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Old 08-07-2020, 09:17 AM   #1
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Learning to Drive a Class A

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?
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Old 08-07-2020, 09:33 AM   #2
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I had no experience driving a large rig on road before buying my 35' M/H. I took a short (5 miles or so) ride with the salesman, with me driving and him watching, and then I was on my own. I white knuckled it for a bit, and by the time I was 100 miles down the road, was like driving my car.
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Old 08-07-2020, 09:42 AM   #3
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It depends on you. Most of what is needed is time behind the wheel to develop new/different muscle memory required by the different driver position. However, some people can benefit greatly from tips about making turns, staying centered in their lane, etc. An hour or so with an instructor can shorten the learning process. YouTube videos might be sufficient if what they say makes sense to you, enough so that you can try it out by yourself.


I have to say that I've met a few people who just couldn't adapt very well and had a continuous white-knuckle driving experience. A professional driving course is probably the only solution for them.
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Old 08-07-2020, 09:52 AM   #4
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Some of the larger RV dealers offer driving courses. Lazy Days in Tampa is one example. My wife and i did the class back in 2004. It was worthwhile. At that point, i had been driving various motor homes for years but she had never driven one. I learned a few tips like stopping so you can see the back tires of the vehivle in front of you. If you do that, you have room to pull around without backing up. The class included driving time inside their rv park.

Might check with local dealers if there are any big ones near by.
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Old 08-07-2020, 10:00 AM   #5
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I agree with Gary, there are some great YouTube videos to watch.
Find a large empty parking area close to home and practice their techniques with cones until you feel comfortable. Take your time, get familiar with the mirrors and camera. Don't be afraid to go slow, or stop and get out to assess the situation. Develop a communication plan with your spotter. Teach your spotter what you've learned and become the spotter as well.
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Old 08-07-2020, 10:07 AM   #6
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I think Gary pretty much nailed it. Some folks just adapt really quickly, others not so much.

I had never driven anything larger than a Ford F250 when we bought the 40' MH. We drove about three hour to pick it up. When we started back I was a little nervous for the first 30 minutes or so, trying to learn how to keep it centered in the lane. After that I was very comfortable. Of course, you have to learn about making turns at intersections, etc., but you just have to be really careful, taking it slow and easy, until you get the feel of it.
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Old 08-07-2020, 01:13 PM   #7
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Get used to glancing in both mirror's far more frequently than you probably do in your car / pickup. Use your mirrors to see how centered you are in your lane, and to see what is along side you.
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Old 08-07-2020, 03:00 PM   #8
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I second the driver confidence course at Lazy Days. I learned a lot even though I've been driving a class C for years. It was really good for Nan and now she likes driving the motorhome.
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Old 08-07-2020, 03:17 PM   #9
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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?


Watch your tail swings and swing wide on right hand turns.
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Old 08-07-2020, 03:30 PM   #10
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Once upon a time......long, long ago.....you were probably experiencing a white knuckle experience every time you drove a car in the beginning, with or without Dad being your teacher (or Mom......sorry ladies).

So now......it can be a white knuckle experience in the RV without repeated experience, or spending lots of time behind the wheel or professional instructors. Your choice.

Itís not just gonna happen.
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Old 08-07-2020, 03:42 PM   #11
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Also .... Driving a large Class A coach isn't for everyone!

I've seen, and know drivers who can barely manage safely getting a compact car around town, after decades on the road!

Some drivers just don't belong behind the wheel of a large vehicle.
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Old 08-07-2020, 07:27 PM   #12
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As many have said, practice makes perfect. For me several light bulb moments occurred when I realised the position of the front wheels at the corner, in relation to the front of the coach before starting a turn, whilst quadruple checking in my wing mirrors there was nothing I could take out with my tail swing or driving far enough forwards before making the actual turn. Second was, when going down tree lined roads to be as close as possible to the white line on my left = with practice found a point on my mirror to make sure the line was in line with that. Phew that's saved a lot of paint jobs!

For comfort try to find somewhere large to practice a bit with maybe cones, ropes/chalk powder???

Turning point, tail swing, aware of what's around you before a manoeuvre, lane positioning and knowing your safe stopping distance, were what I concentrated on. Still to this day I hate driving our MH but I do it when I have to or just to keep fresh, because you never know when you may need to take over from the main driver!

Happy Travels, I'm sure it'll all become natural in time.
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Old 08-07-2020, 07:43 PM   #13
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I got my first big rig MH about 4 years ago. Prior to that, I had driven some commercial rigs at the power company where I worked occasionally. Also the biggest Ryder and U-Haul moving vans cross-country. So, a bit of experience. Like others have said, turning corners on streets, you have to swing wide. Sometimes, you can't stay in your lane and must use the oncoming lane until you complete the turn. In such cases, you have to also make sure there's no oncoming traffic. Once or twice on country roads where I had to make a sharp left turn, I had to stop, reverse, and manuevre to make the turn. Again, you have to make sure there's no oncoming traffic before making your move. I'm pushing 70 now so driving 400 miles in a day IS a day! I'm beat!
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Old 08-08-2020, 04:49 AM   #14
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Watch Utube videos if you like. Also, be sure to watch what truckers are doing as they drive along our highways and streets in town. Watch how the make turns, Watch how they change lanes, watch how they enter intersections. Watch Watch Watch. Then go to a large parking lot with your rig and just drive. Learn how it turns, stops, and back up. Once you mastered a parking lot, go to surface streets and give it a whirl. By the way, are there any specific license requirements from your state? Check that out too.
Good Luck.
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