Survival Guide For New RV Drivers

I remember my first RV rental. I was terrified when I first sat up in the seat and looked down at everything below me. Don’t worry, now you have a survival guide. Driving a RV is a lot like driving a car, at least on the interstate it is. There are just a few things you should know before you go. Read this new RV drivers guide to feel confident when you are on the road.

RV road trip. RV drivers guide,bend oregon
RV road trip travelling north from Bend in Oregon. Flickr: Emily Mills / CC BY-ND 2.0

New RV Drivers Guide

Get Comfortable

The first thing I do when I get behind the wheel of my RV is to make sure my seat and mirrors are adjusted perfectly. You want to make sure you can see all around you, have no blind spots and you will want to be comfortable. This will make it possible for you to enjoy the drive. I suggest that before you hit the road you should practice a bit in a parking lot before you depart.

Once you are comfortable and you head out on the road there are several more things you should be aware of. I was not sure how to center myself in the lane, but my rental agent told me to look 4-5 car lengths in front of me instead of trying to concentrate on the white and yellow lines directly beneath me. This was great advice!

Scenic Drive. RV drivers guide,Highway 24, Utah
Scenic Drive, Highway 24, Utah. Flickr: faungg’s photos / CC BY-ND 2.0

Mind Your Distance

In many RV rentals, you will find you are sitting in front of the front wheels of the vehicle. This make turning a challenge; especially when you factor in that you are driving a very long vehicle as well. You may not fit down narrow side roads or around the drive thru at your favorite fast food chain. When you are turning you will need to swing wide to accommodate your long length. You also need to go further out into the intersection before turning because your front wheels are behind you. This takes a bit of getting used to, but in no time you will have it mastered.

RV camping. RV drivers guide
RV camping. Flickr: Ark PP / CC BY 2.0

Measure Up!

You should always use a tape measure to take measurements of your RV. The spec sheets from the manufacturer do not include any accessories that may have been added. You are responsible for any damage caused by driving under bridges or other overhead obstacles. Sometimes I will drive under bridges late at night and I’m too tired to remember how tall the RV is. Write down the height you measured and keep it up front with you so you don’t have to remember how high the vehicle is. You should always slow down before going under bridges because the height that is written on the sign can also be wrong. Not only is your RV rental long and tall, it’s also wide. Many states have regulations that require you to get a special permit if you drive anything over 8 ½ feet long. Some states will only allow oversized vehicles to travel on the interstate. I always check the state regulations for every state I plan to visit on my trip so I can make advance preparations.

Stop when you need to. RV drivers guide,montana sign
Stop when you need to – Sign in Montana. Flickr: Christopher / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Now you have your RV drivers guide. So buckle up, put your sun glasses on, relax and enjoy your trip. See you on the Road!

About JaiTadeo

Jai started writing poetry and short stories at 7 - her grandmother being her very first editor and number one fan (until today). Now in her early thirties, she writes travel blogs and yes - still dream to travel to every country in the world before she's 40.

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