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Old 01-17-2009, 08:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by RV Wizard:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by wthomas1:
I am surprised that RV dealers will let you behind the wheel of a very big MH and never ask if you have driven anything this size before. When I was shopping for our first Class A the dealer handed me the keys and said let's go.
Sales people do not want to do anything that will have the potential buyer second think. They are hoping for an impulse buyer to fall out of the sky and into their lap.
I have not seen it all but I have seen more than most ever will.
Even after the closing, the dealers don't offer to train new owners how to operate them on the road. I am guessing they think it make them liable and it might to some small extent.
Sometimes in the past, I have seen just the opposite; customers sent out in unsafe conditions, just to get them "across the curb". I have left dealerships for this kind of mentality too!

I think this (greed and risk taking) is the reason we as a nation are in the bad economic condition we are in today. Eventually it all catches up with you. Some get bonuses, some go to jail and some die as a result. The difference is ...? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Despite their faults or lack of good organization in the service department I have to give credit to LazyDays in Sefner, Florida for giving a free drivers confidence course to all those who have purchased a motorhome from them. It is available to their spouces and children and includes a few hours of classroom and a few hours on the road in a diesel pusher that they provide you.

They mention it during the sale and the delivery process highly stressing it's importance.
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Old 01-18-2009, 03:21 AM   #16
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Interesting discussion, for sure. When we were shopping for our first motorhome (before a test drive of a 32' gasser) the sales guy at a local dealership did ask if I had ever driven larger vehicles. When I told him I had been a firefighter and had driven large, dopey trucks loaded with water, he was fine. When we traveled to Illinois to purchase our current rig, before the test drive I did ask the dealer if he was curious if I had ever driven a rig that big. He noted that I got to VA from Illinois in the Adventurer but also said, 'I can usually tell who I can trust behind the wheel.'

I believe the primary skill lacking from some class A drivers is related to maneuverability. In our 5 years of motorhome ownership and travel, I have seen a number of folks who just have trouble in tight spots. We arrived at the Americamps in Ashland, Va (right off I-95 just north of Richmond....very busy place) and was escorted to our site by an employee on an ATV. There are a lot of trees and fairly tight roads in the RV park. I followed the fellow to our site and put the rig right where I wanted it. He commented to me that it was great to see someone in a larger RV that could actually drive it. When I inquired about his comment, he merely said, 'if you saw what I saw every day, you would know what I mean.'
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Old 01-18-2009, 03:48 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by montanabound:
My RV Dealer even went as far as to say I didn't need a differant license to operate a motorhome. I think we all know here he was wrong.
That varies by state. A "special" license is required in Texas (Class B non-Commercial) only if GVWR is 26,001 lbs or greater (26,000 lbs or greater with toad not more than 10,000 lbs.) Otherwise, a Class C will suffice.

Quote:
SUBCHAPTER D. CLASSIFICATION OF DRIVER'S LICENSES



Sec. 521.081. CLASS A LICENSE. A Class A driver's license authorizes the holder of the license to operate:

(1) a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more; or

(2) a combination of vehicles that has a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, if the gross vehicle weight rating of any vehicle or vehicles in tow is more than 10,000 pounds.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.


Sec. 521.082. CLASS B LICENSE.

(a) A Class B driver's license authorizes the holder of the license to operate:

(1) a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating that is more than 26,000 pounds;

(2) a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds or more towing:

(A) a vehicle, other than a farm trailer, with a gross vehicle weight rating that is not more than 10,000 pounds; or

(B) a farm trailer with a gross vehicle weight rating that is not more than 20,000 pounds; and

(3) a bus with a seating capacity of 24 passengers or more.

(b) For the purposes of Subsection (a)(3), seating capacity is computed in accordance with Section 502.162, except that the operator's seat is included in the computation.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.


Sec. 521.083. CLASS C LICENSE. A Class C driver's license authorizes the holder of the license to operate:

(1) a vehicle or combination of vehicles not described by Section 521.081 or 521.082; and

(2) a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 26,001 pounds towing a farm trailer with a gross vehicle weight rating that is not more than 20,000 pounds.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.


Sec. 521.084. CLASS M LICENSE. A Class M driver's license authorizes the holder of the license to operate a motorcycle or moped.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995


Sec. 521.085. TYPE OF VEHICLE AUTHORIZED. Unless prohibited by Chapter 522, the license holder may operate any vehicle of the type for which that class of license is issued and any lesser type of vehicle other than a motorcycle or moped.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.
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Old 01-18-2009, 09:37 AM   #18
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Can you imagine what it is like for a person from Britain to come to the US and have CruiseAmerica hand them the keys to a Class A coach and say have fun?

