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Old 07-04-2022, 04:00 AM   #1
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Arrow driving experience relative to size

Hello all, I have been musing on this lifestyle for several years now and feel the need to just jump. I see a used diesel that I like, but my partner balks at the length 35'8". Between 32 and 36 feet how much does length impact the ability to drive? I know female bus drivers who say driving buses is a piece of cake. But saying and doing can be quite different.
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Old 07-04-2022, 04:24 AM   #2
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“Saying and doing are not the same”; exactly right.

Have you thought about finding a qualified driving instructor that is a good fit for you both. Your partner and you can learn what it’s like while gaining instruction in a likely stress free pace. Without making a huge financial and emotional commitment first.

You could rent a similar sized rig but some instructors also RV and may have one for you to drive. Also think about the floor plan.

As to “ how much does length impact the ability to drive?”
There are too many variables. Have either of you driven large vehicles? Are either of you uncomfortable driving a personal vehicle? Are either of you apprehensive of the others driving now? Are you both good with backing up?

At first, I had trouble staying centered in the lane even though I drove large fire trucks for years. Through an instructor, I found the problem was the coach actually steered too easily, I was used to a “truck like steering feel. It is more like a luxury sedan when the rig is sound, balanced and set up correctly.

My issue was fixed by changing how I held the steering wheel. From the 10 and 2 way I learned (and taught) years ago to today’s air bag position 9 and 3. (Also recommended by NHTSA) This allowed less see-sawing, more relaxed holding of the wheel. Using the arm rests. Less tiring overall.

But each person is different. And I had the other spatial awareness of large vehicles in my past experience.

Get a good instructor and as you already know, “do the doing” part first.

Good that you are thinking ahead.

While this is my opinion others are also correct in how they respond.
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Old 07-04-2022, 05:25 AM   #3
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We just sold our longbed F-350 dually and fifth wheel (combined length of about 55 feet going down the road...and wiggling into a spot in an RV park.

We recently completed a 3,330 mile trek in our truck/fifth-wheel combo to Charleston, Savannah, Augusta, Birmingham, southern Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana before heading back to Texas. At age 72 we felt it was time to downsize just a bit.

Now we have a 37-foot Georgetown that at first seemed huge, but after the first couple of times driving it is much more comfortable than the very long truck/trailer combo.

Now, once we get our Gladiator set up as a tow car, I'm sure that will once again add length and perhaps stress - but at least we can unhook it before trying to get into a spot at an RV park.

I'm looking forward to a shorter rig but had I never pulled the fifth wheel with the truck, I'm afraid I'd be concerned about jumping in cold.

I really like the idea of getting a qualified driving instructor that FloridaSon recommended. Or, I see on that "Going RV" TV show people go to dealers and get to take a test drive. Perhaps that's only for the camera - but if they permit it, that might give you a taste of what you're getting into.
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Old 07-04-2022, 05:55 AM   #4
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I would NOT suggest renting a large U-Haul as I've seen suggested in similar posts. Sure they are easy to find and cheap in comparison but the setup is not a close comparison.

Stop by a dealer and see if they will help. We did this and got a very thorough course on turning, backing up and going straight down the road.

Last comment - when lining up only use the line to your left. The right or curb side might not have a line. If it does due to width differences you end up weaving.
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Old 07-04-2022, 06:20 AM   #5
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You wouldn’t notice much difference based on size alone. How the rig is configured can make a difference. Whichever one you go with, you’ll get used to it and know what to watch for. We’ve had big rigs, small ones, trailers, boats. They’re all different. After awhile you will wonder what you were worried about.
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Old 07-04-2022, 06:36 AM   #6
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That length difference would not be noticeable at all driving down the road, backing up, or turning. Your mirrors are your best friends, rent a couple RV's and take some trips, go to an instructor, take small short trips when you buy your first unit and never be in a hurry.

The real length issue is parking, you would not really be able to take the motorhome site seeing and enjoy yourself. It's super stressful if there isn't ample room to maneuver. You would want to tow a car, bike, or rent a vehicle wherever you are going.

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Old 07-04-2022, 06:58 AM   #7
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A 36' diesel pusher will have a MUCH longer wheelbase than a 32' gasser. This will significantly change driving in slow speed tight corners such as parking lots, RV parks and even turning corners. If you are not used to the wheelbase length you may find yourself driving over curbs, scrapping trees and stop signs, etc.! This is especially true on right hand turns.
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