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Old 12-02-2021, 09:22 AM   #1
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Does Driving Get Better?

Greetings!

We have just returned from our first long trip in our 08 Newmar Kountry Star, and I have a question for the group, particularly those new to the Class A world. This is our first RV, and we felt it was a good choice, given the "buy your second RV first" suggestions others have made.

I now have around 4k miles behind the wheel, and I still find it very stressful on the road. The coach has performed well and done everything asked of it. However, I still find myself tense and with sweaty hands almost all the time. It tends to be particularly bad in construction zones where the Jersey barriers make things feel like there is no room for error, or narrow winding roads heading for campgrounds, etc. Add the truckers who fly by considerably faster than I go (62-65 mph). It is very nerve wracking for both of us, and has stolen some of the joy we expected from the RV experience.

Am I just too new to relax? Will it get better? Or did we just take too big a bite with our RV choice?

Thanks in advance for any responses.

TC
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Old 12-02-2021, 09:35 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TC Johnson View Post
Greetings!

We have just returned from our first long trip in our 08 Newmar Kountry Star, and I have a question for the group, particularly those new to the Class A world. This is our first RV, and we felt it was a good choice, given the "buy your second RV first" suggestions others have made.

I now have around 4k miles behind the wheel, and I still find it very stressful on the road. The coach has performed well and done everything asked of it. However, I still find myself tense and with sweaty hands almost all the time. It tends to be particularly bad in construction zones where the Jersey barriers make things feel like there is no room for error, or narrow winding roads heading for campgrounds, etc. Add the truckers who fly by considerably faster than I go (62-65 mph). It is very nerve wracking for both of us, and has stolen some of the joy we expected from the RV experience.

Am I just too new to relax? Will it get better? Or did we just take too big a bite with our RV choice?

Thanks in advance for any responses.

TC
It does get better, but if you are not a naturally confident driver you might never get to where you don't dread driving it. In that case, you might consider driving lessons to improve both your skill level and confidence behind the wheel.
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Old 12-02-2021, 09:38 AM   #3
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It does get better just always keep aware of your surroundings. A way to know your in the middle of the lane is to put a piece of tap on the inside of your side of the windshield that aligns with you the tape and the left lane line. When these three things are inline your vehicle is in the middle of your lane. Easier than constantly looking at your mirrors.
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Old 12-02-2021, 09:40 AM   #4
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MY 1st inclination is to say yes but after 4,000 miles you should already be getting comfortable with it.

It is never going to drive like a car or even a large pickup truck.

If you are more comfortable now than after the 1st hundred miles then it will probably get better.

If not then ?????????????????????????????????????????????????
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Old 12-02-2021, 09:42 AM   #5
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As I have said before, but not here, most, if not all stress is self-induced. I think because you have read of other folks issues with driving a bigger vehicle your expectations are that you are going to have problems yourself. I will admit that I have only driven a class A three times but I currently own a Super C which is essentially the same thing with a different seating position. Something that I have found is that the rig will not react like your car, it's suspension is not as precise. You need to look further down the road and go with the flow a little more. If you remember the big sedans from the 1970s they kind of floated down the road. To a very large extent your rig is the same way, you need to stay in your lane but you don't need to be precisely centered in the lane all of the time. As to the trucks, ignore them. If they move you a little to the right, make a slight correction and don't get all flustered. It is somewhat an acquired skill and some will pick it up quicker than others. Stay calm, look down the road further, make small corrections and try to avoid "sawing' on the wheel, it will make things worse. Good luck and happy travels.
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Old 12-02-2021, 09:42 AM   #6
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I think you've already landed on the idea that it will get better with time. It probably will. You were probably nervous the first time you took out a car or even a bicycle back when you first learned them, but that changed with time and experience, right?


You might try just avoiding the freeway for part of your trip if that's causing you stress. Shorter legs might also be helpful. A 40 mile stress free day is better than a 400 mile nerve wracking experience, for sure. Everyone has their own limits. 4 hours is our target, and we don't move more than 6. If we have a long leg, we plan to stay in place an extra night if we can.



All the normal tips apply also: keep your distance, be aware of what's happening around you, check your mirrors, etc. Take lots of breaks. Stop at every rest area, get out and stretch. I fuel every day whether I need it or not just to plan in an additional break. Use cruise control. Keep your hands soft on the wheel. Others will chime in and say to keep a firm grip, but I find that makes it more difficult to control the wheel and slows my reaction time. If you keep your hands softer, you'll be less tense around your hands and arms that are doing the work (focus on this when you're driving, it helps a lot). Once you relax behind the wheel, you'll find that you'll look forward to the drive.
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Old 12-02-2021, 09:55 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by olly72 View Post
It does get better just always keep aware of your surroundings. A way to know your in the middle of the lane is to put a piece of tap on the inside of your side of the windshield that aligns with you the tape and the left lane line. When these three things are inline your vehicle is in the middle of your lane. Easier than constantly looking at your mirrors.
Something I would never do is recommend putting anything on your windshield, or anywhere else for that matter, to keep yourself in your lane. You can or will find yourself staring at that piece of tape instead of looking far ahead and getting the "big Picture" so you have some reaction time if something comes up in front of you. By looking ahead you will find you will automatically find yourself driving in the center of your chosen lane.
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Old 12-02-2021, 10:02 AM   #8
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Yes it gets better as you become more confident and know the limits of your coach.

