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Old 07-14-2015, 06:40 AM   #1
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What is the safest way to move a big rig??

We've all done it. Driven a large Motorhome hundreds if not thousands of miles across the country. Most of us have never had an accident thankful, attributed to many years of defensive driving experience. Driven more hours than we can remember. But in today's generation of careless drivers, driving a big rig is a challenge and a task best left to the most talented drivers. The increasing amount of drivers on the road who have no respect for larger vehicles only makes matters worse. For me living in Utah during the summer, getting a Motorhome in and out of Salt Lake City can be a real hassle. Fortunate for me and amazingly I have never had an accident or any close calls for that matter. Requires a lot patience.

So what are some of the things that you do on the road to keep you safe?? When your driving your big rig across the country, and especially when you encounter bad traffic situations you'd rather have avoided. So I am curious, what are all the safety techniques you use to keep you out of auto accident entanglements or close calls. I figure this thread will be useful for those that have never driven a big rig before and could use our help.

I'd like feedback from all of the I RV 2 community. Consider it defensive driving school for the RVier . Thanks in advance.

1979 Dodge Tioga Class C 24 foot. 1987 Fleetwood Bounder 34 Foot.

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Old 07-14-2015, 07:16 AM   #2
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Being that I only drive in the 'lower 48' every couple years or so, I plan my routes in an attempt to miss major cities. If I have to drive through large cities with lots of traffic, I try to plan my driving time for the time when the traffic will be the least. I will find a 'rest area' outside of these areas and wait until I feel that the traffic will be manageable for my driving skills. Here in Alaska, it is more of watching for wildlife, construction areas and 'out of State' drivers that may not be paying attention to the road, but taking in all there is to see.

2009 38' Diplomat
CSM- retired, wife as co-pilot
Reka & Ali providing security (our 2 labs)
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Old 07-14-2015, 07:28 AM   #3
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If you routinely drive faster than 60 or 65 mph just because you can, you are a danger to yourself and others--other safety issues are relative......
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Old 07-14-2015, 07:28 AM   #4
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What he said. There is a world of difference in Chicago or NYC at 3 AM vs 3 PM. ;-) An hour or so of driving and look for another Walmart or rest area.
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Old 07-14-2015, 08:25 AM   #5
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Be aware of what is around you. Use your mirrors a lot. Drive at a comfortable speed for you.

I just went over bridge constriction and the lane was 10'6". My coach is 102"wide. Lost of spare room
2002 Country Coach Intrigue
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Old 07-14-2015, 08:47 AM   #6
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As far as defensive driving is concerned I have a fully automated warning and recommended action system
Paul, Kathy, and Tux the Mini Schnauzer
2014 Tiffin Phaeton 42 LH, 2013 Honda CRV
"When the time comes to look back, make sure you'll like what you see"
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Old 07-14-2015, 08:57 AM   #7
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Spend a great deal of time setting up your mirrors correctly for you. It is different than a car. LazyDays' confidence course is one way (OOPS, my link no longer works. Drivers Confidence | betterRVing! ). Our county school bus division has a slightly different way. The challenge is to find the sweatspot between perfect for highway driving and perfect for campground manuevering. Given most of my schoolbus driving was in narrow subdivisions, I prefer the latter set up.
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Old 07-14-2015, 09:03 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Selah View Post
As far as defensive driving is concerned I have a fully automated warning and recommended action system
I suspect you posted this with humor, but it leads me to a serious point. When we are in the motorhome, I drive and my wife navigates. This eliminates a lot of my reading road signs, looking way ahead and other factors that keep my eyes away from our present situation. She does not like driving the motorhome, but she has, so she understands low overhangs, wide turns and dead ends.

It takes a bit of faith, though. If my wife says to turn, I will do it even if I think it is wrong. We have made a few wrong turns, but respect for the division of labor makes it work. In over 80,000 miles of driving we had one minor accident - she was driving the towd at the time!

Minding the big 'ol coach, looking at the gauges, glancing at the rear camera, listening for weird sounds... there is a lot to do.

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Old 07-14-2015, 09:13 AM   #9
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  • I keep my speeds between 64 and 65 mph. IF I come up behind a big truck or another coach and I want to pass I do so quickly. I will ease it up to 70 mph, get around them build some distance get back in the right lane and slow back to original speed.
  • Know what is around you at ALL times, this keeps me aware if I have to make an evasive maneuver because of some idiot cutting me off
  • I too try to get through big cities before traffic gets heavy.
  • Always signal my intentions with turn signals
  • Plan my route using on line maps, study the roads when I get to camp sites so I am somewhat familiar with the area when I get there. Using the satellite view on the maps helps.
Charlie & Diane Amato
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Old 07-14-2015, 09:17 AM   #10
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Number one in my book, ( Requires a lot patience.) You said it best.

