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Old 10-26-2012, 07:59 AM   #1
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Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Chico, Ca
Posts: 13
How do I learn to drive my new 40 ft RV ?

Looks like we will be flying to Florida to pick up our 2006 Monaco Diplomat, and driving it home to California. My husband wants me to share the driving. Yikes, that is one big vehicle. Any advice, besides slow and easy?

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Old 10-26-2012, 08:15 AM   #2
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Find a 40 acre parking lot and Practice. Or go on line and read and watch the vidios @
RV Driver Confidence Course: Part 1 - Better RVing

04 Horizon QD, 12 Ford Flex, Excalibar, Brakemaster, Winter Texan, RVin! since 1974
Norm, Donna & Tinker Kat 74 MGB-GT, 75 MGB, 01 Z3
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:15 AM   #3
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Spartan Chassis
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Location: Cato, WI
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Try this linkfor some basic knowledge and tips.

RV Driver Confidence Course: Part 1 - Better RVing

I was in your situation last year and these videos made driving much more comfortable. 1/2 hour setting up your mirrors and reference point will save many tires and scratches.

Pleaseant and safe travels --- Tom
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:20 AM   #4
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Location: Michigan
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Start in a big open parking lot and use red cones or markers to get comfortable with tight turns, especially right hand ones. Also get a feel for where the back of the unit is and the air brake if equipped.

Then on to a low traffic area. It will seem like you are riding/sitting on the white dividing line but you will soon get used to it. Make sure your mirrors are adjusted properly for maximum vision and be aware of a possible blind spot on the RH mid side of the coach.
1999 Newmar Mountain Aire MADP 4080, Cummins ISC 8.3L, Allison, Spartan MM IFS, Howard Power Center, Chev Trailblazer LTZ Towed w/ BlueOx rigging, Segway X2.
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:21 AM   #5
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Forest River Owners Club
Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 859
Hi and welcome
Congratulations on your purchase. Is there a AMA or an AAA that offers a RV driving course where you will be picking up your Monaco?
Search on this site and YouTube for driving tips.
Don't be in a hurry to get home. Be willing to drive a bit slower than the posted speed limit. Try to keep at least 6 seconds between you and the car in front. Be aware of whats going on around you, behind you and a few blocks ahead. Watch your tail swing when turning. Keep an eye on the back when turning to avoid clipping a car or an object.
Have a safe travel home
2010 Coachmen Freelander 30QB E450 V10
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:22 AM   #6
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Reminds me of the time we picked up our brand new MH in Orange County on a Friday, Memorial Day weekend! Once out of town, I had the wife get behind the wheel. She was all over the road, over correcting until I mentioned to her to quit looking at the road, and instead look in the mirrors. Try to balance the distance between the body and the lines on the highway. Five minutes later she was driving like a pro. It does take some practice. Start on the open road, across Texas is a good place, not much traffic, but what there is will be speeding by you at 85. Don't worry, sit back and enjoy the time behind the wheel.
Don and Lorri
2007 Dodge 3500 dually
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:27 AM   #7
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The Lazy Days RV dealer in Tampa offers a driving coarse. I don't think you have to buy from them to take their coarse. May be worth checking into. They are not out of your way, 1 or 2 exits east of I-75 on I-4. They also have a nice campground you can stay for 2 nights free. There is a coupon on their website if you have never stayed with them before.
Dan Sees, Full Timing in the MH & Part timing in a S&B In Hampstead, NC
2013 Winnebago Journey 42e, 2014 Featherlite Car Hauler 3110 17.5', 2008 Mazda MX5,
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:31 AM   #8
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5 Minutes in a Walmart parking lot and then hit the freeway and the first 5 mins take it slow after that you'' cruise 70 like the rest! Good luck and happy travels.
The Schnauzer and his Chauffeur's
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:44 AM   #9
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Remember - you go where you are looking. Think about it when you are driving your car, you don't look at the white lines, you look ahead. A 12 second look ahead rule is typical for a car, you may want to extend that for the MH.

If you look at the center white line you will have a tendency to go that way, same for the white line on the right. So, look to where you want to go - ahead- center of the lane. Always, always scan your mirrors to be aware of your surroundings at all times. The scary part will be when you have those cement barriers, and looking at the mirrors and the lines more frequently in those cases. Don't crowd the cement - it is not forgiving.

Relax. Having a white knuckle grip on the steering wheel is only going to tire you out faster.

Depending on where your wheels are, and in most present day DP's they are under the driver, when you pull out to make a turn, don't turn until your butt is where you want to go. However, keep in mind any obstacles in front of you or you will be backing up to clear the turn. Right hand turns are more dangerous for beginning drivers. You have to "stay right, turn right." First few times may have you running over the curb and you must, absolutely must watch for any of those corner posts, like signs, street lights, mail boxes, telephones. Swing wide and turn right, butt where you want to go and watch for the on-coming lanes if you are swinging that far out, which you should not have to do.

Behind your rear tires is 12 more feet or so of RV. When you turn it is called "tail swing." You have to be aware of objects that may be in the tail swing path, like other cars.

Be careful. As others have suggested, practice, practice, practice. Most Sundays you can find an empty lot. Most weekdays you can find a church empty lot. The videos mentioned are good to watch. I just wanted to give you some hints to look for.
Wayne MSGT USMC (Ret) & Earlene (CinCHouse)
2015 Winnebago Tour 42QD
It is what it is, and then it is what you make of it.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:01 AM   #10
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When driving on a straight stretch of road you can focus on a distant car or point in the road and steer straight toward it. Glance at your mirrors and check where you are in your lane. You should be close to the center. Now look at your dash and see where it's passing over the center line. You can use that for a reference point.

You can also do this with the painted lines in an open parking lot. Pull into a space so that the MH is two feet from the line. Make sure you have your seat adjusted the same way as it will be when you drive. Look at the dash and see where the lines in the spaces ahead touch the dash. Put a piece of tape there and you can use it as a guide when on the highway. Do as 450Donn and Wayne M suggest and check your mirrors when on the road to see where you are between the lines.
Steve, Mary & Buddy our 2-year-old Chihuahua mix
1995 36' HR Endeavor, 460 w/Banks, 2005 PT Cruiser
Fulltimers originally from Michigan, hanging out in Oregon for a spell.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:04 AM   #11
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If you can, drive from rest stop to rest stop, they usually run from 30 to 80 miles apart. The big trucks get in and out easily so you should be OK. My wife drove our 40 footer plus tow for the first time this summer. You can slowly work into more difficult driving situations.
Wayne & Roberta and Maggie the Miracle Dog
08 Winnebago Destination 39W Gas UFO Workhorse Chassis
Making the Journey in our Destination

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Old 10-26-2012, 09:12 AM   #12
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I was finally able to get the better half behind the wheel a few weeks ago. I pulled over on the highway and said tale the wheel. Drove for about 60 miles, then I took over again. Just look for open road between here and there, take the wheel for as long as you feel comfortable, even if it is only an hour.
2007 Fleetwood Excursion 40E
2007 Chev Classic CC LB D/A - Toad
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:13 AM   #13
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Before you get behind the wheel , find out if your state laws require an air brake endorcement. Driving with out one could void your insurance
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:27 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Skip426 View Post
Before you get behind the wheel , find out if your state laws require an air brake endorcement. Driving with out one could void your insurance

+1 on this and even when not in your state be SURE to know everything about the air braking system. This is not meant to scare you but an instructor once said to me "it's what you don't know that could harm you".

Steve & Sally / Hudson Our Little Pom / Heidi, Houston & HiTee Forever in our Hearts
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