Chances are, your motorhome is one of the largest vehicles you’ve ever driven. It is perfectly natural to feel a bit nervous. Make safety a priority and keep reading for key things to keep in mind when driving a motorhome for the very first time.
Know Your Size
Underestimating the dimensions of your vehicle is one of the most common causes of accidents involving motorhomes. It’s incredibly important to be aware of your size at all times. Know your height so you can avoid routes with low-hanging bridges and know your width so you can properly calculate turns and avoid collisions with other vehicles. You can find these dimensions in your owner’s manual, on the manufactures website, or by measuring the motorhome yourself.
One of the first things you’ll want to do before driving your motorhome is to get comfortable with the driver’s seat and controls. Move your seat so you can comfortably reach the pedals, familiarize yourself with the location of all the controls, and adjust the side mirrors so you can see properly, as you would with a new car.
Distribute Your Weight
Another important safety consideration is the weight of your motorhome and its cargo. Overloading your RV is not only incredibly unsafe, but it can also result in heavy fines if you get stopped at a highway weigh scale. Overweight motorhomes are more difficult to steer, harder to slow down and bring to a stop, and can occasionally result in a blown tire. Distribute weight evenly when driving your motorhome to maximize safety and avoid putting strain on the tires!
Practice Makes Perfect
Practice turning and backing up your motorhome in a safe location before you head off on your first adventure. Choose an empty parking lot or a quiet city street to practice on, and do it as many times as it takes until you feel comfortable and in control!
Get Out And Look
In a motorhome, you usually have only your side mirrors to guide you if you want to back up, which can be difficult, even for experienced drivers. If you have to back up, remember the acronym G.O.A.L. (Get Out And Look). Even if your motorhome is equipped with a backup camera, it’s still best practice to follow this directive to know what you’re backing into.
Take It Slow
And finally, take it slow! Not only will slowing down help you enjoy the journey more, but it’ll also make your trip much safer.
Drive slower than you normally would, especially when turning corners or driving through mountainous areas.