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Moving a Motorhome: A Beginner’s Guide to RV Driving

American roads are filled with more RVs than ever before right now. According to the RV Industry Association, there are more than 10 million RV owners all across the country.

If you’ve been thinking about buying an RV and traveling the country in it, the only thing stopping you might be the thought of driving it. It can be intimidating climbing behind the wheel to do RV driving.

It will take time for you to get used to driving an RV, especially if you’re planning on driving a class A motorhome. But it’s not as difficult as you might think to do it.

Check out some tips that will keep you and your passengers safe when you’re out on the road in your RV.

Begin by Taking an RV Driving Course

Did you purchase your RV from a private seller? If so, they’re probably not going to include RV driving lessons in the sale price.

But if you bought your RV from a dealership, they could very well throw in driving lessons when you make a purchase through them. Take full advantage of it and enroll in a driving course so that you feel 100 percent comfortable maneuvering around in your RV.

When you take an RV driving course, you’ll learn:

  • What you need to check before you turn your RV on
  • How to adjust your RV’s mirrors so that you can see everything around you
  • What to do when you’re making turns or changing lanes
  • How much separation you need between your RV and other vehicles on the highway
  • How to park your RV and how to back up out of a parking spot

There are also more advanced driving courses for those who want to learn more about driving, parking, and even maintaining their RV.

Practice Driving on Your Own

Once you have a decent feel for how to drive an RV, spend at least a few hours practicing your RV driving on your own.

Take your RV out to a big, empty parking lot and take it for a spin. Repeat this process several times before you plan your first big RV trip. 

Recognize Your RV’s Weight and Height

The average Class A motorhome weighs anywhere from 13,000 pounds all the way up to 30,000 pounds. It’ll also stand anywhere from 10 feet to 13 feet tall.

It’s important for you to recognize the weight and height of your RV and realize how it’ll impact the way you drive.

Since your RV is so heavy, it’s going to take a lot longer for you to bring it to a complete stop than it would take in a regular car. Since it’s very tall, it’s also going to hit anything overhead if there isn’t enough clearance.

You’ll need to be mindful of these things when you’re on the road. You’ll want to give cars around you plenty of space in case you need to stop on a dime and stay away from low bridges, signs, trees, and more.

Prepare for the Demands of RV Driving

In the weeks leading up to your RV’s maiden voyage, it’s not a bad idea for you to hit the gym hard. Specifically, you should spend time working out your arms, shoulders, and back.

When you’re driving down an open highway in perfect weather conditions, your RV won’t take much of a toll on you. But if you’re always turning your RV or pushing back against strong winds, you’re going to feel the burn.

You’re also going to find that you get tired when you spend just a few hours behind the wheel of your RV. Your mind and body will be put to the test by your RV, which will cause you to become fatigued before long.

It’s why you should always travel with at least one other person while driving an RV. You can take turns driving and prevent burning yourself out.

Be Careful Turning Your RV

Straight roads will be your best friend when you’re driving an RV. As long as you’re on them, you won’t have to worry about making turns.

But there will obviously be times when you’ll have to make turns prior to reaching your final destinations. It’ll be up to you to learn how to navigate those turns while taking an RV’s wide turning radius into account.

Any time you’re making a turn in an RV, you should always leave yourself plenty of room to do it. You want to steer clear of coming anywhere close to pedestrians, other vehicles, poles, signs, and anything else that could cause an accident.

Avoid Backing Up at All Costs

You can put an RV into reverse and back up. But why in the world would you want to?

There might be certain times when you have no choice but to back up your RV. For example, if you’re backing up into a spot at an RV campground, that’s a good time to put your reversing skills to the test.

But otherwise, you’re going to put your RV and everything else around you at risk when you back up unnecessarily. Keep your RV moving forward, not backward, more often than not.

Rely on the Right RV Battery

Nothing will derail an RV trip quite like a dead battery. You won’t be able to drive or use anything inside of your RV until you replace it.

More and more RV owners are relying on lithium batteries like the ones found at https://www.lithiumbatterypower.com/blogs/news/on-the-road-again-choosing-the-best-lithium-battery-for-your-rv. They last longer than other batteries and won’t require much maintenance out on the road.

Start Driving Your RV All Over the Place Today

When you first start driving your new RV, you’re going to be apprehensive. You’re going to stress out about making turns, backing up out of spots, and staying steady in the center lane.

But these anxious feelings will begin to go away once you master RV driving. And when they do, you’ll slip into your happy place every time you climb behind the wheel of your RV.

Read our blog to find out about some of the maintenance steps and repairs you’ll need to make to keep your RV going.