For example the construction zones you spoke of. It can get hairy at times for sure. But in many cases you can watch your mirrors as you approach a const. area, time or pace yourself so you'll be in a position where 18 wheelers are behind you and not along side of you. Some cases this is not possible, but again you can pace yourself by watching your mirrors. If you see an 18 wheeler coming up on your left, as soon as he begins to pass you just touch the brakes a little and let him fly by then resume your speed. It will reduce the time he's next to you and freaking you out. This is just one example.

You can also plan your trips a little better and look at your route for ongoing construction. Then reroute yourself accordingly. I actually did this going thru MO this summer. I got online and looked at my next destination. It had heavy construction. I was scheduled to go thru that area on a Monday. After reading what what was going on in that area, we changed our travel day to Sunday. Took the same route but on Sunday we went thru there like a breeze. No const. and truck traffic was at a minimum.

Once you attain more confidence you can pretty much go anywhere and be comfortable doing it.

I would not let this steal your joy. Remember, you bought an RV. An RV is to explore and experience new things. Experiencing new things come in many flavors....like driving a big rig.
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Old 12-02-2021, 10:09 AM   #9
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It gets better. But construction concreat barriers with reduced lane width keeps you on your toes.
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Old 12-02-2021, 10:12 AM   #10
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As some others have suggested, take a RV driving course.

You will learn many tricks to be a better and more relaxed driver in control of your rig.

ps. Take the course before you get too many bad habits that are hard to break.
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Old 12-02-2021, 10:13 AM   #11
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Good advice, above, and I agree driving will get better.


The tip to look further down the road is especially helpful, more so in places where the lane has no shoulder, like construction zones.


One thing to remember, you are sitting, literally, over the left front wheel. If you drive so you, when looking straight ahead, are in line with the left side tire marks of the lane, or about 2' to the right of the line, you are centered in the lane.
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Old 12-02-2021, 10:24 AM   #12
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I've been driving stuff since I was just a small kid, and before I bought my RV, I I had put probably 800 miles under my belt behind the wheel of a good friends 40' Monaco. However, when I got behind the wheel of mine, there were two things that I started doing (after several thousand miles in our current rig) that helped me considerably:

1. Look further down the road. It sounds silly, but it DEFINITELY keeps you more centered for less "work". Which will make you relax. Even in traffic, I tend to look over the tops of cars in front of me. Your peripheral vision should take care of the rest.

2. Use the dang cruise control. And the exhaust brake. All the time. Your coach will maintain speed if you use the cruise and downshift for uphill travel. For downhill travel, my cruise will let the coach coast up to 75mph. Which, isn't fun. So, when I get to around 70-72, I'll disable the cruise. Not turn it off. If you pause it, the exhaust brake will hold your speed for the most part and then once you get back in the range of your normal travel speed, kick it back on. Mine will maintain cruise while making gear changes. If I'm in any other gear besides 6th going up a hill, just hit the D button when you get over the hill. It'll then shift back to 6th on it's own.

As to the semis, unless they are running 80+, I hardly notice them any more passing me. It's an automatic reaction at this point to counter steer as they fly by. When they are up around 80, they push a little more air, which causes a larger reaction, but it's very manageable.

If other folks are riding and having reactions, that will make you more nervous. If it were me and folks were reacting like that, I'd make them get out of the front seat. You need to minimize your distractions and having someone in the front seat gasping loudly at every turn is distracting. If you feel that you need help watching things as you're going down a narrow road, that's fine, but give whoever is with you specific direction as to what you need them to do. And all that sounds harsh, but it's what you have to do to operate anything larger than a car. Tractor, large truck, RV, bulldozer, whatever.

You'll get there! Keep at it and keep to the basics.
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Old 12-02-2021, 10:42 AM   #13
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It will get better the more you drive. In the mean time I’d suggest you drive more state highways. Speed limit is slower, traffic is less and roads in general are smoother.

I full timed for nine Yrs and some of the most enjoyable and relaxing times have been on the state highways. If you can, don’t make reservations or set destination goals.

Interstate traffic is getting worse every yr….more vehicles and faster speeds and more people driving with an “it’s all about me” attitude.
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Old 12-02-2021, 11:07 AM   #14
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Ours stays stored in the backyard the vast majority of the time. During those storage times, I'm normally whipping around in a small car. So yes, I do find myself having to rethink my driving just about every time I climb back into the driver's seat. Doesn't take but a few miles though and I'm enjoying the ride.

OP, you'll most likely get more comfortable the more you drive it it.
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