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Old 09-27-2012, 05:42 PM   #1
HRB
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Completely Intimidated

Greetings,
Just purchased a used 36' 2011 Grand Junction and am completely intimidated by its length. I've owned a boat (half the length) most of my adult life so I have the "backing up" concept down, except for going from a bumper hitch to 5th wheel.

Are there some resources that you can recommend for city driving, specifically right hand turning. I have driven it around for two days and upset a few folks with my turns.

Appreciate any help.

Thanks,


Richard
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:54 PM   #2
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Welcome to IRV 2. The best advice I can give you about the people that you've upset with your turns is that you'll never see them again. They'll get over it or not. . The guy who gives initial driving tips at Lazy Days in Fl. gave us that advice 12 years ago and we never forgot it.
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:02 PM   #3
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Practice, Practice, Practice. I do have a few suggestions; when making a righthand turn, stay away from the curb as much as possible. Sometime I even take the righthand turn lane and part of the next lane if the street I'm turning onto is narrow. If you are straddling the lanes take it slow and make a wide turn. A lot depends on how tight of a turn you can make with your truck. Be sure to use your turn signals. People are much more forgiving if they know what you are trying to do. Watch big rigs and how they make turns you can learn a lot.
One thing that has really helped me is to know ahead of time where I'm going. I will use www.maps.live.com or google maps to get an overview of the streets, off/on ramps and parking/ campground entrances. In one case I had to exit the freeway and be in the left lane of the two lane right turn lane and the within 100 ft be in the right lane of a two lane left turn lane. (hope you can make sense of that) If I hadn't viewed it on the overhead shot on the website I would have missed the turn or caused confussion between other drivers.
Good Luck!
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:10 PM   #4
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Howdy!

You need to go to a large empty parking lot and learn how the 5er tracks when making turns. This should help you gain some confidence towing.

"Happy Trails"
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:17 PM   #5
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Hello and welcome to the forum. I agree with the others...practice!! Find a big open parking lot and get busy!
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:18 PM   #6
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Go slow....learn to snake the trailer....and like Steve said..Practice, and hug the left line when making right turns. If two left/right turn lanes, use the outside one. gives you the most room to turn. And don't worry about making a few mistakes. We all do. I've driving truck most of my adult life, and this year....after buying a new trailer, and forgetting that it is 3 feet longer then the other one....backing into the garage. Not even one camping trip in the new unit.

Something the wife and I do is use those FMRS radios when backing into a tight spot.

Good-luck
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:33 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Grumpytrkr View Post
..after buying a new trailer, and forgetting that it is 3 feet longer then the other one....backing into the garage. Not even one camping trip in the new unit.
Ouch! Oh man, I bet you wanted to cry.
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Old 09-27-2012, 07:45 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by SylviaCub View Post
Ouch! Oh man, I bet you wanted to cry.
No, just part of the learning curve. Opps.
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:28 PM   #9
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I also just moved to a 36' FW after towing many 19-31' rental TTs for years. It is a rough transition, but I learned to drive in a VW microbus, so I got used to understanding where my wheels were early on as I was sitting on top of them.

I have found I have to take a lot more stabs at backing the FW, but realized pretty quick that it backs much, much better when moved to the rear position on the slider hitch. You may or may not have one of those if you don't have a short bed truck or if you have a really modern FW with chopped corners, but I swear, the extra 12" back towards the bumper makes a HUGE difference in reaction to corrections in reverse.
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:10 PM   #10
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maybe use pylons in an empty lot....I went from 0 to a 37 foot 5er....I sweated a lot..drove slow around the back 40 and figured it out.
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Old 09-28-2012, 05:32 AM   #11
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KNOW your real height and ALWAYS think "check above" for low things
and drive on the OUTSIDE of curves...

i.e. road curves to the right ? hug the center line,
to the left, hug the edge of the road... gives you more swing room - and that's the key - always drive past the turn before turning I try to do that even when not towing now !

as stated, depends on the severity of the turn - u will learn not to just look ahead, but when turning, glance out at your inside mirror to check clearance... when we first got ours coming out of the rv dealer, so excited and ALMOST swung into another rv going thru their tight lot !!! thank goodness I was checking both ways and found out how well the brakes worked

we to went from NO rv to large
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:55 AM   #12
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Great advice, thank you !!!!!
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:24 AM   #13
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A right turn from a single lane road onto a single lane road will be one of the most difficult turns you will make. Like others have said, stay as far to the left as you can. A rule of thumb is when the rear tires of the tow vehicle passes the point you want to miss (in this case the the right side curb) is when you start your turn. Of course this is not hard and fast and will change depending on the circumstances. As long as there is no other traffic (aka absolutely safe) i have even swung into the oncoming lane to give me more room - BUT ONLY WHEN ABSOLUTELY SAFE.

I learned in a truck driving school, when making a right turn from a 2 lane road onto a single lane road, insure you directional is on and then position yourself such that your tow vehicle is in the left lane and your trailer is in the right lane, thus "capturing the intersection". Nobody can get up on your right side and you already are in the left lane. This gives you both lanes to make the turn. The rule of thumb regarding the rear tires of the tow vehicle is still in play.
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Old 09-28-2012, 06:59 PM   #14
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The first and most obvious thing is to take your whole lane and the lane of the next one over too if it is safe. Go as wide as possible and if necessary make the vehicle(s) in the left lane of traffic looking at you when you turn, back up or move to accommodate you.

Next, once you enter an intersection legally, you have the right to complete your turn. If traffic has to stop and/or get out of your way, make them.

Finally, don't get nervous or frustrated because people have to move or wait a few extra seconds because you are there. They are obligated to accommodate you. It's your road too.

Truckers have a right hand turn maneuver called a "button-hook." A better description might be a shepherd's staff with the crook on the end. That is the best way to describe the maneuver I have tried to relate without a video.

From: 30 years a trucker and 15 years a driver trainer.
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