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Old 01-18-2009, 10:07 AM   #19
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Can you imagine what it is like for a person from Britain to come to the US and have CruiseAmerica hand them the keys to a Class A coach and say have fun?
I didn't see a Class A like that but I did see a number of Class Cs at the North Rim, driven by UK citizens. IMHO, that trip up 89A isn't for the faint of heart to start with, let alone someone used to driving on the opposite side of the road.

To your point, SMLRanger, the North Rim CG was one of the more challenging sites that we had, It was on a rounded part of a hill so finding a level enough spot to start with, Then, it was a balancing act between a couple of Ponderosa pines to have enough room to get the slide out and still keep the tires in the level area that we found. The guy who escorted us said about the same thing as your CG guide. We didn't really have any problems but it did take a couple of tries to get everything right.

To me, the big difference in maneuvering around a CG versus being on a highway is that you generally have enough time in the CG even if someone is behind you on the road. I watched the bus driver put a bus through those tight tunnels in Custer State Park. He just took his time and guided where he knew that the tight spots were. On the road, you don't always get that might time before someone is trying to run you over. After 30K miles and lots of construction zones, I know where the wheels and sides of our RV are. I just cannot go barreling through a "cattle chute" at 65mph like the cars can.
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Old 01-18-2009, 10:07 AM   #20
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I don't know if the licensing process were stricter if it would accomplish anything more than more revenue for the government and less for us. A CDL license required for commercial truck driving requires more training and testing than a passenger car license yet how many accidents still happen involving truckers?I'm not taking shots at truckers, but am trying to say accidents are just that - accidents. They happen to people that have had more training than most of us and are probably due more to distraction and fatigue than lack of training or testing. I do think letting a dealer take you out and give you some lessons and practice is a good thing, but not sure if testing would help anything.
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Old 01-18-2009, 10:54 AM   #21
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let your PARTNER show you how to drive the RV!!!!!?
Whereever it is legaly ok. :
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Old 01-23-2009, 12:38 PM   #22
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This gets more interesting. I live in N.C. and the license requirement is any motorhome over 26001 lbs. GVWR requires the operator to have a class B non-commercial license. Here is the problem. DMV has not established a manual to study for this license. I was given the Commercial Drivers License manual to study, and when I asked what to study in it, the DMV officer said,"all of it". This is a large book and includes buses, tanker trucks, including hazardous materials, multiple trailer rigs, and pre trip inspections that require getting under the vehicle and inspecting brakes, air systems, steering, pulling the seal covers off the front hubs to check the hub oil level and front seals for leackage, plus a whole lot more. Now I don't know if I will have to do all this, but I guess I will have to call DMV in Raleigh (state capitol) and see if I can get the correct study materials. I don't know if anyone else on this forum has done this, but if so I would appreciate any help.

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Old 01-23-2009, 01:00 PM   #23
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Ron,

I encountered a similar experience when I moved to NC from FL 9 years ago. To legally tow my 5th wheel which weighed over 10,001 pounds, NC required me to have a Non-CDL Class A drivers license. At the time FL had no such requirements and my FL Drivers License didn't meet their criteria to transfer without taking an exam.

The local exam office offered the commercial truck manual that you described to study and said the test would come from that material. I took the written multiple choice test and passed it missing only one question and never opened the manual. It was multiple choice and usually two answer choices would be ludicrous, leaving the other two to an educated guess. There were questions on the exam about air brakes, maximum trailer truck weight limits, legal lengths for trailer trucks, etc. But there was nothing about an RV... just trailer truck stuff.

I also had to bring my trailer in for them to do a safety inspection on and take a driving test with the trailer in tow and a NC Highway Patrol examiner in the passengers seat. Don't sweat the written test or the road test, everything is just common sense stuff.

It would be nice if they'd come up with an exam for RV'rs without all the commercial truck stuff on it though. If they're going to require such a license for RV's then they should develop a separate test for them.
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Old 01-23-2009, 03:45 PM   #24
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It would be nice if they'd come up with an exam for RV'rs without all the commercial truck stuff on it though. If they're going to require such a license for RV's then they should develop a separate test for them
I believe the basic problem is that
1. The number of RVs is so small compared to the other categories of vehicles on the road that no state is willing to spend the money to develop a specific test for them.
2. There isn't sufficient data from accidents and citations for RVs that would provide a reasonable set of topics for a specific RV test.

