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Driving an RV on the open road can be a challenge even to the best drivers, as the sheer size and bulk of your rolling home will present difficulties that would not be encountered in most cars or trucks. And of course, as you go you have to try to blend in with vehicles that are much smaller and more agile on the highway. So good road etiquette and planning is needed to insure as safe a trip as possible.
RV travel tips for staying safe on the road:
- Take it easy. Being in a rush in a motorhome or RV is one of the worst ideas possible. They just don’t lend themselves to being driven aggressively and fast. If you think about it, you are taking your home, putting it on wheels and driving it down the highway, so don’t expect more from it than you really should as you travel. This can be tough for impatient travelers, but you have to get into the RV mindset and stop pushing so hard. Very often a safe driving speed that still covers a good deal of ground is one that is about 10 miles per hour under the speed limit. It’s not usually slow enough to create any major problems for those who wish to go faster, and yet it still gets the job done in reasonable time.
- Plan your trips. Planning in advance can avoid most of the possible problems that could be encountered on the road. For instance, if possible try to stay off interstates and highways that are known for high speed traffic, especially while going through large cities at rush hour. Just look for alternate routes that may afford you better scenery anyway.
- Avoid bad weather. If bad weather comes up, slow down. Large RVs and motorhomes don’t take to bad weather and especially high winds very well, so don’t try to push it. Consider getting off the road until the weather passes. It’s better to live and travel another day than to force a risky situation.
- Avoid steep grades. Of course, there are some spots in the country where it’s almost impossible to completely avoid them, but do your best to take alternate routs if possible even if they take you out of your way. Steep uphill climbs and downhill traverses can put a lot of stress on a motorhome and if you tow another vehicle behind, it can be even more problematic. If you do decide to drive the hills anyway, take it slow, ignore all the other folks passing you and pull over frequently to rest and calm your nerves often.
- Don’t back up a motorhome while the towing vehicle is still attached. Unless you are a very experienced trucker you will most likely have way too much to worry about. Instead, unhook your tow vehicle and park it safely to the side, then be sure to have someone help guide you as you back up to make sure that you do so safely.
Driving an RV is like anything else, the more you do it the better you will get at it. But new RVers should pay special attention to these RV travel tips and driving safety as they learn their rig and get more used to this wonderful way of travel.