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Old 12-04-2011, 04:22 PM   #1
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Learning to "Direct" the driver

As new motor home owners, the long-suffering hubby and I have had a steep learning curve for the first few weeks. One thing is patently clear...I am the most pitiful "director" on the planet. When he is backing the coach into a parking space, he has to keep putting it in park, setting the brake, and jumping out to "scope" out the layout. Yes...I am totally useless.

I was trying to direct him when we were putting the coach in storage and I just felt LOST. I can certainly yell "STOP" when he's about to run over something, but I have no idea when to advise him to cut the wheels or start the turn. It is very frustrating for both of us.

Is there some sort of training I can take to learn how to effectively give directions? Or are we doomed to marriage counseling? Please advise.
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Old 12-04-2011, 04:28 PM   #2
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The best advice I can give is for your husband to learn how to use his mirrors.
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Old 12-04-2011, 04:30 PM   #3
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The best advice I can give is for your husband to learn how to use his mirrors.
We find it helpful to use walky talky's to communicate I would rather look a little silly than to run into something.
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Old 12-04-2011, 04:34 PM   #4
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The best advice I can give is for your husband to learn how to use his mirrors.
True, though I think he needs to learn to trust what he sees in the mirrors. It's very difficult to gauge exactly where the back of the MH is, even when pulling into fuel lanes....and there are always blind spots.
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Old 12-04-2011, 04:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Ed ke6bnl View Post
We find it helpful to use walky talky's to communicate I would rather look a little silly than to run into something.
I totally agree!
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Old 12-04-2011, 04:46 PM   #6
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That's true there are blind spots on the mirrors. But once he knows where the blind
spots are on each mirror he will be able to back up without a problem.
I have backed up my class c into camp site without any problems. I also can back up and park a 40ft school bus between two others by using mirrors alone.
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Old 12-04-2011, 04:48 PM   #7
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One thing my wife and I found was that walkie-talkies really simplify things. Also I think many fail to note that many backup cameras have a microphone that allows the driver to hear someone talking that is behind the motorhome.

I do not believe it is the spotters job to tell the driver when to cut the wheels etc. The primary job of the spotter is to always be in view of the driver. If you can't see him in the side view mirror he can't see you. Always maintain eye contact with the driver. Then it is a matter of indicating where the corner is for cutting into the site and letting driver know whether to move left, right forward or back. You should both determine the position you want the motorhome to be before backing or pulling in. I typically get out with my wife and we decide where we want the back of the motorhome to be as well as where the edge of the motorhome will be to allow the slide outs to clear everything and best allow for hook ups.

I believe this video will give you both a lot of help:

http://www.betterrving.com/article/r...nto_a_campsite
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Old 12-04-2011, 04:54 PM   #8
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Thanks for the link! I know that as we gain experience we will both be more relaxed and familiar with the MH. We have only ONE trip in our log book, so we are very tense and afraid of messing something up.
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Old 12-04-2011, 05:04 PM   #9
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We've done the walkie-talkies & we've been to seminars where I learned hand signals to give directions. Neither worked well. Then I took an abbreviated driving course - concentrated on backing up for me - at the Fleetwood motorhome rally one year. At the end of the course, I was able to back our coach up, slalom-style through 6 or 7 alternately placed safety cones, using only my mirrors (no backup camera). After I learned that, our next stop was a campground, mid-week, where we found a deserted loop & I practiced & practiced, driver's side & passenger-side backing, until I could slip the coach in a site on the 1st try.

Now what works best for us is for me to plant my butt in the driver's seat & Dave is my spotter. He's much better at giving directions & I'm much better at backing.

If you can get yourself to a Fleetwood rally when they have that driving course, I'd highly suggest it. They'll have you practice on a coach similar in length & type (i.e. diesel or gas) as your own. There's a regional & a national that I posted in the Fleetwood Forum (stickies). They might only offer it at a national, though, not sure.

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Old 12-04-2011, 06:29 PM   #10
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SarahW, you just happen to be the type of spotter that I like, the only thing I ask of my DW when I am backing is to keep an eye on the back of the coach, to make sure I haven't mis-judged, and to warn me if I get it too close to anything . Backing takes practice, just like most everything else in life. Everyone has to get used to their rv and get accustomed to the length, wheelbase, and overhang. Practice may not make you perfect but over time it will become more comfortable.
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SarahW View Post
As new motor home owners, the long-suffering hubby and I have had a steep learning curve for the first few weeks. One thing is patently clear...I am the most pitiful "director" on the planet. When he is backing the coach into a parking space, he has to keep putting it in park, setting the brake, and jumping out to "scope" out the layout. Yes...I am totally useless.

I was trying to direct him when we were putting the coach in storage and I just felt LOST. I can certainly yell "STOP" when he's about to run over something, but I have no idea when to advise him to cut the wheels or start the turn. It is very frustrating for both of us.

Is there some sort of training I can take to learn how to effectively give directions? Or are we doomed to marriage counseling? Please advise.
Some others above have advised well. Don't worry about telling the Hubby which way to turn the wheels. That's his job.

Your job is to ALWAYS maintain eyesight with the driver, always being in the view of the DRIVER's SIDE rear view mirror. If he can't see you, no good. Watch both corners of the rear of the coach, but stay in the driver's side mirror line of sight. You can signal him to stop while you scope the other side, and then continue to signal him to come back if the path is clear.

Work out 2 hand signals: 1) Continue to come back, and 2) STOP. I use the cross-arms signal to STOP like the airlines do. No waiving hands back and forth. Can't figure out what that means.

It's that simple. The driver should get out first and scope what he(she) is backing into, so the 2 above hand signals should do it.
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:26 PM   #12
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From what you say sounds like everything is normal. DW gives me direction I shake head and get out, start over, and when things get set up we sit down and have a adult beverage and say how great things are.
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:50 PM   #13
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I found this on another thread here and it was VERY helpful. This one happens to be "part 7" dealing with backing into a campspot but we found all 7 lessons to be very helpful.

RV Driver Confidence Course: Part 7 - Better RVing
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Old 12-04-2011, 08:10 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by NLOVNIT View Post
If you can get yourself to a Fleetwood rally when they have that driving course, I'd highly suggest it.
Someday I'll try to check that out!
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