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Old 02-24-2011, 07:32 PM   #15
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All good suggestions. But do be aware of "swingout" at the rear. Don't make this mistake.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_GLOawePPjU...0/IMG_6615.JPG

Also, check out this website for pointers.

RV Driver Confidence Course: Part 7 - Better RVing



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Old 02-24-2011, 07:40 PM   #16
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Go slow and realize that driving a motor home requires a lots more attention than driving a car. You are much wider and there is less margin for error. Study the video’s linked above. Plan ahead, stay in the slow lane and get over for left turns well in advance. If it makes a few folks mad, then you are just making up for all the times it happened to you. It is a safety issue. Your mirrors are you best friends. Learn to use all 4. You will tell you that if you tow, you won’t even know it’s back there. That isn’t my experience. Start off gassing up without your toad. Don’t yell at your wife as she is on your side. Start off at campgrounds and work your way to state parks and boon docking.
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:04 PM   #17
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For me the Class A is easier than a C . They all get "smaller" the more you drive them. You start out big and then you end your trip with the feeling you could handle twice the length with no problems.
Use a reference point on your dash if it helps you stay in the lane ( like the edge of the defroster, or some use a small piece of tape ) this may help some drivers in instances like narrow lanes or areas of construction with jersey barriers that are placed close to the line ... they get hairy for the new driver esp. when you have 18 wheelers passing you or if you hit those areas in wind.
Be aware of where everything is esp with regards to heights of overhangs and other cars positions at all times and watch those 4 wheelers that cut in front of you on entrance ramps without accelerating properly or cut in front of you and slow down fast so they can exit the highway.

Go to an empty church lot or other lot and practice turning and backing. Lots with curbed medians separating parking areas from driving lanes are perfect. Go slow and have someone watch so you don't scrape your tires. It's a good way to get a feel for the turning radius of your rig.
I use to drive 10 wheel dump trucks for work among other heavy equipment ... way way back...and what I was taught then is to always get out of the truck and check an area that is new to you if you are backing into it. I do a walkaround every time before I back into a campground or boondock spot no matter what. I check for power posts, foreign objects overhead obstructions, soft areas etc... .. after time you get an eye for the most level spot for your rig on any given area.
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:28 PM   #18
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Good thread! I am a new owner of a Monaco La Palma, 34s. I picked it up in Arizona and rove it home to Oregon a couple of weeks ago. Couple of 100 miler overnighters so far.
I did roll a couple of right curbs so far, knock wood, I haven't "rubbed" anything yet. The small mirrors on the bottom are great, Can rally with traffic pretty good...

...When you remember to use em...

I haven't had even a close call yet but have noticed that I didn't look in those babies before switching lanes on occasion. Gotta do that every time, They really work good for seeing down the side of your coach.
I try to give a wide tall berth to everything on the road and am getting more confortable backing up and getting close to stuff like hook up/fuel/sewer than when I started. In the beginning I wouldn't even get close. I guess you learn by doing. I am just a beginner so all tips appreciated.
So far pretty easy going but still a beginner.
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:35 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctcamper View Post
For me the Class A is easier than a C . They all get "smaller" the more you drive them. You start out big and then you end your trip with the feeling you could handle twice the length with no problems.
Use a reference point on your dash if it helps you stay in the lane ( like the edge of the defroster, or some use a small piece of tape ) this may help some drivers in instances like narrow lanes or areas of construction with jersey barriers that are placed close to the line ... they get hairy for the new driver esp. when you have 18 wheelers passing you or if you hit those areas in wind.
Be aware of where everything is esp with regards to heights of overhangs and other cars positions at all times and watch those 4 wheelers that cut in front of you on entrance ramps without accelerating properly or cut in front of you and slow down fast so they can exit the highway.

Go to an empty church lot or other lot and practice turning and backing. Lots with curbed medians separating parking areas from driving lanes are perfect. Go slow and have someone watch so you don't scrape your tires. It's a good way to get a feel for the turning radius of your rig.
I use to drive 10 wheel dump trucks for work among other heavy equipment ... way way back...and what I was taught then is to always get out of the truck and check an area that is new to you if you are backing into it. I do a walkaround every time before I back into a campground or boondock spot no matter what. I check for power posts, foreign objects overhead obstructions, soft areas etc... .. after time you get an eye for the most level spot for your rig on any given area.
This is very good advice. I still sometimes use a reference point on my dash to determine where I want to be in my lane when heavy 18 wheeler traffic is all around me. For me it is the air conditioner outlet to the left of my steering wheel. I keep that lined up with the center lane paint and that keeps me perfectly centered in my lane.

Also, when I started driving our motorhome, I found myself looking "down" at the road, as if I were about to drive over a cliff. The more I look a long way down the road, instead of just ahead of my front bumper, the more relaxing it is and the safer I drive in my lane. The only exception is what I described above when things get "tight" and hairy.

