If you don’t own a recreational vehicle yet, there’s a good chance you’ll own one soon–they’re exploding in popularity across the country. As a new RV owner, you might wonder, “Is driving an RV difficult?”
Driving an RV isn’t necessarily difficult, but it’s certainly different than driving a car. In addition to the size difference, there are a few things about RVs that new drivers might need some time to adjust to.
Once you know the common mistakes to look out for, driving an RV is as simple as driving any other vehicle. Read on to learn five errors to look out for when you get behind the wheel of your RV.
1. Overloading Your RV
Familiarize yourself with your RV’s cargo-carrying capacity. This is a measure of how much weight your RV can safely carry; it includes passengers, water, and anything else you put inside (or on top of) your RV.
Be careful not to exceed this weight limit. Doing so puts too much strain on your vehicle, leading to damage and increasing the odds of tire blowouts. More weight also makes the RV harder to control.
Your RV’s capacity will differ based on its class and model; click for more information on the different kinds of RV available.
2. Driving Too Fast
Even if your RV is within its cargo-carrying capacity limits, it’s still a large, heavy vehicle–naturally, it’s a bit harder to steer than, say, a small sports car. High speeds only make it more difficult to control.
Driving an RV in the mountains or on back roads–areas that may be narrow or poorly paved–can be tricky, too. Keeping things slow and steady protects you and the other drivers in the area.
3. Forgetting About Your Mirrors
Side mirrors are a crucial part of any vehicle, but they’re especially important on large vehicles like RVs. The increased size results in larger blind spots than you may be used to.
Adjust your mirrors as needed and check them often to minimize your blind spots.
4. Braking Too Late
You don’t need an RV driving license to understand the importance of learning when to brake. The last thing you want to do is accidentally hurtle through an intersection because you hit the brakes too late.
Keep in mind that RVs are big and heavy; they build up a lot of momentum even at low speeds. Brake early to give yourself the time you need to slow down.
5. Underestimating Tail Swing
One of the most important tips for driving an RV is to get accustomed to tail swing. Tail swing occurs in RVs that have a separate coach (as opposed to being a single, connected piece).
Tail swing is the distance that your coach moves in the opposite direction of your turn; if you make a left turn, for instance, your coach will initially move to the right.
If you don’t account for this when turning, you could end up hitting another vehicle.
Follow These Tips When Driving an RV
Driving an RV can be fun and relaxing when you know how to do it properly. Handling the vehicle takes some getting used to, but now that you’ve learned the ropes, you shouldn’t have any RV driving issues!
Once you know how to drive an RV, only one question remains: where will you go? Visit our travel blog for vacation ideas, travel tips, restaurant recommendations, and more!