Is it hard to drive an RV? (25 essential tips)

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Is it hard to drive an RV? We will give you 25 practical tips for towing a vehicle or driving an RV.

Is it hard to drive an RV?

Experienced motorists tell us that it is not hard to drive an RV, however, for a newbie, it could pose a challenge. It is recommended that before driving an RV you familiarize yourself with its dimensions, as you must quickly get used to the vehicle and know in what space you can park or if a road is wide enough to fit on it.

High-end mobile homes can measure 1.90 m wide by 5 to 9 meters long, all depending on the model you choose.

Check that all internal parts are well fastened. Mobile homes have many drawers and compartments, which must be well secured to avoid unwanted accidents, likewise, check well that all doors are properly closed, that everything is well secured so that nothing causes harm to the driver and his passengers.

Everything that is inside the motorhome is usually heavy, such as the beds, the refrigerator, the kitchen, so, before driving the motorhome, try to balance the loads or weights, so that it does not wobble on the road, but remain stable. The latter is essential when the trip is to the mountain area

How to drive safely with an RV

Travelling with an RV is a unique experience as it provides a fantastic feeling of freedom. But driving a car that pulls one of these houses on wheels is not trivial. 

Differences in the vehicle’s response to acceleration, braking and cornering speeds due to the extra weight and increased aerodynamic drag make it necessary to drive particularly cautiously.

Experts in these areas give some tips to make an RV vacation both safe and fun.

  1. Check the vehicle: before starting the trip, it is necessary to verify that the operating conditions of both the car and the motor home are optimal.

The tire pressure of the RV is the first point to check. Fuel, water supplies according to the number of passengers, radio and spare batteries are, among others, elements that cannot be lacking.

  1. If you are towing a caravan, level the weight between both vehicles: above all, it is important not to increase the weight in the trunk of the car, as this would cause the height to drop and, consequently, problems in coupling with the trailer. This will give you a balanced centre of gravity that makes cornering easier.
  1. Safety on the journey: during the journey, all passengers must use seat belts and not go in beds. People who get dizzy easily should ride in the front seats of the motorhome or car.
  1. Don’t forget to check the emergency equipment, such as the fire extinguisher, first aid kit, and signalling tools before leaving.
  1. Be careful when braking: the extra weight of the motorhome modifies the minimum distance that the car requires to brake safely. It is recommended to maintain a distance equal to three cars with respect to the vehicle in front. And in overtaking, it must be taken into account that more meters will be necessary to carry out the manoeuvre.
  1. Reverse gear, slopes and crosswind: these are three events to which you must pay the utmost attention. On a slope, you have to use the first track or the slow track so as not to obstruct traffic.

When descending slopes, try to maintain a constant speed and use the engine brake as much as possible (engaging). And as for the reverse gear, the suggestion is to practice it as much as possible before the trip. 

The most advisable thing is to try to follow the behaviour of the trailer: if you turn to the right the driver of the car should do the same.

Crosswinds are a big problem for vehicles that are very tall in relation to their width. To avoid accidents, the secret is to keep a low centre of gravity and distribute the weight proportionally between the two vehicles.

  1.  Use the apps: GPS applications or those that help to find the easiest route or services of interest, such as restaurants, medical centres, hotels or police, are a good ally when driving with a motor home safely.

More essential tips for driving an RV

  •  The mirrors are essential. They can protrude up to 20 cm. the width of the motorhome. the further apart they are, the better.
  • It is advisable to periodically check the fastening of the hitch and the emergency grips.
  • Before leaving it is advisable to check the tire pressure and the tread wear. It is also important to check the water, oil and brake fluid levels of the towing vehicle.
  • The operation of the rear lights must be monitored (whoever has them). Red lights, stop lights, patent lights and blinkers are mandatory.
  • It is necessary to ensure that the drag never pushes the vehicle, but the car is the one that pulls: it is the golden rule to keep the whole stable.
  • Avoid dry braking, as well as abruptly reducing speed.
  •  When the weather conditions are adverse (rain, wind …), adjust the cruising speed.
  • Ideally, ride at a regular speed, and overtake only when it can be done safely and without danger.
  • When driving with a motor home, sharp steering turns and sudden accelerations should be avoided.
  • If an obstacle on the road other than a person (for example, a dog or another animal) suddenly appears, break as much as possible …, but without taking excessive risks. In no case should the driver swerve in a pious impulse, since the consequences for the people travelling in the vehicle could be more regrettable.
  • In the city and especially on a narrow street – which should be avoided on our rural routes – never stick to a parked car when you have to leave space for another vehicle to pass in the opposite direction because it will be much more difficult to get out.
  • It is advisable that, in the beginning, the reversing manoeuvres are practised on wide and open surfaces (free field, wide or little frequented parking, etc.), in order to become familiar with the ABCs of this type of driving.
  • Before starting the movement backwards, it is necessary to locate the possible obstacles that may be behind the motorhome (a ledge, a stake, a steep drop …), so that we can act accordingly and avoid them.
  • It is advisable, in this type of manoeuvre, to have the collaboration to point out obstacles and manoeuvre calmly and cautiously. If the occasional helper is an expert, obey the instructions given to you to move the steering wheel: he, from his position, sees the manoeuvre better than you.
  • Always manoeuvre slowly, calmly. To rush is to start over.
  • When you are about to carry out a manoeuvre, do not mind backing up and moving forward as many times as necessary to leave the car-trailer set in line: never try to obtain a large turning angle with a single manoeuvre.
  • It is advisable to select before the start of a trip places with large and safe parking spaces: they will facilitate the pertinent manoeuvre and will avoid both headaches and losses of time looking for a suitable parking space.
  • Although the frontal wind is not dangerous for the stability of the caravans, it is dangerous for the pocket … if we insist on maintaining a constant speed (gasoline consumption is high in these circumstances). However, this does not mean that you have to drive too slowly: it would cause annoying motorhome and would cause overtaking that could be dangerous, especially on dates of heavy traffic.
  • However, if the wind blows continuously to the rear – as long as it is not strong – the opposite happens: it could jeopardize your stability if you are not attentive. In such situations beware of back wind gusts as they push the caravan and the caravan eats the car. Reduce speed in such cases.
  •  If the winds are very strong (the areas where they can occur are usually marked with the classic airbags), the most prudent thing is to stop and wait for them to subside.

Final reminder

Each driver has his way of driving and his cruising speed with which he is comfortable. Do not change these habits by riding near a fellow traveller. Safety is even more important than the company!

Please let us know if you have any suggestions or questions on the content. 

FAQ on Is it hard to drive an RV?

How to drive with a motor home?

To drive with a motor home, you have to know the following tips:

  1. Know its dimensions. It is as basic as it is fundamental.
  2. Spread the load evenly. 
  3. Avoid overtaking.
  4. Drive at a steady speed. 
  5. If there is a strong wind, slow down. 
  6. Use the side mirrors. 
  7. Do not leave loose items inside.

How many people can fit in an RV?

RVs can be better than a hotel. Depending on their size and style, you can find them with a bathroom, kitchen and space to accommodate a maximum of eight people or take your pet with you.

How does a camper work?

The camper has a 200 amp auxiliary battery that can be recharged in the following ways: By starting the vehicle’s engine. Through the charging cable, in conventional power outlets (campsites, motorhome areas, etc.). 

References 

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