Another tip a friend of mine gave me regarding turning. Let's say you are turning to the right. Look to your right and position your butt where you want to end up and then turn it hard right, providing your pivot point (rear axle) is clear, you will end up where you want to be. In other words, line up the center of where you want the center of your coach to be to where you are sitting in your chair. It has to do with the fact that you are sitting on top of and slightly ahead of your front tires. I use this a lot parking in our RV storage barn and in turning into narrow driveways. It always works if I execute it right.

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Old 02-24-2011, 08:37 PM   #20
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I still have my 32 ft Baystar and all the advice offered so far is good. I remember my first time driving home across Alligator Alley. The road was pretty straight so all I had to do was keep it in the lanes. That proved to be very stressful. Its had to figure out how centered you are until you look in the review mirrors and see the lines on both sides of the vehicle. If you loosesight of one then you are to far over into that lane. Once you figure that out you look at the stripes just to your left and see where you loose sight of them as they go below the windshield. Once you get that memorized you have your sweet spot. Go slow and rest often. WE visit our MH every week at the storage lot, even if we do not drive it and have dinner in our home away from home. The great thing about the size we have is that it is relatively easy to drive. Have you planned your first trip in it yet? It is never to early to start dreaming. Pick someplace really great like Fort Wilderness. If you have a negative expereince there you are doing something really wrong.
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:53 PM   #21
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It is not all that hard. Go to a large parking lot where there is no traffic and practice turns and backing. When backing, only do it after checking behind the rig and have a spotter back behind you with an FRS radio. Have the spotter watch the corners and for overhead clearance.

Have your spotter stay in site in your mirrors. If they cannot see you in the mirror, you cannot see them....then stop.

Never get in a hurry or be pushed by some clod that does not have any patience.

And last, do not run over anything that is larger than you are.

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Old 02-24-2011, 09:11 PM   #22
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Don't choke the steering wheel, it will give you white knuckles. It's just like driving a car, accept it's twice as long!

Take your time, & enjoy!
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Old 02-24-2011, 09:23 PM   #23
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My experience is that length is much easier to deal with than width. Most Class A's are 102 inches wide plus the mirrors and awning. Your margin for error is greatly reduced than with a car. Length comes into play when you pass which for me is very rare and when you are maneuvering around the campground or in tight corners when you are going real slow anyway.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:32 PM   #24
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Been driving 40-45ft. intercity bus here in Salt Lake for 23 yrs. now. As they say," it's all done with mirrors".
But seriously, remember the Smith, 5 Keys of Professional Driving:

1. Aim High in your eyesight,(don't drive the front bumper of the guy in front of you.

2.Get the Big Picture,avoid tunnel vision

3. Keep your eyes moving(far,close)

4. Leave yourself an out(don't pull right up behind a stopped vehicle. What if they stall? Make sure you can go around

5. Make sure they see you. Make eye contact with them. USE your horn!

And oh yeah, always allow Transit Buses to merge in!! Have a safe trip!
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:56 PM   #25
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All great advice.
The first time I dove my Class A, I was scared to death.
Within a short time I calmed down and it became easier to drive. What I soon realized was that it reminded me of driving my Chevy van when I was a kid.
Don't worry, in a matter of no time you will feel like you have been driving it forever
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Old 02-24-2011, 11:19 PM   #26
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It's only been brought up once in this thread. I needs to be brought up again. The biggest mistake you can make with your new rig is having a spotter when you are backing up disappear from your view and you don't stop. You must immediately stop, do no move, until you confirm positively where they are and they are in the clear even if you have to walk back to do so. This can be fatal mistake.
Other than that Class A is very easy to drive. The visibility out weights any size difference. The other point that has been mentioned is focus farther ahead on the road, this does two things it makes you more aware of the big picture and reduces over steering. There is a two second rule for following a car, in a motor home it needs to be 5 or more.
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Old 02-25-2011, 05:12 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saltfevr
Been driving 40-45ft. intercity bus here in Salt Lake for 23 yrs. now. As they say," it's all done with mirrors".
But seriously, remember the Smith, 5 Keys of Professional Driving:

1. Aim High in your eyesight,(don't drive the front bumper of the guy in front of you.

2.Get the Big Picture,avoid tunnel vision

3. Keep your eyes moving(far,close)

4. Leave yourself an out(don't pull right up behind a stopped vehicle. What if they stall? Make sure you can go around

5. Make sure they see you. Make eye contact with them. USE your horn!

And oh yeah, always allow Transit Buses to merge in!! Have a safe trip!
If your driving a city bus it must be "smoke & mirrors".
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Old 02-25-2011, 05:53 PM   #28
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Remember that you are 102 inches wide, if you are back east the roads are narrow and some bridges are low. If you use GPS the things lies to you. Think ahead, some parking lots have island that are to sharp to turn. Watch over head at gas station and banks. Remember you are 12 feet high. Watch for guys cutting you off, you don't stop on a dime. Anyway enjoy and have a good time. One last thing, if you pull into somewhere made use there is a was out.
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