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Old 07-21-2018, 04:35 PM   #1
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With apologies to Pink Floyd......Learning to Drive

Reading the threads here, I get the impression most of y'all have a LOT of experience driving big vehicles. In my time, I've driven "big" vehicles......M2 Bradley, M1 Abrams, even an M113 though that's not really "big". I drove a 5-ton a few times, and an LMTV once. The LMTV, being a cab-over design, is probably the closest thing to a Class A I've ever driven.

So how did you take that first step? I've looked into renting one, too expensive really, even if I could find a Class A (most rentals around here are Cs). A local dealer said I could "test drive" one there, but they are pretty busy. Not gonna lie....kinda nervous about getting behind the wheel of MINE the first time. LOL
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Old 07-21-2018, 04:56 PM   #2
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Well I have driven a duce and a half and a five ton.


As far as RVs I started with a class B Ford camper van. Then we had a class C for about 20 something years. We traded this Class C for a Class A.

Driving a Class A isn't overwhelming.
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Old 07-21-2018, 05:10 PM   #3
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Check Youtube for RV driving videos; lots of good info. Then take your RV to a nearby mall parking lot or some deserted area and practice. Watch your tail swing and have fun.

(And I would have said "Tom Petty." )
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Old 07-21-2018, 07:26 PM   #4
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I started towing pop-up trailers. Then, in 2002 we bought our first trailer which was a 28' Sunline and towed it with a 2001 Dodge dually with the V10 magnum gas engine the truck along with the hitch and trailer was over 50'. In 2013, we downsized to a 27' Minnie trailer with a 2007 Tundra to pull it. So, I was apprehensive about my first drive in our Newmar, but the gentleman we bought it from took us to a nearby industrial park where there was a two lane road with little traffic. Once I started driving, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't much different than what I've been use to and from there we ventured out on to the local roads. By the time we finished our drive from PA back to OH, I was feeling pretty comfortable driving it. We just took our first short trip with the Malibu in tow, and that didn't really make much difference.

So, it all depends on what you've done before. There are some good videos online that can help. And, it's all about using the mirrors, back up camera and having a basic knowledge of what the rear end is going to do when turning and learning to allow for wide right hand turns. I still need to take the motorhome over to a big unused parking lot and practice backing up into a typical campsite as so far, we've been able to get pull thru spots.

Good luck....you'll get the hang of it!
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Old 07-21-2018, 07:54 PM   #5
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A big parking lot is your best friend. It's hard to get in trouble there. If you can find an empty one even better.
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Old 07-22-2018, 05:45 AM   #6
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I had only driven a medium size U-Haul before. When I asked for a test drive, the sales person handed me the keys. I thought she would back it out and point it in the right direction first (you know how tight they jam the MH's in). I think she was nervous about doing it and I didn't want her to think I was a chicken about it (she was in her 20's, so I wanted to act like I knew what I was doing ). Anyway, I thought what was the worse that could happen. I hadn't bought the MH yet so if I had a little fender bender it would be their problem and their insurance. We drove on some country roads first, then hit a Interstate. I will say that it was a lot easier to drive then I thought it would be. You can always use the rear camera to see if you are between the white lines. After about a hour I was feeling pretty confident about driving.
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Old 07-22-2018, 07:25 AM   #7
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Lazy Days RV near Tampa have driving classes.
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Old 07-22-2018, 08:41 AM   #8
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check these guys out they have locations all over the country. If you have a buddy who's a fire fighter and driver have him drive you to the location if you're you're not comfortable doing it. Their rates seem pretty reasonable.

https://www.rvschool.com/driving-lessons/
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Old 07-22-2018, 09:35 AM   #9
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I jumped in with both feet, head first. Bought the 40 foot in Houston. Turned the ignition on at 4:45 and got right on beltway 8 to I-10 West. Rush hour and never driven anything bigger than a Ryder 25ft rental truck to move once. It actually wasn’t any big deal. Not to say I wasn’t nervous, but it proved to be easier than I expected.
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Old 07-22-2018, 09:58 AM   #10
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I guess I just fell into it. My parents rented a TT in 1957 and ordered a 1958 KenCraft. So I watched and helped till I got my own used 16' TT in 1968.
Went up to a 23' then a 26' TT. In 1988 traded the truck and TT for a 17' Type B MH. That lasted till 1997 when we got a 25' Type C. That lasted one year and we got a 1998 35' Type A. In 2000 we got our first DP, a 2000 DSDP, in 2002 we traded for a 40' 2002 DSDP. Latest was in 2015 when we bought the present monster 50,000# 45' Magna.
Just kept getting bigger, like we did with the boats. 12' to 17' to 18' to 23'.
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Old 07-22-2018, 10:12 AM   #11
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You probably have more diverse experience than most of the rest of us. Nervous is ok, You will to fine.
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Old 07-22-2018, 11:22 AM   #12
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If it’s a gasser with a lot of over hang be conscious of tail swing especially with cars going around you or even coming toward you when you making right turns. I have a 12’ over hang and it swings 27”
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Old 07-22-2018, 11:49 AM   #13
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Watched a great video on youtube. Took it for a test drive on city streets with the ride a long pointing where to turn. Bought it and drove it home; no water, no gas, worn out shocks - was blown all over the place. Then took it to an empty parking to practice. Been down hill since then.
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Old 07-22-2018, 12:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allentc2 View Post
Reading the threads here, I get the impression most of y'all have a LOT of experience driving big vehicles. In my time, I've driven "big" vehicles......M2 Bradley, M1 Abrams, even an M113 though that's not really "big". I drove a 5-ton a few times, and an LMTV once. The LMTV, being a cab-over design, is probably the closest thing to a Class A I've ever driven.

So how did you take that first step? I've looked into renting one, too expensive really, even if I could find a Class A (most rentals around here are Cs). A local dealer said I could "test drive" one there, but they are pretty busy. Not gonna lie....kinda nervous about getting behind the wheel of MINE the first time. LOL
Like you I've had the military experience of driving 40 ton cranes, Duece & 1/2, etc., even taxi airplanes in Afghanistan between cement bunker walls with only a few feet of wing tip clearance.

I've also had experience towing Travel Trailers from Canada to Key West. Last year I stepped into a beautiful 2008 Georgetown 373 and drove it 1.5 hours home. Let me say I white knuckled it home. I enlisted the help of a buddy and my friend kept an eye on the right side of the vehicle while we drove straight through the heart of Dallas.

With the help of the DW as my copilot we have driven over 2K and it has become pretty normal now. Three things helped me get comfortable with it. I used a trim button on the dashboard as a guide. If the trim button was lined up with the yellow road line I was centered in the lane. Others have suggested to use a dry erase marker on the windshield and line it up with the yellow road line. Kinda like sighting a weapon. Second was if I imagined myself as if I was riding my motorcycle in the left side of the lane I was perfectly centered. Third was using the rear view camera to help determine if I was clear to change lanes in heavy traffic.

Good luck and I'm sure it will be old hat for you in no time!

Oh and never never never get in a rush and premap your route on Google maps.
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