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Old 08-11-2020, 10:35 AM   #29
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If you come out west make sure you know how to drive in the mountains. We have roads you will only see in this part of the country. Coming down a steep grade is usually the white knuckle part.
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Old 08-11-2020, 10:52 AM   #30
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If you come out west make sure you know how to drive in the mountains. We have roads you will only see in this part of the country. Coming down a steep grade is usually the white knuckle part.
You are right about that, for sure! In Northern British Columbia we came across a short 16% grade going down. But I have to say that out east we have some surprising grades as well. Not as long but often just as steep. Last week I did a grade that dropped 1500 ft in 5 miles. Turns and twists all the way. I came to a near stop and put it into first at the top of the hill and left it that way to the bottom. 20-25 MPH max all the way and touched the brakes rarely, only to keep speed down as needed.

When at the bottom I stopped and checked the brake rotors on our Jeep toad. They were cool to the touch.
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Old 08-11-2020, 11:34 AM   #31
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Pretty much every road or street has the center of the pavement discolored different from where the tires roll on each side. My truck driving friend calls the center, "the drip line". In a car or truck, if you position your body in the vehicle in the center of the drip line, you will be positioned perfectly in your lane. I find with my rv, center of the drip line puts my wheels right on the white line. Slightly left of the center puts my outside wheels roughly 8 or 10 inches from the white line. A quick check on the mirrors confirms your position in the lane. I would recommend this method of positioning yourself in your lane. Putting things on the dash or windshield might distract you from watching the road. Your eyes should be far ahead of the rv so that if something comes up, you have extra time to stop. Millions of trucks drive the roads every day. It isnt rocket science. With a little practice, anyone can do it. If you can make it through the first year without much damage, you will probably be ok. One major cause of damage is backing up. Use the GOAL principal------- get out and look. Dont be lazy. It can save you a lot of money.
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Old 08-11-2020, 05:16 PM   #32
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We are new to RVing and considering our first coach, a Class A Diesel. Having never driven an RV what suggestions do you have for learning how to drive a Class A properly? Is it worth hiring an instructor or should we just watch a few YouTube videos for tips and then get behind the wheel to learn in vacant parking lots and open roads?
Others have furnished some good suggestions for driving a larger class A. My contribution is as follows: On the road, don't drive looking at the 15 or 20 feet of asphalt in the front of the coach. Set your main focus to "down the road" or at least three to five coach lengths ahead while frequently observing the right and left mirrors for learning coach centering. Use the arm rests for support of your arms and learn the feel of the coach while other vehicles pass by or overtake. I'll bet in thirty minutes of taking the helm you will feel much better of your abilities. Also, your rear observation camera will help you prepare for vehicles overtaking the coach and be invaluable for letting you see when it is safe to return to the lanes you wish to cruise in. Safe travels!
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Old 08-11-2020, 05:28 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcoyne View Post
We are new to RVing and considering our first coach, a Class A Diesel. Having never driven an RV what suggestions do you have for learning how to drive a Class A properly? Is it worth hiring an instructor or should we just watch a few YouTube videos for tips and then get behind the wheel to learn in vacant parking lots and open roads?
kcoyne,
We had a 35' coach and when we upgraded to our new 40' DP I wanted my wife to feel comfortable driving so the driving duties could be shared.
We took a lesson and it was very beneficial.
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Old 08-11-2020, 06:33 PM   #34
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Whether you buy a gasser or a DP there are a couple of tricks that will help right off. Here's what I've learned:

First, understand that your wheelbase is much larger than a car or pickup which affects your turning - especially that right turn in city traffic. No matter the MH/DP you need to mark your mirrors so you can instantly see your pivot point - the center of your drive tires. It is easy to do with 3 people. You set in the driver's seat with it adjusted to where it will be as you drive. Position one person beside the passenger side drive wheel so they are standing about a foot away from the tire and right at the center (axle). If you only have 1 other person you can set and object in this place. Adjust the passenger mirror to show about 1" to 2" of the passenger side of the MH/DP and down so you can see the person's feet at the pivot point. This will allow you to see the tires as you turn to the right. The other person is located next to your passenger side mirror with a piece of colored tape (I used Black). With you setting in your seat as if driving have them hold up the top edge of the tape to where it is located just below the person's feet, as if they are standing on it, or if using a jug, etc. so that it appears to be setting on it. Once in position have them stick the tape section to the mirror. It needs to only be large enough for you to easily see. Now do the same thing on the driver's side.
As you make your turns you are able to see exactly where the pivot point is enabling you to make a better turn.
In a DP you need to remember that you are setting in front of your tires so you have to proceed further into the intersection before making that turn, especially to the right. The longer your MH/DP the more you have to swing to the left and then right. The sharper you turn your steering wheels the more your rear tires track in that direction. My 43'er tracks about 4' farther to the left or right in the turn. Don't ask how I know. LOL
Take the MH/DP to an empty parking lot at practice turning, backing, etc. Use some partially filled water jugs to mark out the turning area and go slow. You'll get it in no time.

