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Old 09-23-2021, 02:39 PM   #1
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new to class A

I am used to driving a crew cab p/u towing a 24' boat, thus swinging wide, making sure to be well past anyone before cutting in, etc, but am wondering if there are any heads-ups I should be thinking about before I hope into a class A. Other than mild, temporary disorientation because I won't have a nose in front of me, is the driving actually any different than any other long rig? What about cross winds? Our new one is a Forest River FR3 30 DS. Our 24' coach sure notices it when the trees along the road are bopping about wildly. I think the new road viewing is going to be a nice change; I'll be able to see the moose right up to impact time. Can't wait.... Thanks. j
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Old 09-23-2021, 02:48 PM   #2
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Welcome to the world of class A ownership! We looked hard at the FR3 30DS as we really liked that floorplan. Yes, a class A is different than driving a pickup. Try to get used to driving it before pulling a toad. Just take it slow and easy at first and you should be fine.
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Old 09-23-2021, 05:42 PM   #3
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It is different and takes a while to get oriented to the change in view. You will be sitting much higher than a crew cab, much closer to the windshield and the coach is very wide. All of the above, combined with how the vehicle handles are a learning curve but you will be surprised how quickly you pick it up. Be careful backing and driving on interstates will test your suspension system due to the rough road systems our taxes pay for.
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Old 09-23-2021, 07:10 PM   #4
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The first thing that comes to mind is: the absence of body in front of you compared to a pickup means you should proceed further into an intersection before beginning to turn so the remainder doesn't hit the inside curb.
I'm not sure the moose will be able to tell the difference...
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Originally Posted by jklingel View Post
I am used to driving a crew cab p/u towing a 24' boat, thus swinging wide, making sure to be well past anyone before cutting in, etc, but am wondering if there are any heads-ups I should be thinking about before I hope into a class A. Other than mild, temporary disorientation because I won't have a nose in front of me, is the driving actually any different than any other long rig? What about cross winds? Our new one is a Forest River FR3 30 DS. Our 24' coach sure notices it when the trees along the road are bopping about wildly. I think the new road viewing is going to be a nice change; I'll be able to see the moose right up to impact time. Can't wait.... Thanks. j
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Old 09-23-2021, 07:17 PM   #5
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Dont mount moose antlers on the hood and you will be OK, on purpose or otherwise

A moose might see them and think your coach is a really big moose, of course that may scare them off....LOL

You will like the way your class A handles after a few hours behind the wheel, it will be second nature

And Yes the higher wider point of view is pretty awesome
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Old 09-23-2021, 07:44 PM   #6
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Different coaches handle differently, so you have to learn how your vehicle behaves in various conditions. And, it's a big box, so you have to be careful in windy conditions, especially until you have learned from experience how the MH behaves.

I had to learn and train myself how to manage lane changes when you have side view mirrors with convex and flat mirrors and also the sideview camera screen. And, there can be a blind spot as a vehicle comes closer and then alongside your rig.

I had towed a 28' travel trailer with a Dodge dually, but it took time to get used to the added width of the motorhome, especially when driving through construction zones. I find that with the MH, I do have to be more focused on my driving. My comfort level has gotten much better over time and with more hours behind the wheel, but I do think it's a bit different than many other towing combinations.
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Old 09-23-2021, 10:26 PM   #7
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Thanks for the good pointers. Rough roads? Alaska has two main roads south from Fairbanks, and they are always in two states: Sections that are being repaired, and sections that should be. Every year you just find out where the construction is and try to be there when the workers are gone. I will proceed with caution and am sure I will find the cab rather interesting for a while. Cheers. j
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Old 09-24-2021, 07:29 AM   #8
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It's just another learning curve. Much like when you went from your car to your truck with a 24' boat behind. Just common sense, caution and a big smile is all it takes.
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Old 09-24-2021, 07:45 AM   #9
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new to class A

The biggest change I’ve noticed , people have was orienting the “sense of center “in the lane. In most class A you will find yourself positioning too far to the right. The view difference makes you feel that you are over the driver side lane when you are actually far from it. I have seen some people, while Getting used to the new sight positions ,use tape on the window to mark correct painted lane divider positions in relation to the front window view. That and after a time getting used to it some seem to “forget” what they are driving and curb corners fuel stations etc. use your mirrors ( both )when turning backing etc.
enjoy the view!
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Old 09-24-2021, 08:51 AM   #10
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I towed boats, big and small, most of my life. My trailer tire position on turns "awareness" is something I still apply to the rear tires of our coach.
What was different when I climbed in the driver seat of our coach was that not only was there no nose but I was not oriented in the lane like I was in a typical truck. As BillJ said, this part is different because in a truck you're butt is to the right of the street-side tire, in a Class A you are sitting almost in front of the front street-side tire and you are sitting above a portion of the tire. Driving a Class A like you do your truck will cause you to be way to far right in the lane. Also you need to start your turns later to allow time for the wheels to get past the turn (and of course watch those rear tires in the mirrors - don't want to have the tires go into a ditch).
My boat has a 8'6" beam (102") and I keep it in the lane by checking mirrors and eventually I know where the truck needs to be in the lane to keep the trailer centered. The class A is 102" wide, plus mirrors, so it takes a lot of focus and mirror checking to keep it centered in the lane. Remember the width if you go through a toll or a tight side street.
Right hand turns are tough, especially at a single lane, 4 way stop. Sometimes it's better to go straight through and find 3 left turns. Don't be afraid to stop traffic when you start the right turn and make the people that are approaching the intersection wait for you. Also be aware of your tail swing - taking a right turn too wide and your tail may take out the vehicle that is going the other way in the next lane (because they were too impatient to give you 20 seconds to make the turn) Or the car in the turn lane. Left turns are easy.

You'll be fine, just take it easy.
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Old 09-24-2021, 09:23 AM   #11
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Yep . . . To all the above.

When turning through a tight gate, turn wide, well before the gate, remembering that your back wheels will be your pivot point, and you need to be traveling straight (perpendicular to the gate/fence) when you enter the gate, and until your rear bumper gets through the gate.

Be aware that you will have some tail swing, on the longer rigs, with the rear axle being the pivot point.

I felt comfortable in our class A since I have driven some large school buses,

Your sight picture out the windshield should focus on keeping your butt over the left rut of your lane; and once in the middle of your lane, as evidenced by an equal amount of road, you see in your mirrors, between your rig and the lines on each side of your rig, you might do as some mentioned above with tape, but my defroster vents on the dash are spaced just right so the end of the leftmost one is close to left line, and the right end of the second vent lines up with line to right of lane; so, as you do your visual scan of instruments, mirrors, and intersections, and traffic, these aim points are just another aide in your arsenal for staying in your lane.

I hope the best for you, enjoying many years of RV’ing!
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Old 09-24-2021, 10:52 PM   #12
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More great advice. Thank you. I will be farting around in the parking lot (if there is one) at the dealer if at all possible. I will do some mock-ups of lanes and try to get a feel of where I am relative to the road paint. It was pretty easy driving my class C home from CA, once I brushed a street sign and learned how wide the puppy was. Thankfully, it was a paint-only scratch. I have towed my 24' boat with the 24' coach, and, yes, going through downtown Anchorage can be interesting. Once I got stuck in the intersection until some kind soul finally waited so I could move right and hog up part of his lane to turn. It was brief, and no shots were fired.....
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