So, that leaves us with taking a test that isn't relevant to our type of vehicle, just so that they can say that we took a test to drive it (if we had to do that - I didn't.) To me, that is bureaucracy at its finest. Canada, IMHO, is no better and no different. They require that MHs with air brakes take an 2 day class - on a dump truck. Don't get me wrong - I understand that there is SOME value it both the air brake course and taking a test based on the CDL materials. The question is "how much good really comes from it?" Teaching me to adjust the slack adjusters on a dump truck when the manufacturer of my MH air brake system (Meritor) tells me specifically NOT to manually adjust them because they are automatic, makes no sense at all to me. It is logic only a bureaucrat can love.

Ron, I'm with Richard. I passed the written part of a CDL test without ever cracking a book. The only part that I really guessed about was the section about signs. I'd suggest studying the topics where you are least familiar, if only to understand the terms better. With that, multiple guess questions and a little common sense, you should not have any problems.
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Old 01-23-2009, 06:58 PM   #25
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You are missing the fact that the test is not specifically for RVers. It is for anyone pulling a trailer over 10,000 lbs.



Quote:
Originally posted by Hitchhiker:
Ron,

I encountered a similar experience when I moved to NC from FL 9 years ago. To legally tow my 5th wheel which weighed over 10,001 pounds, NC required me to have a Non-CDL Class A drivers license. At the time FL had no such requirements and my FL Drivers License didn't meet their criteria to transfer without taking an exam.

The local exam office offered the commercial truck manual that you described to study and said the test would come from that material. I took the written multiple choice test and passed it missing only one question and never opened the manual. It was multiple choice and usually two answer choices would be ludicrous, leaving the other two to an educated guess. There were questions on the exam about air brakes, maximum trailer truck weight limits, legal lengths for trailer trucks, etc. But there was nothing about an RV... just trailer truck stuff.

I also had to bring my trailer in for them to do a safety inspection on and take a driving test with the trailer in tow and a NC Highway Patrol examiner in the passengers seat. Don't sweat the written test or the road test, everything is just common sense stuff.

It would be nice if they'd come up with an exam for RV'rs without all the commercial truck stuff on it though. If they're going to require such a license for RV's then they should develop a separate test for them.
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Old 01-23-2009, 07:22 PM   #26
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You are missing the fact that the test is not specifically for RVers. It is for anyone pulling a trailer over 10,000 lbs
Hmm.. Non-commerical trailer over 10,000 lbs. Besides an RV, the only other thing that I could think of in that category would be a horse trailer.

I don't see that material in the CDL testing is any more relevant to an RV or a horse trailer than it is a MH. I've taken and passed the written portion of the CDL test (without studying at all.) What am I missing?
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Old 01-24-2009, 04:18 PM   #27
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When we bought our first and current Hurricane Class A, I told the dealer that I was not sure whether I could handle it or not. He asked if I had ever driven anything like a big U-haul or anything like that, which I had. He assured me that I would have no problems. After we had confirmed that e really did want to buy it, the dealer-salesman ( plug: Arrowhead Campers in Mayfield, KY) took us out on the road and gave me driving instructions based on his experience with one. We covered making turns into narrow drives, and what the hangover did. We learned how to back it up, and put it into a campsite backwards, How to always have an "outside" driver when backing up. We did At-speed runs on the interstate, regular speeds runs on narrow two-lanes, how to avoid mirrors on the truck coming at us, and lots more. Including going through downtown on narrow streets. He also did a walk-thru and covered all systems and controls throughout the rig. I still have learned a lot since, but this dealer made sure that we were well prepared before he let us out on out own. I can't imagine a dealer that I would do business with doing any less.
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Old 01-25-2009, 06:37 AM   #28
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Everyone responding does make good points regarding this discussion. However, there are a lot more people that are allowed to drive automobiles that absolutely should not be behind the wheel. And, these people DID take driving and written tests. A large RV, whether it be a motorhome or a trailer spends the biggest amount of the time on open highways and interstates, where they don't get in as much trouble as cars do in inter-urban areas. No doubt, if you were a city bus driver you'd need extra training to better negotiate narrow streets and maneuver around a city, but since most RV's don't do this its not as much of a concern. As far as Insurance Companies, we all know it's about money. If a class of vehicle doesn't cost them as much as other vehicles these vehicles are downgraded and end up being cheaper in premiums then, for example, sports cars, etc.

Likewise there are a LOT more big rig truckers that have no business having a CDL let alone being allowed to drive.

Most RV drivers who aren't very good at handling large vehicles cause more damage to their own equipment then they do others.
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