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Old 09-19-2010, 04:49 PM   #1
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Red face RV driving school--- Florida

Ok, I have to admit it.. as a newby to RV'ing, and getting ready to buy my first Rig.. I have only drove 1 Rv about 10 years ago for about 15 miles... Now that I am really serious about it, how dose one get comfortable driving a large RV without making a mess and bending metal?

I was hoping for some advise, alot of it.. as the unit I am buying is also a diesel pusher.. 35 ft and we will be pulling a small toad soon after on a tow dolly..

My wife is really worried about driving it, we are both in our 50's and good drivers.. but this is a whole new ball game..

Is there a RV driving school, course, or someone that can advise us on the best way to learn so we are comfortable..
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Old 09-19-2010, 05:22 PM   #2
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RV school

Welcome to some of the most fun you will have on the road. You are starting out big with the coach you are buying. I don't know of a school but a search should find one somewere. I would start without the toad. Take the coach on some highways and work to smaller roads. The biggest problem people have is the swing of the rear when turning.

You need to get the feel for taking left and right hand turns, go past the normal turning point so as no to cut the turn. I am sure you will get some very good info on this site. The more you drive the easyer it gets. We are on our 4th Class A 35 foot Windsport at 12'11" in height and it handles wonderfull.
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Old 09-19-2010, 05:46 PM   #3
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Check rvschool.com. They are a great school and regularly have classes available in Fl.
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Old 09-19-2010, 06:00 PM   #4
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dxbear,

Scroll thru this Lazydays link Better RVing: RV Tips Table of Contents. It contains some good driving and other helpfull info.

As for schools, I googled and found these two that you could check out. Hopefully someone with first hand experience will reply and let you know if they are worth it.
RV Driver Confidence Course - Lazydays RV - Number One In RVs (Gas & Diesel Motor homes, Fifth Wheels, and Travel Trailers)

RV Driving School.

Another source for driving courses are Rally's such as Good Sam or FMCA.

Enjoy your MH and safe travels.
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Old 09-19-2010, 06:15 PM   #5
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Hi mikron,
Go to RV Driver Confidence Course - Lazydays RV - Number One In RVs (Gas & Diesel Motor homes, Fifth Wheels, and Travel Trailers) and consider this course.

In addition, some things I have picked up over the years.
1. Adjust both right and left mirrors so you can just see the side of the coach (the upper mirrors). As you drive down the road, you can use these mirrors to see the lane markers. If you can see both sides lane markers, the coach is correctly positioned in the lane.

2. Adjust the lower side mirrors down and outward so they can clearly see the lane next to the coach. My lower (convex) mirrors are adjusted to they clearly see the lane next to the coach all the way to the rear of the coach.

3. The mirrors should show you a vehicle approaching from a distance (upper mirror). As the vehicle approaches the rear of the coach it passes to the convex mirror until it can be seen by the driver.

4. I drive with my back-up camera on all the time.

5. Have a helper stand next to the rear axle next to the coach. Place a small dot on the lower mirror where the assistant's feet are. If you have a tight turn to make, you will know where your pivot point is by watching the dot. As the dot passes an obstruction, you can safely make the turn.

6. On the front windshield, I have two small lenses that allow me to look almost straight down to the bumper.

7. With a helper and a measuring tape, measure 15 feet Freon the front of the coach. Have the helper stand on the 15' marker. Sit in the driver's seat and place a small dot on the windshield where the helpers feet are. Have the helper move toward the coach until their feet disappear. The helper should note via the measuring tape how far they are from the front of the coach. Now you know why have the two small lenses on the windshield. On my coach, the helper's fee disappeared at 12' from the front of the coach. Without the lenses, I can not see what is on the ground up to 12' in front of the coach. This aid is for maneuvering in CGs.

8. The manufacturer of the coach's engine can tell you the RPM range that will deliver the best fuel mileage. For me, it is 62 MPH. That is what I cruise at.

9. Use the exhaust (engine?) brake when descending mountains. The service brakes should be used for routine stopping.

10. Diesel coaches do not accelerate, they gain momentum.

That is all, for now.
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Old 09-19-2010, 07:03 PM   #6
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Awesome advice.. I am really thankful to all of you for the help, ideas and painting a picture... I'll look into the schools asap..

As to starting out big.. well.. why mess around..

I assume these courses require you to bring your rig to the location, like at Lazy zDays in Tampa.. Right now that task seems daunting as it would be a 120 miles one way! BUt I guess I;ll just have to rough it.. i would not have my Toad attached, just a tow dolly that comes with the rig..
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Old 09-19-2010, 08:30 PM   #7
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Driving

Check Nonno's post. I went to Better RVing it is Lazyday's. Tip from site for Florida, towing you need class D lic. Good video also showing different ways to mark your coach as referance points. I am a Lazyday's life member and will call for course.
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Old 09-20-2010, 09:13 AM   #8
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Exclamation No class D in Florida for ..

I just checked and read our Florida site, it refers to someone towing an RV, like a trailer or a 5th wheel, in excess of 3000 lbs.. I have not seen anything that addresses a class A driver pulling a toad..

Tried to call but the wait line is impossible to get through.. the web site does say that a regular class E license is all that is required to drive an RV here in Florida.

With this, I'll be using a tow dolly to pull my little Toyota Rav4, its lite, do you think I still need a trailer braking system?
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Old 09-20-2010, 04:46 PM   #9
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Hi dxbear,
You will need a breaking system for the dolly. This is for your protection (liability and self).
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Old 09-20-2010, 06:32 PM   #10
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RV ownership show stopper

Thanks for the advise, I had one arranged..

On another subject: I just got finished looking at cost of campgrounds and living on the cheap here in FL.. and it really does not exisit here.. in our area 600 to 1200 a month was the average.. this is a real show stopper for me going any further in this direction..

Lets see: RV pmt $450, Ins. $80, Fuel, propane, then lot rents of $600.. over a $ grand a month.. tough to do in a bad economy and looking for work..

thanks for the help and happy trails to all.. Tango Uniform..
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Old 09-20-2010, 06:37 PM   #11
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You didn't say where in FLorida you were from. It''s a huge state (2 hard days from one end to the other. I have taken the course at Lazy Days and it is pretty good. There are some CD's available. Practice is great. You are at a big advantage starting in flat Florida. The mountains and Western driving are harder. Good Luck. Learn to use your mirrors, they are your best friends.
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