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Old 08-19-2014, 11:31 PM   #29
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The largest vehicle I had driven was a 22' pickup truck.

I now am driving a 32' class A. When you start driving, be aware of your surroundings and blind spots, especially at intersections. Leave plenty of space in front of you (like my dad says, it doesn't stop on a dime) and the biggest thing is patience!!!! You can comfortable cruise at 60-65mph. That'll piss everyone else off but that shouldn't piss you off, in one ear, out the other! Avoid situations where you'll be in tight parking areas and be prepared to park far away from stores and restaurants and walk.

After about 1-2 hours on the road, you'll get a good feel for it.

You will make mistakes like I did. I pulled into a tiny parking lot thinking it was an RV park office. I had to do a 10-point turn around but i got it. Haha!! I also had to get used to the overhang swinging like Don and Barb said. Just allow plenty of distance and turn slowly to avoid the "whipping" action. Hope this helps.
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Old 08-20-2014, 09:46 AM   #30
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Hit you tube. There are plenty of videos with good driving tips.


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Old 08-20-2014, 10:53 AM   #31
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Nancy, this is some advice given to me by a truck driver friend when I went from a 19' Class B, to a 40' Class A towing a Jeep Wrangler. It's paid off countless times!

Most important is to take your time. Turn corners wide and slow WAY down! Learn to ignore the impatient driver behind you.

There are many places you can't fit in. Don't think you can pull in to just any parking lot or gas station. The best way to avoid a tight fit is to not go there to begin with, so try to plan ahead.

When backing up, it's ok to stop, get out, and look around. It beats getting all those scrapes and bruises that a lot of us share!

Personally, I remember how I got every single scratch and dent, and each incident has their own (now) funny little story.

But - no worries (as my DW says), in time it all becomes second nature. And if "things" do happen, you'll have your own stories to share around the camp fire!
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Old 08-20-2014, 11:07 AM   #32
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I spent 42 years driving over the road so when my wife asked what kind of RV I wanted it had to be a 5er. After 6 yrs we decided this spring go to a class A. Purchased a 2005 Holiday Rambler Endeavor 38 PDQ. Driving it is hard for me after all those tears of long nose Peterbilts. I always think I'm to far to left and shade it ti the right which puts my right side tires off the road. Every time we leave it takes me 10 miles to get comfortable again. The advice to slow down and always check behind you before backing is well advised.
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Old 08-20-2014, 01:46 PM   #33
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Our first real RV was a 35' Class A. Fairly easy to drive, but it always felt a bit top heavy. Had to take it easy on curves so things didn't start flying around. We traded to a 31' Class C last year and found that the ride is a lot better and doesn't feel top heavy. I think my biggest complaint is that coming into Y intersections and going right it's more difficult to see to the left for traffic.

As far as turning around and backing up, I used to drive an oil delivery truck and had to know how to use the mirrors so that really wasn't an issue with either type RV.
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Old 08-20-2014, 05:23 PM   #34
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We drove our 35 ft Class A diesel pusher home in February and can echo many of the comments already given. I had driven a Class C before and my Palazzo is different - you sit up higher and further to the left. I like it a lot better, but it does take some time to get the sightlines down. We drove it home from the dealer, and did a few shorter weekend trips before departing on a 4000 mile trip this past summer. We bought a DVD that went over all the basics and the two things I took out of it was realizing the rear wheel of the side you're turning to is a fixed point the front wheels turn around and the effect of the chassis extending past the rear wheels. The first is easy to compensate for - swing as wide as you can, as slow as you can and the second is as well - use your rear views to make sure the back end isnt swinging into something.

Ditto on not getting into tight spots. I let the DW convince me to drive into a town to go to a particular restaurant. The resulting combination of tight streets, high traffic and pouring rainstorm cost me a bruised fender and some spilled drinks in the rig when I ran over a high curb. Ouch!

