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Old 03-27-2016, 10:08 AM   #1
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Wife reluctant to drive replacement motor home.

We traded in our gas powered 37' Newmar Kountry Star for a diesel powered 40' Newmar Dutch Star. My wife had no problem driving the KS, yet she is very nervous/reluctant about driving the 3 foot longer DS. Anyone got any ideas on how to get her more comfortable behind the wheel? All ideas are greatly appreciated.


Steve Albert
09 DS DP

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Old 03-27-2016, 10:15 AM   #2
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Try to find a large empty parking lot to practice in. Confidence should build quickly.

Neal and Deb + Mya and Gizmo, the pup's
2003 Winnebago Sightseer 30B

May the roads rise up to meet you, May the winds be always at your back...
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Old 03-27-2016, 10:26 AM   #3
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The Dutch Star should drive better in every way....more power, more powerful air brakes to stop quicker, independent front suspension.....the engine is way in the rear, so you will hear less engine noise.....

Change is difficult .....but she should build confidence quickly.
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Old 03-27-2016, 10:31 AM   #4
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Is it just the physical size???
It might be air brakes, engine response, steering,
or drivers chair size, feel, etc.

Try to get to the real reason and work on that.
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Old 03-27-2016, 10:42 AM   #5
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Maybe a class with an instructor? My husband and I did the RV Driving School.
Ours was very local and very helpful. While we are in a 38ft DS DP, it does help. It might also be the difference between gas and diesel as well as the three extra feet.

Ask her why it bothers her...but not in an accusatory way. Just ask her why she is uncomfortable with the slightly longer DP. But do NOT push her.
2001 Newmar Dutch Star DSDP3852
Me, Husband, Desi & Lucy [Jack Russell Terrier/Chihuahua mix]
We leave the feline contingent at home.
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Old 03-27-2016, 10:43 AM   #6
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Apparently she is comfortable with the width of the RV so I think the major reason is the length for making turns. I found this RV Confidence Course video to be very helpful, especially in making turns. A large empty parking lot setting out some traffic cones or something else would really help.

2012 A.C.E. 29.2
2013 Ford Focus Titanium
Mountain Home, AR
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Old 03-27-2016, 10:49 AM   #7
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I know my wife is intimidated by all the "doo-dads" on our DP... the tag lift, the parking brake, the air gauges, the exhaust brake, the transmission control panel, etc. It's all so foreign to her that she feels like she'll be completely distracted from driving safely and/or not know what to do with all those switches and buttons when she needs to push one.

Also, from watching me she knows she has to swing out wide for right turns - even more so when towing - and she's a little freaked about "how much is too much and what if I don't swing out enough?" I try to reassure her that it all comes pretty naturally with practice, but she's worried about what kind of damage she could do while she's "learning."

Secondarily, she's so freaked out about all the little stuff that I worry she won't be prepared to handle an emergency - like a blow out - so that freaks me out... so for now I do all the driving.

She practices on dirt roads while we're boondocking on BLM, so maybe over time she'll want to get out on the road, but I'm not going to force her beyond her comfort level. Let's face it - these are big machines that can easily overwhelm anyone who's not ready for the driver's seat; the last thing we need is someone behind the wheel who's not mentally prepared to drive one.
2004 Newmar Mountain Aire 4302
pulling a 2013 Ford Edge Limited

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Old 03-27-2016, 12:29 PM   #8
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I had trouble going from Class C to Class A. Finally, just kept sitting in the drivers seat, driving around the campground until I got the nerve to go on the highway. It really didn't take that long to feel comfortable with the longer vehicle.
Brenda and Frank, FTers, Zebulon, NC
Raisin our mixed hound and our cat BooBoo.
2004 37' Holiday Rambler Vacationer
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Old 03-27-2016, 12:50 PM   #9
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Spend a week or even less at the Lazy Days Campground in Seffner Florida. Then sign her up for the FREE Driver's Confidence Course at Lazy Days.

While staying there you will see many coaches driving by with women at the wheel. They have classroom instruction first followed with the driving session right in the campground.

Dr4Film ----- Richard
2002 Monaco Windsor PBT 40Ft. (R HOME) - 30Ft. 2006 Pace Trailer (R JUNK). Trailer Has 06 VUE (R TOWD) 04 Victory Alen Ness Edition (R RYDE). Full-Timer for 14 Yr's BUT now a Part-Timer. Cummins ISC-350 With Banks Power Pack and Upgraded PRXB PacBrake.
Winter Home in Flagler Beach FL - Now Staying in Dansville NY for the Summer.
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Old 03-27-2016, 12:54 PM   #10
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Seems obvious to me! DP's are a testosterone thing!!!
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Old 03-27-2016, 02:40 PM   #11
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It might be she's uncomfortable being ahead of the steer wheels rather than on top of, or just behind, them. When I started a second job as a transit coach driver, after 30+ years as a mechanical engineer in the aircraft industry, I initially had problems with that. A good instructor soon got me sorted out, but the 45-footers in city rush-hour traffic were white knuckle moments for a few weeks. I'm glad I didn't have to get used to double-deckers!

Maybe an hour or so with an instructor from your local transit agency or one of their experienced drivers, using your coach, would solve the problem.
Frank Damp -Anacortes, WA,(DW- Eileen)
ex-pat Brits (1968) and now ex-RVers, as of 08 Dec 14.
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Old 03-27-2016, 02:57 PM   #12
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I did not have to encourage my wife to drive either the Class C we had or the Class A we have now. She has ventured out on her own to dog shows for the last 19 years in RV's so with her it was a matter of necessity.

That being said when we travel together I do most of the driving. She prefers to talk on the phone, search the web, check facebook.
Jim J
2002 Monaco Windsor 38 PKD
2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee w/5.7 Hemi
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Old 03-27-2016, 03:11 PM   #13
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I sort of have the same problem with my fiancée. We were driving somewhere and I mentioned that I need to teach her on driving the RV so she can give me a break. She said she'd prefer not to drive it. She is intimidated by its size.

Mind you, it is only a 23' Class C, not at all difficult to drive. She is a bit petite in stature.

I'll have to work on her some more. Having her try it out in a big empty parking lot is a good idea.
2015 Winnebago Minnie Winnie 22R

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog is too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
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Old 03-27-2016, 03:20 PM   #14
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Get a 'Kountry Star' logo for the Dutch Star's steering wheel. Use it whenever she is behind the wheel. Maybe ??

If her fear is that the new is wider than the old, check it out. Is it? There might be a perception of width because of the mirrors, or because the cockpit floor is flat. Perhaps if she is shown that it feels wider but is not really much wider, than she can more easily deal with it.

Of course, the new one might be significantly wider. In which case, she will have to take the slow boat to comfort as most others here have described.

Good luck.

Karl I. Sagal KarlSagal@Gmail.com
Well done is better than well said. (Ben Franklin)
1988 Fleetwood Southwind, 34'
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