Second, mark that windshield so that you know exactly where your MH/DP is situated in the lane. You and one other person required as well as the white stipes in the parking lot or section of road no one is using. You set in your seat with it situated as driving. Position the MH/DP with the left white line (representing the center line) about 12 to 18" away down the side of the unit. Mark the windshield to show the lane line. I used about 2" in length as it makes it easier to see. Direct your helper to where the tape needs to be affixed and have it attached. Turn the unit around to have the line now located down the passenger side and mark the windshield to show where that line is located.
These lines will let you know instantly that you are in your lane. This really helps when in narrower lanes as well as when in construction zone, especially those with the concrete barriers.
I moved my tape to the inside to the windows and to the driver's window after we had the outside ones correctly situated so they would last longer. You may want to use one color of tape for the pivot point and a different color for lane lines for quicker reference.
Third - slow down, look ahead and watch the pivot point when cornering.
Fourth - Watch that dingy!!!!!
Do due diligence and practice, practice, practice and you will soon be driving your MH/DP like you do your car - with complete confidence.

Wishing you the best - Richard
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Old 08-11-2020, 07:12 PM   #35
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Everyone has given good advice, all I can add is if you are a defensive driver it will help immensely. Always anticipate that some clown will cut in front of you and hit his brakes or cut you off because they don't know how to use turn signals. People don't like riding behind a big vehicle and will do their damnedest to get around you and they don't have a clue about how much distance it takes to stop 40,000 pounds moving at 60 MPH. When they come up an on ramp, they won't even realize you have a vehicle in tow.

I learned a long time ago to drive defensively and it made the transition to a big rig a whole lot easier. Good luck!
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Old 08-13-2020, 09:57 PM   #36
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Driving Training

Iím taking delivery on my 34í Class A next week. Iíve driven towables, but never a Class A. So far Iíve not been able to get any instruction arranged when we pick it up.

The coach is in Salt Lake City. The thought of just taking off from there with no training is terrifying.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-14-2020, 03:40 AM   #37
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Hire a driver to drive it to a place where you can get instruction like RV school.com FMCA.com can also usually provide drivers as can escapees.com

Where are you going with it?

Many FMCA members like us have volunteered and are on their list of emergency drivers for fellow RV’ers in need. Were you closer I would help. I am sure there is someone near you that will do so. I see you are also a member of the Forest River group, try contacting them as well. Good luck.
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Old 08-14-2020, 09:20 AM   #38
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Two key things I'll pitch in on is, remember that your front wheels are BEHIND your driving position. This will help a lot. The other is, (as already mentioned) your rear overhang. I've seen quite a few rigs take out trees etc when turning. Confidence goes a long way. Take your turns wide. Watch how your city buses negotiate through town.
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Old 08-14-2020, 06:28 PM   #39
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I retired and waited a couple years for my wife to retired. We had decided we would buy a mh and travel North America full time, once she retired. So, my local area was looking for school bus drivers, as most communities are. I signed up and went through the very thorough training and passed all the written and driving tests. This really prepared me well for driving a large mh.
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Old 08-16-2020, 03:01 PM   #40
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Driving School

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcoyne View Post
We are new to RVing and considering our first coach, a Class A Diesel. Having never driven an RV what suggestions do you have for learning how to drive a Class A properly? Is it worth hiring an instructor or should we just watch a few YouTube videos for tips and then get behind the wheel to learn in vacant parking lots and open roads?
Yes I think it is worth paying for driving instructions. Some may qualify you for an insurance discount. Something like RV Driving School, where they come to you and you (and plus 1) are given lessons using your RV.
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Old 08-16-2020, 03:02 PM   #41
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Recommend Driving Course

After a lot of experience with trailers, and about 4 years of owning a class C RV we picked up our Newmar Class A in the fall of 2018. I drove it from Missouri to Utah with a stop in Arizona. I pulled into a gas station, fueled up and left. Unfortunately I misjudged the amount of space that I had to clear a truck while making a turn. An $8,000 rookie mistake. Once we got home we arranged for a two day driving course for my wife and me. It was the best money that we have spent on our RV. It was great experience and substantially improved my confidence while driving. Two years later no additional accidents, fortunately.
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Old 08-16-2020, 03:29 PM   #42
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The best advice

There are a lot of schools that teach bus driving. There is a lot more than just driving forward, learn to safely back up. Learn about air brakes and what inspection you should be making before each trip and each time you start your rig. If you really want to help some kids consider becomeing a school bus driver. Nothing like getting daily practice and getting paid for it.
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