Toad
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Alessandro
post May 3 2013, 12:29 PM
Post #12


Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 21
Joined: 10-November 08
Member No.: 27397



QUOTE(John S. @ May 3 2013, 06:07 AM) *

Lifting your tag mostly just saves it from scuffing. The drive wheels are your pivot point tag up or down. I have a tag as well and only lift it to back in never on the road driving even in a turn.

Absolutely! This is actually what I mean. It saves your tires, too! The issue is to pay attention to the room one needs extra compared to shorter MH's with just one axel.
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
EastPAcamper
post Jun 20 2013, 04:41 PM
Post #13


Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 22
Joined: 6-July 06
From: Palmerton , PA
Member No.: 7292



QUOTE(docj @ Apr 13 2013, 02:49 AM) *

Although these are all good suggestions, IMHO they are examples of why drivers of large motorhomes should be required to obtain Class B licenses to drive them. I took a 5-day a week 3-week course to obtain a CDL in preparation for getting my MH. I learned to drive my "training" vehicle (a 36' straight truck with a stick shift) so well that I have no trouble backing my MH using only its mirrors for literally hundreds of feet and can parallel park it, if necessary. With a good driving course all these tips and many more become second nature rather than something you read about.

I'm not advocating that everyone should have as much training as I had, but IMHO it made me a better MH driver than I would have been without it. Even though CDLs are not required for MH drivers, understanding the key inspection points in a vehicle pre-trip walk-around could keep you some day from driving an unsafe vehicle. Furthermore, I think it is unconscionable to let MH drivers operate air brake-equipped vehicles with no air brake training even though air brakes are considered an additional endorsement to a CDL. One of the most valuable parts of my course was a section on Defensive Driving for Drivers of Large Vehicles.

IMHO driving a big vehicle isn't difficult, it is a skill that has to be mastered with practice like any other new skill. The problem as I see it is that MH owners are permitted in many states to purchase vehicles without ever having practiced driving them beforehand. I think it is commendable that an increasing number of states are now requiring higher class licenses for owners of large RVs. IMHO it's about time!


I do agree, I drove dump trucks from the time I was 16 to about 22 years of age, and I think people should have to take thier regular driving test is a single axle dump. It makes you much more aware of backing up, judgement to the ends of your vehicle, and a better sense of what kind of distance you need to stop. Maybe (I said "maybe"), maybe some people would not be so quick to pull out in front of the larger vehicles, if they only knew.
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post

Reply to this topicStart new topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 



Lo-Fi Version
RVParkReviews.com