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Old 07-18-2011, 10:20 PM   #1
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How do you learn to drive the motorhome of your dreams when you've never driven something that big before? Where do you practice?

Today I was on the highway in my minivan having to drive next to all these huge trucks and oversized loads thinking, "How would I do this in a Class A?"

Just getting started
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Old 07-18-2011, 10:25 PM   #2
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Start small and work your way up like I did!!
16' TT up to a 39' and now 41' MH. Easy as pie! Only took me 54 years!!!!!!!

2009 45' Magna 630 w/Cummins ISX 650 HP/1950 Lbs Ft
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Old 07-18-2011, 10:35 PM   #3
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Empty parking lots are the best place, Practice staying between the lines, the bigger lot the better. I drove from one corner to the other just trying to stay between the lines.
I drove big trucks in the Army but because they did not belong to me (So to speak) I was very relaxed, then I was taken to Downtown Stuttgart Germany and learned fast the old streets in Europe are not wide enough.
I don't think any of us ever get used to driving anything that is only 10" smaller than the lane, but darn it's fun.
Relax and have FUN
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Old 07-19-2011, 12:00 AM   #4
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I say jump in that large parking lot and get with the practice. Remember the slower you go when turning, the easier it is to make square turns. I have a CDL, with a passenger endorcement. I mainly drove buses, school buses, all types, it was a great experience. I did this for 5 yrs. The thing that helped me the most was when I started competing in percision driving competition. All the windows were covered and your mirrors were your best friend. I will brag a bit, I was the local champ 2 yrs running, state champ 2 yrs running and placed 43rd out of 151 drivers for the national championship. I am not saying that it was easy, but it sure built a lot of confidence. The wife does not get too excited when we have 18 wheelers on both sides and we are scooting along at 65 mph, or we get into a tight situation in real crowded areas. I say practice, practice, practice and never let your guard down.
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Old 07-19-2011, 12:11 AM   #5
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If you are really that concerned about your abilities, maybe a RV driving course might be in order to build the confidence - like the one discussed here. As far as all those trucks in other lanes are concerned...I think you'll find that MOST professional truckers will give you some extra room when approaching...especially if they see that you have extended the same courtesy. One must have the faith that others will stay in their respective lanes and be watchful of those that don't. Welcome to the forum. Bob
Jan and Bob

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Old 07-19-2011, 02:18 AM   #6
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Class A's are bascially the same width by law. Freeway lanes seem to vary as do street lanes etc; An 18 wheeler on the left and a construction barrier on the right and everyone going 65 is a real thrill.

So you learn how to stay in your lane.

Pick a spot on your dash and mark it so when you are sitting in a normal driving position the white line right or left hits that spot you are on the white line.

That is the total driving instructions I had when beginning.

I figured out myself to leave substantial room in front of you whenever possible and be alert. Always.

MAke sure your rear view mirrors see way back---and your convex mirrors show what is right beside you---use your mirriors.

Always a good idea to have someone spot for you when backing up----the guy accross from me at Newport Dunes (when my rig was six months old ) did not and managed to cave in my front cap requiring a complete replacement. I was on my jacks and had been there two weeks. Up to then we were having a great time.

Before you pull into someplace be able to see how you are going to get out.

MAke those slow L shaped turns and leave plenty of time to do it.

And when you leave the gas station remember your tail is going to "wag" over to the opposite side you are turning so make a slow easy turn away from obstructions like those big bollisters guarding gas pumps---they have paint and fiberglass on them for a reason.

Avoid any unneccessary distractions when driving---put brakes on anything you are towing---it's not the go but the whoa that counts.

Watch your speed.

See! Not so tough as you thought?

Come on in the waters fine.
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Old 07-19-2011, 03:13 AM   #7
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Take a driving course. Speaking from painful experience of tangling with a large post at a gas station on my maiden trip and causing 22k damage, it is well worth the $400. The instuctor took me to a large parking lot, placed cones 50 feet apart and I had to weave through them forward and backwar on both the drivers and passengers side. We also placed a cone 2 feet away from the rear wheel and we put a red dot on the flat mirror when it covered the bottom of the cone. Still on the mirrors today and it defines the rear wheel.

Always remember to get past the corner before you turn He taught that you get to about 3 feet past your shoulder and get even with that point and the corner or line before turning.

Everyone may say it is easy. You have to think constantly what you are going to do.

Back up only when there is no other choice and always have a spotter.

Good luck
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Old 07-19-2011, 04:34 AM   #8
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Go to this web site: BetterRVing - Experience better Rving

Under tips there are some videos that will also give you some hints and tricks in the operation of your motor home. Also take a driving course. Best thing I ever did!!
R & E
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Old 07-19-2011, 08:08 AM   #9
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To get a taste of it go rent a 24' rental truck and drive it for an afternoon around town and in the country. I had to move so much years ago that is how I learned to drive bigger vehicles. Now the only time I get nervous is when idiots are driving around me and think I'm a large SUV and can stop on a dime. I go slow and give plenty of room for others.

Good Luck
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Old 07-19-2011, 08:16 AM   #10
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I live in Tulsa, I practiced on the hgwys on like a Sunday when the roads had little traffic. Also, went out to and area of Tulsa that had stop signs and tight corners, but not alot of people around (ie, still developing suburban areas)
Joe & Jules Merenda
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Old 07-19-2011, 08:21 AM   #11
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First there are RV driving schools, I don't have the links handy but they are highly recommended,, So is the Michelin flat tire video (Look for a post "Watching these videos could save your life" I have 50 years of driving, 45 on the road, (5 on a farm) and have towed some rather impressive farm trailers, backed into many tight spaces, and now drive a class A.. I LEARNED WHEN I WATCHED THOSE VIDEOS.

Second.. Visit a shopping mall when it's closed.. You now have a nice BIG field to play in with very little in the way of things to hit other than the brakes.. Learn where the center of the lane is, Remember your house on wheels is the widest thing on the road without an oversize permit save for farm equipment. (Construction equipment this wide is only used on CLOSED roads, on open roads it needs to be permitted)
Home is where I park it!
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Old 07-19-2011, 08:54 AM   #12
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You could rent a Class A---and take the insurance---then go drive and learn. A few days would be enough.
I do all my own stunts
03 Dolphin LX 6355, Workhorse W22, 8.1 vortec, 04 CR-V, Blue Ox, Brake Pro----Norm, Barb and
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:37 AM   #13
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One tip I got when training to be a bus driver was "Your mirrors are for spotting traffic, not airplanes. The horizon should be less than a third of the way from the top."
Frank Damp -Anacortes, WA,(DW- Eileen)
ex-pat Brits (1968) and ex-RVers.
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Old 07-19-2011, 05:02 PM   #14
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I really recommend that you take a driving course as others have stated. You will learn things there that you do not want to learn by the school of hard knocks.... You have to be prepard for anything and be able to put your rig exactly where you want it to be. I work on the Interstate system on I-80 and I see a lot of drivers of Class A and even Class C who are really not in control of their rigs and at times, pay the price. You can do it, just learn all you can and take your time. You never know when you will hit construction and have to detour or follow a very narrow lane with turns in it. Plan your first trips for early Sunday morning.

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