Ditto too on cruising at 60-65 mph. Thats my comfort zone, and on Texas toll roads the speed limit can reach 85. I have gotten quite used to being passed - sometime by more experienced RVers. But I figure my job is to get the rig and the family home safe, not drive the others folks cars.


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Old 08-20-2014, 05:41 PM   #35
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I drive 55-60, take my time, enjoy the scenery. If people behind me don't like it, they can go around or offer to buy me first class airline tickets to the places of my desires.


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Old 08-20-2014, 10:03 PM   #36
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I drive 55-60, take my time, enjoy the scenery. If people behind me don't like it, they can go around or offer to buy me first class airline tickets to the places of my desires. 1998 Thor Windsport 33SL on 1997 F53 chassis. Sent from my iPad2 using iRV2 - RV Forum
I also tend to drive at 60 mph. I can drive faster if needed to pass or to make more miles in a day for a time sensitive trip. . However , the rig feels more calm and solidly tracking at 60. It is just a more relaxing experience ...
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Old 08-21-2014, 06:01 AM   #37
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We just got our A two weeks ago and so far we love it! It took me the first leg on our 4 hour trip to become accustomed to it. True it is odd trying to get used to driving so close to the yellow line. I'm going to try some of the great tricks before mentioned and see how they work.

I mostly enjoy sitting up high. I have found I can now see down the road which really helps me in my comfort level and knowing what to expect way ahead of time.
I also like being on the same level as other trucks as they blow by n the passing lane.
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:08 PM   #38
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http://dor.mo.gov/forms/Commerical_Driver_License.pdf
Page 12-1 to 12-5 gives the maneuvers that CDL applicants must complete with an instructor observing. I you are unable to take a RV driving course, using this info and going to a parking lot (as previously mentioned) and practicing these maneuvers will give you the skills needed to operate safely. Key phrase is "PRACTICE". It's not difficult, it's different. RVBasicTraining.com has an excellent 1 day program if you can do that.
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Old 08-22-2014, 05:47 PM   #39
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Nancy,

Marianne and I are noobs too. We bought our 41' Travel Supreme (pic below) at the end of May. Before we bought our rig, the biggest thing I'd driven in the last 10 years is a 25' Class C. It was intimidating.

So my son in law Ken, who had decades of experience driving big rigs of all kind, took me out several times for some great driving lessons. I highly recommend finding a good driving school or tutor.

Ken had lots of great tips that he repeated over and over during our lessons. For example, "Watch the curb." Then, "Watch the curb!" And finally, WATCH THE **** CURB!!!" Now I watch the **** curb. Folks in this thread have posted virtually the same ones, but I'll repeat them:

- Take it slow! This means learn at your own pace and practice. And take turns slowly. Very slowly. There's no hurry.

- Square your corners and then turn sharply. When taking a corner, Ken's mantra is in my head... "Wait for it... Wait for it... Now!" What I found nerve wracking at first was that the front wheels were under my body instead of ahead of me (like in a car). It's the back that we need to be concerned about.

- "Feel" the coach. After I drive a car for awhile, I can feel the edges. I sort of know where the car is because it's like an extension of my body. It's taken awhile, but I'm starting to feel that with our coach. So driving on the highway is a bit easier now because my body needs to be towards the left side of the lane. The coach sorta follows.

- Leave plenty of room between you and vehicle in front of you. And anticipate. If traffic is backing up ahead, back off ahead of time. Watch stoplights. If it's been green for awhile, it may turn red suddenly. Back off and get ready to brake.

- Ignore the "idiots". That's a specific piece of advice Ken gave me. He said that people will try to get ahead of you (even if they have to cut you off) because they don't want to be stuck behind a coach. And some clow... uhm... individuals will intentionally cut you off. Just let it go. Relax. No hurry. Life is good. Probably a lot sweeter than the joker that just cut you off. That's your revenge. Neener, neener!

