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Old 08-19-2018, 11:21 PM   #1
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Tips for first time drivers

Okay, my wife and I are headed to our dealer 800 miles away in the next 4 weeks to pickup our brand new gas Tiffin motorhome. Although I have pulled a travel trailer, I have never driven a motorhome. I sat in the drivers seat and WOW it feels big and wide. We are a little nervous about driving our coach home. Any experienced drivers out there that can provide us some tips? We'd hate to wreck our new baby on its maiden voyage.

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Old 08-19-2018, 11:48 PM   #2
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It’s understandable but the biggest piece of advice I can give you is to TAKE YOUR TIME! Do not rush a turn, merging, etc... when you are driving dont get fixated on the shoulder or the centerline, it will cause you to drift in that direction. Look straight ahead, watch your turns.. give the back of the RV room to turn and it will track inside the front wheels and the rear of the RV will swing out.. lots of stop signs have died in vane because of short turns...

Again, take your time and don’t rush the maneuvering ... it may get you honked at but it will save you possibly damaging your rv or others property

Mark
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Old 08-20-2018, 01:50 AM   #3
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Tips for first time drivers

Whenever possible, use a spotter and make sure you can always see them in your mirrors or camera.

Take it slow and remember that a speed limit is just that, the fastest you can legally go, not the slowest.

Spend some time in an empty parking lot to get an idea of turning radii, both forward and in reverse.

Download and look over a CDL handbook from your stateís DMV, here is a link for the one from Texas https://www.dps.texas.gov/internetforms/Forms/DL-7C.pdf

Otherwise have fun with it, just remember itís size and weight, asking questions like this is a much better start than just hopping in with no forethought.

Oh yeah, and what he said too.
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Old 08-20-2018, 01:55 AM   #4
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There are a number of helpful youtube videos on the subject, I would suggest you spend some time watching them.
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Old 08-20-2018, 06:12 AM   #5
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with the long overhang in the back you must be careful when turning as the back end swings out quite a bit.
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Old 08-20-2018, 06:16 AM   #6
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It can be daunting for sure. Do look at the multiple u-tube videos on driving and how to make turns, and setting your mirrors. Your dealer should also take you out on a "test" drive to make sure you are comfortable with the controls, turning, breaking and such.
Motor homes come with a long learning curve but usually only steep in the beginning.
Remember to take it slow and you should do fine.
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Old 08-20-2018, 01:49 PM   #7
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All good advice. I would add that when traveling in traffic, leave extra room between you and the vehicle ahead of you. Cars and pickups can stop much faster than you will be able to stop your motorhome, so give plenty of room ahead. Be relaxed, but keep your guard up. Car drivers around you can and will do some pretty stupid maneuvers not realizing how it could affect a much larger motorhome. If you can, find an empty parking lot to drive around in for a short while. Watch the line and notice where your rear wheels track when making turns. It's not the same as on the road, but can be helpful to a newby. Finally, when on the road, check both outside mirrors to get a feel for where you are in your lane. Once you find the center of the lane using the mirrors to confirm, look ahead to see how it relates to what you see out front. Then drive with your eyes out front a couple hundred feet. You'll soon be a pro and it will all be automatic.
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Old 08-20-2018, 01:54 PM   #8
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It's not bad depending how big your rig is we flew 1800 miles to pick up ours first day driving was hard trying to keep it in the lane after a few days it was easy
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Old 08-20-2018, 02:00 PM   #9
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Best thing I've learned is NOT to start your turn before your hips are past the turning point. Remember, the wheels on a class A are behind you, not out front like we're used to.
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Old 08-20-2018, 05:15 PM   #10
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One other bit of advice here, don't push yourselves, if you feel you are getting fatigued pull off the road, take a break, even spend the night, regardless if that is after 50, 150, 250 miles. When I bought my coach 1,100 miles away from home, I flew down and picked it up the same day, leaving home for the airport at 2 am, pulling out of the sellers driveway at 3:30 pm. I drove about 50 miles to a campground that day, and that was the hardest day's drive in the 10,000 + miles I have put on my coach since. It was all interstate to the campground, with construction at nearly every interchange (no surface highway option), I would pull off every 5-10 miles catch my breath and pull back onto the road. Day 2 went a bit better, I got off the interstate after about 30 miles, being tired of being blown around by passing trucks and those narrow construction zones with concrete barriers on both sides, Day 2 was 170 miles in about 10 hours of driving, though that did include a couple stops at Wal-Mart stores to buy supplies (sheets, towels, pots pans, food, etc.) again I was glad to stop. Day 3 was better, it was part I-10, part 2 and 4 lane highways, long day started at sunrise, 290 miles that day driving until sunset, though there was an unplanned break a noon, a nearly 4 hour stand still traffic jam outside Tallahassee FL, due to someone flipping a travel trailer and blocking all westbound lanes. Day 4 was another long one, where I should have stopped earlier than I did, but I was pushing it to get to a free place to stay for the night (family property, just a few hours from home) 420 miles with the last 45 minutes after dark. I really should have stopped around the 300 mile mark that day, but I didn't, I made it but the last hour or so was tough.
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Old 08-20-2018, 05:32 PM   #11
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I saw a suggestion once on here that resting your elbows on the armrest and hands on wheel will react more slowly. It was a great suggestion. More thoughts in the link. Good luck. You'll do fine after a few miles.


Newbie observations
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Old 08-20-2018, 05:40 PM   #12
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The one thing I struggled with at first was figuring out whether I was in my lane or not, since you don't have a hood in front of you for reference like you do when driving your car.

The thing that helped me the most was looking further down the road. Don't focus right in front of your vehicle, look down the road and put yourself in the left wheel track.
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Old 08-20-2018, 06:00 PM   #13
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Your rear wheel is the pivot point for your coach, meaning wait until your rear wheel is clear of the curb before turning. I like to watch my rear wheel in the mirror and make sure I don't clip the curb in a corner. It's easier than trying to explain it. The RVGeeks on youtube have a nice training video and explaining the "pivot" point.

Here is the video
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Old 08-20-2018, 06:11 PM   #14
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Another couple of tips for staying in your lane from a old truck driver. Drive with your right foot on the "oil line" on the payment. Learn to watch your left hand mirror to watch the lane markings. Make sure you have the best possible multi directional mirrors...........will keep you safe from pulling left into someone and also help keep you in the correct lane.
RELAX!!!!!
You will be fine!
Take your time and try to stick to rural interstates as much as possible. ALSO measure your height!!!! Write it down on a index card and tape it to the dash
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