When I worked as an OTR trucker, it was very important to not let people get under your skin. Sometimes I would have a problem with this, so I would take a break from the road.

Now, having driven and worked in the middle east, not much surprises me on the road.
I'm also a lifetime biker. Non-bikers would be amazed if they could see through the eyes of a biker on the road.

Where a biker will see a coke can on the road better than an eighth mile away and steer around it, a non-biker will only see it after they run it over. This is not bashing, just fact, and my point is, we need to continue to enhance our sense of awareness at all times while driving any size vehicle.

Always use turn signals, even though some drivers take that as permission to block you from your intended lane change or movement.

Always expect to be cut off, brake checked, and for the next red light to be run by someone in a hurry. I've found that if I plan an accident, I can prevent having one.

my 2cts
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Old 07-14-2015, 09:33 AM   #11
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Always keep your eyes on the road and mirrors because things change in a second. Never follow to close and avoid Rush Hour if possible!!
06 HR Navigator 45'PBQ Detroit 60 / 2014 4D Jeep
USAF 72-82 A1E/A1H(SkyRaider) DW Retired Nurse
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Old 07-14-2015, 10:10 AM   #12
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Oldmattb, it was posted in humor but there is a lot of truth as well. Like you DW does all the navigating. The GPS is on her side as well as the TPMS. There is nothing but the dash gauges to distract me.
I look at the route before leaving but once no the road I am totally dependent on her informing me of upcoming turns, exits, etc. She is exceptionally competent and this works very well for us.
Paul, Kathy, and Tux the Mini Schnauzer
2014 Tiffin Phaeton 42 LH, 2013 Honda CRV
"When the time comes to look back, make sure you'll like what you see"
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Old 07-14-2015, 10:46 AM   #13
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As a thirty year retired Navy guy, and also holding a pilots ticket, the one thing most important to me when rolling a vehicle on the road is what I learned to call
situational awareness. You gotta have your head up and on a swivel at all times.
Along with having your mirrors adjusted you gotta be ready to anticipate
just about anything. In my navy career (aviation maintenance) I bounced around the world, drove all manner of vehicles from maintenance trucks to large buses. I drove left hand, right hand drive, with all manner of gear shifts.
I drove these vehicles in diverse traffic from Naples, Italy, to Manilla, the Phillipines. Stationed with the navy and later working civil service in Japan, I drove all manner and type of vehicles from buses to small trucks, plus my own personal rig up and down the country and through all manner of traffic including Tokyo rush hour traffic. And keep in mind they drive on the "other" side of the road as they do in Great Britain. Did this for 24 years without incident.
(Well I did have one minor mishap, I met my Japanese bride in 1961 when I backed over her bike. But thats another story I'll save for later :-) )
Here at home I've done the Los Angeles rush hour and the same in New York. Its all about awareness. Gotta have the head up and turning. Be alert. Don't drive tired. When I'm tired I stop and rest. These days as i get further into "geezerhood", I tend to stop and reat more often then before. Thats kind of my spin on things. By the way as a little side note was reading the post from
NICEGUY 9605 and noticed your Air Force with time in A1E/AiH Skyraiders.
Just wanted to mention in 1957 thru 1960 I served with VA-25 a navy outfit
with AD-6 and later AD-7 Skyraiders. I was what you air force guys call a crew chief. We deployed aboard USS Midway into the western Pacific operating shore based in the Phillipines and Japan also during that period. VA-25 known as the "Fist of the Fleet" is one of the oldest continuing service squadrons in the navy. In 1965 pilots from the squadron knocked down a MIG 19 jet fighter. The first
"Able Dog" outfit to do so. The squadron turned in their "Able Dog's" in 1967 the last navy squadron to do so before switching to jets. Today VA-25 is VFA-25 operating out of NAS Lemore, California flying F/A 18 Hornets. Just thought I'd add this and also to you... Well Done, sir. Thank you for your service ,in one hell of a fine airplane!
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Old 07-14-2015, 10:56 AM   #14
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Pretty much all been covered. I look long and hard at the routes I'm taking and the times of days that I am likely to encounter possible heavy traffic areas. I will stop one or two hours early on any given day if it means that I don't end up in the middle of an urban centre during rush hour. Having said that, sometimes it is unavoidable in which case, it is becomes more an attitude of going with the flow. There is no point in being a fire breather in heavy traffic. It will avail you naught. So just go along and be easy with it. One consolation is that if traffic is only going 5 miles an hour, you aren't holding anyone up or forced to make sudden stops or lane changes.

1999 - National Tropi Cal
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