- If you get in a bind... Stop! Let the other folks get out of the way. They may beep, yell, and maybe indicate that you're number one in their book (not necessarily with their index finger), but that's their problem. Just stop. Let other folks clear the way and continue when it's safe.

Those are Ken's suggestions.

Good luck and regards,

Dan.

p.s. Unfortunately Ken died suddenly, several weeks after we got the coach and two weeks before our first family outing - Ken, his wife, and their 5th wheel, my step son and his family, and Marianne and me in our TS. He's gone, but he's still sitting on my shoulder when I'm driving, coaching me as I go.

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Old 08-22-2014, 08:03 PM   #40
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I don't "watch the curb", and if I'm teaching someone I specifically tell them not to either.

The curb is way off to your right, at about a 60 or 70 degree angle, almost into your peripheral vision. Very hard to pick up, and almost impossible to judge accurately.

Watch the center line!! It's right there immediately beside you, easily visible almost directly to your front and oh so easy to align with. Your traffic lane is probably 12 ft wide-- I know there are 10s out there, but they're very rare-- and your coach is only 8 plus a few inches maybe, so you've got a 50% fudge factor going for you ! You just park your butt 1-1/2 ft off the centerline and the right side of your coach- and the curb- will take care of itself just fine.
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:58 PM   #41
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I don't "watch the curb", and if I'm teaching someone I specifically tell them not to either.

The curb is way off to your right, at about a 60 or 70 degree angle, almost into your peripheral vision. Very hard to pick up, and almost impossible to judge accurately.

Watch the center line!! It's right there immediately beside you, easily visible almost directly to your front and oh so easy to align with. Your traffic lane is probably 12 ft wide-- I know there are 10s out there, but they're very rare-- and your coach is only 8 plus a few inches maybe, so you've got a 50% fudge factor going for you ! You just park your butt 1-1/2 ft off the centerline and the right side of your coach- and the curb- will take care of itself just fine.
That works, IF you're driving in a straight line. If you're making a right turn on a city street, the center line is... Hmmm???

And that assumes you're driving on a nice street or highway. What happens when you're in a lane that is only 10ft wide? I trained on a bunch of streets where they were only 10ft wide. And a few that were less. Some were so narrow that I was hugging the center line to stay away from the curb. 1-1/2 feet? You'd be over the curb taking out signs if you were that far over.

My Son-in-law trained me in tough conditions - lots of narrow streets and tight right hand turns. Where you need to make a technically correct turn or you WOULD scrape the curb. I think that was very valuable experience.

Montana has some seriously wide open spaces. It sounds like streets are nice and wide where you live. I've driven in Montana. I like it a lot. But I've LIVED in 18 other states. States like Texas, Florida, and Colorado also have some nice wide streets. The mountains in Colorado? Massachusetts? Part of New Hampshire and Connecticut? Things are a bit different.

With a bit of training and studying, I think Nancy will do great. But that training should include tough conditions so the easy ones will be a breeze. Like nice 12' wide lanes with gentle sweeping curves.

Dan.
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Old 08-22-2014, 11:17 PM   #42
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Sounds like you're pretty defensive. I meant no comment regarding your son in law, and I'm sure Nancy does just fine.

But you misunderstood my post. Of course you check the curb when turning! Who wouldn't? But many, many people try to establish their straight line position in the lane based on the curb, in the bizarre, mistaken belief that if they stay as close to the right curb as possible they're being safer by leaving more room to their left. The safest thing to do in that context is to use the most visible, reliable visual cues available.

I don't live in Montana, BTW, we are fulltimers, and just happen to be here this summer. I'm glad you've lived in 18 states and consider yourself well experienced on narrow, urban streets. I haven't had the chance to live in so many (only 6). It's good experience to have. I can appreciate the value of your acquired skills, having lived most of the first sixty years of my life in Boston, and having spent some of those years driving charter buses (and a few motorhomes) through the downtown areas and city neighborhoods of my home city, much of New England, and Manhattan. How about those Boston drivers, huh!

Stay safe!
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