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Old 04-24-2016, 08:39 PM   #15
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Good Advice

You are getting some good advice here, especially to slow to a comfortable speed and avoid rush hour traffic. I would like to add two more:
Drive in the far right lane like the big boys (semis)are supposed to do. You are one! That way there is only one side to worry about. You will notice all oversize loads travel in this lane most of the time.
Drive looking further ahead and increase your mirror scan, it will help you relax if you are not staring at the concrete barrier running along side.
I usually turn up the flow on my O2 flow too.
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Old 04-24-2016, 08:48 PM   #16
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Getting into a city where the traffic is very heavy, do what you would do if you drove into a horrendous rains storm. Pull over and wait it out. With time you will start to get more comfortable behind the wheel.

Many feel like their MH is too wide for the road. My suggestion is to look at big trucks from behind. You'll soon realize that you fit on the road very comfortably, they do! Lot of drivers freak out going thru toll booths too. Same thing!!
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Old 04-24-2016, 10:17 PM   #17
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I'm pretty new at this too, only 5,000 miles driven so far. I've taken a lot of instructions from watching the professionals--the motorcoach bus drivers, and of course the semi drivers. While there are exceptions, of course, I've found that generally they follow the practices described here. Generally going slower than car traffic, especially in curvy or narrow areas; staying right; generally following the advisory speed limits (yellow signs). And, of course, if a semi needs to make a lane change, they usually just do it, and the cars figure it out.

Assuming you have a gas coach too, those semis are better-designed for hauling then our gas coaches. So we have to take it even easier.
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Old 04-24-2016, 10:25 PM   #18
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I actually feel more comfortable driving my coach then I do driving my car. Only one time I had a good scare and that was driving south through Los Angeles on the 101. I come around a curve at about 55 mph and there was the traffic dead stop. It seemed like I only had like 100 feet to stop. I slammed on the air brakes, the brake buddy kicked in and I was able to stop without slamming into the little car up ahead. I was surprised how fast those coaches can stop.

So now what I do if possible I go around big cities. Most have a loop that will go around the city.

The more you drive that coach, the more confidence you will get.
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Old 04-24-2016, 10:43 PM   #19
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I guess I was lucky. Helped my parents back in/setup since I was 10 Z(I'm 69 now) so I got used to spotting them. Then I got my own 17' TT in 1968. Have never been without an RV since then. Just kind of went up 17' to 23' to 26' TT, then a 17' Type B MH, a 35' Type A, a 2000 38' DSDP, a 2002 40' DSDP and now the 45' Magna. I've never been afraid to drive bigger rigs , even drove a few dump trucks at work.
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Old 04-25-2016, 07:54 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by rguild View Post
I recently returned to Austin, TX from a 6,000 mile trip in my Fleetwood Bounder, pulling a tow car, to Springfield, OR. I persevered dust storms, winds strong enough to blow my passenger side mirror loose, and a snow storm that aborted my attempt to cross from Sacramento to Reno.

However, the scariest sections of my trip were El Paso and Phoenix, where I encountered surprise s-curves at 50+ mph in heavy traffic and concrete barriers along the side of narrow lanes.

Compared to a car, the steering feels like there is a certain amount of uncontrollable give that requires constant minor course corrections. Driving in a lane abutted by a waste high concrete barrier and a narrow margin for error was a high adrenaline experience.

Also, as I would enter an s-curve I was leaning in my seat into the curve and feeling barely in control of staying in my lane. It seemed that the coach was leaning away from the curve.

I have had drivers refuse to let me change lanes in front of them and have learned to plan lane changes as far before an exit as possible but you can't always control that.

I drove through the LA area at 3am to avoid all of these problems but the resulting trip delays when cities are close together can make this practice cumbersome.

I am about to be a full timer, travelling the western US and Canada and would like to know if a driver training course will be useful after 7,000+ miles on the road, and, if so, course recommendations. I would also appreciate any advice about how to avoid those white knuckle moments when you feel within a hair's breath of flipping the coach or causing a ten car pile-up.

Thanks for your advice.
A steering damper (such as a Safe-T-Plus) would probably help a lot with your issue of constant minor course corrections as well as a rear trac bar. If you have a newer Bounder - post 2014, then you already should have a front trac bar. The trac-bars reduces the side-to-side slop from the leaf springs and help keep the coach and chassis pointing in the same direction. The Cheap Handling Fix can help with the lean.

If your rig is a bit older, check the sway bar bushings and shocks.

The advice you've gotten is very good - slow down, don't feel pressured by surrounding traffic. You're big and more subject to wind push from gusts and tractor trailers.

Welcome to the forum.
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Old 04-25-2016, 08:21 AM   #21
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I suggest you (and actually anyone / everyone) look into a high performance driving / racing school...... What does that have to do with drivng an RV, you may ask?

