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Old 02-25-2011, 09:07 PM   #29
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Get advice from people who do it every day - your local school district bus drivers. They horse these 40-foot rigs around narrow residential neighborhoods with as many as 75 screaming kids on board. They are often someone's grandma!

Just hire one of them to give you some instruction - about 2 hours should do it.

After I retired from being an engineer at Boeing, I became a transit coach driver. I'd never driven anything bigger than a full-size station wagon before. Tuition on actually driving the coach was only half a day. The rest of it was learning the company routes.

The third day after I passed my CDL test, a passenger remarked on how well I handled a fairly difficult turn on a charter route I was driving. When I said it was only my third day on the job, he about fell off his seat!

It just needs a re-calibration of your awareness. After horsing a 40' coach through downtown Everett at rush hour, our 32' Class A isn't a big deal. The only difference is that I'm sitting over the front wheels instead of 5 feet ahead of them.

Good luck.
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:15 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankdamp
Get advice from people who do it every day - your local school district bus drivers. They horse these 40-foot rigs around narrow residential neighborhoods with as many as 75 screaming kids on board. They are often someone's grandma!

Just hire one of them to give you some instruction - about 2 hours should do it.

After I retired from being an engineer at Boeing, I became a transit coach driver. I'd never driven anything bigger than a full-size station wagon before. Tuition on actually driving the coach was only half a day. The rest of it was learning the company routes.

The third day after I passed my CDL test, a passenger remarked on how well I handled a fairly difficult turn on a charter route I was driving. When I said it was only my third day on the job, he about fell off his seat!

It just needs a re-calibration of your awareness. After horsing a 40' coach through downtown Everett at rush hour, our 32' Class A isn't a big deal. The only difference is that I'm sitting over the front wheels instead of 5 feet ahead of them.

Good luck.
I wouldn't let any of the school bus drivers around here get in my rig much less drive it. 50 in a 30, slam the breaks every 5 seconds. The school busses didn't get those dents from easy driving. The manufacturers should hire them to test drive the proto types. If they survive go to production. No more under powered overpriced rigs with tons of recalls.
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Old 02-26-2011, 08:11 PM   #31
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If the mirrors go through the rest of the RV will unless you are making a sharp turn.
When backing into a CG space go slower than you can crawl on your hands and knees.
Do not watch your rear end as much as where your tires are when backing up.
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Old 02-26-2011, 09:22 PM   #32
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We just got our first RV in September - a 31' Class A. Like you, I was worried about driving something so big. The biggest thing I'd even driven was a full-size Chevy van and that had been 30 years ago.

Before I would drive it on the highway, I made my husband drive it to Lowe's late on a Sunday afternoon, just after they closed. I drove around in that big old almost empty parking lot - turning left, right, backing up, everything - until I started to feel comfortable and get familiar with where things are.

You've been given a lot of great advice here. As I was. The videos some have recommended helped me a lot because I kind of knew what to expect before I ever got behind the wheel the first time.

I'm still not as comfortable driving as my husband is, but I make it a point to do some of the driving on each trip and each trip I try to drive more than I did the time before.

For me, the hardest thing at first was to remember to make maneuvers - like lane changes - more slowly. I think in part that's because I'd driven a low-slung sporty car for several years and had to break some bad habits.

As one newbie to another, about the best thing I can tell you is take your time. And don't hesitate to ask for help here. These guys are the best.

Hope you enjoy your new ride as much as we are.
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Old 02-26-2011, 09:42 PM   #33
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I took the driver's confidence course yesterday at LazyDays and I drove home from Tampa in our 33 footer. They tested us in a new 40 foot model. Lots of great tips. Barney's class is online if you want to learn the "dots" method of spotting. BetterRVing.com. Search, Barney for the videos of his course. Excellent.
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Old 02-26-2011, 10:13 PM   #34
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I've never driven an rv but I do drive a fire engine & fire truck for a living. The truck, being the longest of the apparatus, is 38'. It took a little getting used to after driving the shorter engine. But you get the hang of it quick. Make a little wider turns and take it slow. It's easy now to back it in the station with only a couple inches on each side of the mirror clearing the door.
I did like the idea of using the stickers on the mirror to judge where the rear and the wheels are
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Old 02-27-2011, 11:05 AM   #35
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The video below shows you how to set up your mirrors and is very important for a new driver. Good Luck.

YouTube - RV Driver Confidence Course - Adjusting Your Motorhome Mirrors
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