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RV Driving and Towing Tips
With some practice, you can become a confident driver of your new RV. Whether you are thinking about purchasing a trailer and tow vehicle (or vice versa), or if you're new to the RVing lifestyle, here are a few RV driving and towing tips:
Experienced automobile drivers already have the skills to drive a motorized RV. Automatic transmissions, power brakes and steering are practically standard equipment.
With proper attention to the differences in vehicle size, height and weight, you will find getting behind the wheel of the conversion van or motorhome fun. If your RV is a towable, don't fear - towing skills are also readily acquired.
Adjust and use all rear view mirrors. Before leaving on a trip, sit in the driver's seat and adjust all mirrors for optimal road views.
Account for your vehicle size when turning. The front and rear wheels will track paths much farther apart that those of a car.
Allow more time to brake, change lanes and enter a busy highway since bigger vehicles take more time to accelerate and slow down.
Match the proper tow vehicle to your RV. Most full- and mid-size family cars can pull a trailer, so can many mini vans, 4x4s and light-duty trucks. Check the owner's manual to find the trailer types that your vehicle can haul and the maximum load weight it can pull. Use the right trailer hitch and make sure it is hitched correctly.
Connect brakes and signal lights. Always check that the trailer's brakes, turn signals and tail lights are synchronized with those of the tow vehicle.
Back up with care. By placing your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel, the trailer will move in the direction you turn your hand. To move the trailer to the right, move your hand to the right. Once the trailer is moving in the proper direction, avoid any sharp movements of the steering wheel. Slowly steer the vehicle into its desired direction. It is also a good idea to have someone outside the vehicle assist the driver in backing up to avoid any obstacles not seen in the mirrors. If another person is not available, the driver should inspect the area behind the vehicle. By evaluating the situation before backing, drivers can avoid surprises and accidents.
Whether you're driving a motorhome, van conversion or tow vehicle, make every trip a safer one by buckling up your safety belt and making sure passengers are secured, too. According to the National Safety Belt Coalition, wearing a safety belt is the single most effective thing you can do to prevent serious injury and death in a traffic accident.
Don't forget that your motorhome cannot always be immediately parked and left alone when you arrive at your destination.
Leveling your RV
is also an extremely important part of driving, especially when you're in an RV campground without a level pad.
Driving an RV doesn't have to be intimidating if you take the time to develop the necessary skills and concentrate on safety.