A lot actually....... You'll learn about vehicle dynamics, lines through a corner, and heavy braking to name a few things. Most people are oblivious to how a car handles and reacts, because 99.999% of the time, everything happens within the comfort level you have built over the years. But, when something extraordinary jumps at you, you have no idea how to react, and end up in a wreck that you proably could have avoided if you understood how to really drive a car. And driving a MH puts you outside your comfort level because the dynamics of driving one are greatly exaggerated.

Example, do you know what a decreasing radius turn is, and how that affects cornering? Why is that important? Because there are a lot of decreasing radius curves on interstates within cities.

What happens in a decreasing radius corner, is that the corner has a bigger radius at the beginning, which allows for a faster speed, but when the radius starts decreasing you have to drive slower to maintain control (and comfort) so while in a car on the interstate its usually no big deal and you just "trail brake" a bit through the corner (and don't even realize that you are doing it because you are still so far within the limits of control and comfort anyway), in a vehicle with a high center of gravity, braking while cornering can feel hairy (and can be dangerous) so you need to enter the corner at the slower speed required at the end of the corner to begin with (which also requires you to be looking way ahead and know that you are actually going to be dealing with a decreasing radius turn). Even if you don't understand what I am saying, hopefully you get the point I am trying to make. And, only will it help you driving your MH it will make you a better and safer driver in your car too.

Some programs to consider:

Bob Bondurant and Skip Barber driving / racing schools are very well known and have various programs with costs range from $500 to many thousands, depending on what you decide to do. Others are out there too.....

Many local BMW and Porsche Clubs also offer high performance driving programs as well using your own car, and most any car is allowed. They have "ladder programs" that start with the basics in beginner classes (and the top levels, you'll see full blown race cars running with very experienced drivers in thier own classes), and HPDEs are usually about $500 for a weekend.

Regards
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Old 04-25-2016, 08:49 AM   #22
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looks like you already had your driver training course!
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Old 04-25-2016, 10:51 AM   #23
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The challenge of changing lanes in heavy traffic is probably the toughest one to get under control. There are numerous factors that come into play - one of which is your personal sentiments regarding what constitutes "enough clearance" before you change lanes. I am NOT advocating a "turn on your blinker and start moving - they'll get out of your way!" approach. However, you can't expect that you're going to be able to wait until there's nobody approaching your rear in the lane you're looking to move into (like my DW tends to do). Somewhere in there - there has to be a safe and happy medium. If you tend to be a "wait until there's nobody back there" kind of guy ... you may need to press yourself to be a little more aggressive in terms of "making a hole" - even if it means the cars approaching you from the rear will have to adjust their speed to let you in.

Anything you can do to identify the lane you need to be in - and give yourself more time to get there - the better. When you know you're going to be going thru a stretch of city that you've never been thru before - consider reviewing your planned route using something with a satellite view before you get there. You should be able to spot the "tight spots" as well as the lane changes that will be necessary to negotiate the route you plan to take ... make notes of land marks (like the exit #'s of a point 2 miles before the point need to be two lanes to the left or right). When we're negotiating heavy traffic in unfamiliar territory - my DW is following our progress using Google Maps in Satellite mode - and letting me know as we approach forks in the road, exits we need to take, etc - well in advance of us actually getting there.
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Old 04-25-2016, 10:34 PM   #24
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I used to be scared to death by the concrete barriers until I got behind a semi in the same lane, and saw how much room he/she had. Cured it for me. One thing you need to know is if you are in your lane. For me, if the bottom of my driver's wiper is on the shoulder line, I'm good. (Find your own point). When I drive in city traffic, I use the second lane. Keeps me from fighting merging traffic.
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Old 04-25-2016, 10:44 PM   #25
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I used to be scared to death by the concrete barriers until I got behind a semi in the same lane, and saw how much room he/she had. Cured it for me. One thing you need to know is if you are in your lane. For me, if the bottom of my driver's wiper is on the shoulder line, I'm good. (Find your own point). When I drive in city traffic, I use the second lane. Keeps me from fighting merging traffic.
I've even gone so far as to take a black marker on make a mark on the windshield. Haven't done it with the present rig and haven't had any problems keeping it in my lane.
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Old 04-26-2016, 07:10 AM   #26
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slow down and enjoy the drive.............for me, it takes about 50 to 75 miles before I get "in the zone"..........same goes for when I ride my Harley, just a few less miles...............remember, the road also belongs to you...................................
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Old 04-26-2016, 07:40 AM   #27
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I've even gone so far as to take a black marker on make a mark on the windshield. Haven't done it with the present rig and haven't had any problems keeping it in my lane.

I use the dash screws at the base of the windshield as my gauge.


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Old 04-26-2016, 08:26 AM   #28
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I've found that by far the easiest way to avoid big-city white-knuckle chaos is to avoid big cities. Seriously. Go around them.

Good advice, but sometimes hard to accomplish. It's hard to avoid El Paso when heading west from Austin or San Antonio--the name gives you a clue as to the reason. IH 10 goes through a narrow pass along the Rio Grand River. There is no crossing across the Franklin Mountains within a reasonable distance to the north and Mexico is on the south.
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