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zzjea 05-20-2013 06:38 AM

Who does the driving?
If you have a big (39'+) motorhome, who does the driving? Do you and/or the spouse? I have done all the short trips in our longer MH but we ar about to take a much longer 2 week trip and the DW has not driven anything this big/long before. I plan to take her out to do some test driving for main highway travel. I don't even trust myself completely and have to keep very alert to all that is going on around me. You don't have as many options when driving anything this big. Plan ahead is my motto, but it is harder to do. Also we will take it slow and easy but try to stay with traffic. Don't plan on going much faster than 65 mph however. Diesel fill ups and grocery shopping etc. will be some of the harder tasks not to mention campground roads and site parking. Even simple turns become a big deal especially on 2 lane roads.

She does not need a Class B license (or me) as we are exactly at 26K lbs Gross for Texas. In a car, we switch out after about an hour or so but I end up doing more of the driving.

How do you handle the sharing of driving for long distances and other issues that might come up with 2 driving most of the day? Where to pull over safely to switch, etc.?

I know that if we were full timers or made longer trips that we would probably feel more comfortable about it, but it really gets my attention when I crank up the diesel and put it in gear.

BTW, she has not had a concern about this, I have. But she is also clueless when it comes to backing directions and spacial relations and she knows it. I've had a couple of mistakes driving forward of all things that she could foresee being outside the MH but did not even "see" them. It was all my fault of course since I made the mistake, but she was "watching" and did not say anything.

I think I can trust her driving forward.....



OSP1268 05-20-2013 06:49 AM

My spouse refuses to drive the motor home. Said she would only if something happened to me where I wouldn't be able to. She said she would get it home and that would be it.
When we had a dually and 5th wheel, she only drove the dually once for about a quarter of a mile and never tried it with the 5th wheel hooked up.
Says her driving something that big is out, way out, of her comfort zone. I tried to get her to take the driving course but she just would not do it.
So I do the driving.

chawkins99 05-20-2013 06:55 AM

Wife tried driving once but could not keep it in the lane. Scary enough on interstate but terrifying on 2-lane with no shoulder.
I have since fitted a TruCenter and had it aligned. Drives MUCH better now, so she may give it a go on our next trip.
We've not done any mega-trips yet so I have been happy to do all the driving.

Petro 05-20-2013 07:03 AM

My DW drives our Horizon on longer trips. I started her out on our first 34' and she grew in her driving abilities as the coaches grew. She grew up on a farm and had prior experience driving farm equipment so that was helpful for her. On the shorter trips I usually drive and she is the navigator. On our trips lasting more than a days driving she will ask to drive for a couple of hours each day. She says she enjoys driving our Horizon. I remember a few years ago I got sick in southern Missouri and she drove the rig home to Wisconsin. That saved a 1 day layover for us. I believe that teaching and encouraging a DW to drive yields many benefits.


WannaFTit 05-20-2013 07:04 AM

My DW refuses to drive our 40' vectra. She would need to get her airbrake endorsement and she refuses to do that. She said...and I quote "if something happened to you, I would leaveit where it is and get you and I home by bus or plane and send someone back to get it"

If I am not driving it, it is sitting where it is :)

Thats ok by me since I love to drive anyway.

John and Judy

NukeRef 05-20-2013 07:13 AM

My wife loves to drive the motor home, although in Florida the traffic is more challenging than the roads we travel. We usually go one or two rest areas then switch. Right lane, 5-10 mph under the speed limit ... no hurry, retired life is easy.

I do all the parking, backing (after the toad is unhitched), and most of the non-interstate/turnpike driving.

Wayne M 05-20-2013 07:21 AM

I do all the driving and I limit our distance each day to 250 miles, plus or minus a little depending on where the CG is that we would like to stop at.

DW is a pretty good light and compartment door checker before departure, and a good ground guide.

Oh! And good cook. Darn, I know I forgot something.

ahicks 05-20-2013 07:41 AM

DW has stated clearly that she has no interest, and honestly, I think ours is beyond her.

You HAVE to be comfortable on the road, under any conditions you're likely to run into, prior to considering trying something this size. She can be a nervous driver in her car, so I've never pushed her to consider the MH.

Because there is more to driving one of these for any length of time, I'm pretty much spent after 450 miles or so. That number is the max we use for planning purposes.

smith45 05-20-2013 07:51 AM

Who drives
I do all the driving on short trips and about 90% on long ones, like from East Texas to Colorado. ( I was tempted to say she does the driving and I hold the wheel) but thought better of it. She does a better job than she thinks but is not comfortable with it. It seems as when we swap and she starts driving it will start raining after a few miles or we will run into road construction. I guess I shouldn't tell the kids that when the workers along the road see it's Mom driving they throw their shovels and RUN..:laugh: But she is real good at directing me on parking and man can she cook !!:D

jnp_macklin 05-20-2013 08:02 AM

We haven't had our coach that long, (Just a month or so.....) so I, myself am still a novice, but I know DW is interested in learning how to drive our coach, mostly for the unforeseeable accident that might render me incapable of driving the coach back home.

We have some plans for longer trips on the interstate this summer, so I think we may try to have her get some time at the wheel later this year. Of course in good weather, with light winds and hardly any traffic.... Yeah, like those conditions will ever happen all at once. :facepalm:

StevieG 05-20-2013 08:29 AM

We've made 5 trips so far in our 39 Discovery. 4 of them were at least 12 to 15 hour per day trips, and I've driven every mile so far... Honestly, after about 10 or so hours, especially if we hit stop and go traffic or construction... it gets a little tiring.

As much as I would like her to help with the driving, I would probably be a nervous nelly the entire time and ultimately piss her off... and then there goes the trip! :nonono: Truth is she doesn't want to drive... she prefers to be on her phone texting or on her Ipad.

At some point I want to take her to do some practice driving to see if she likes it and can handle it. She's not good at backing up, so that will always be my job.

RickO 05-20-2013 08:46 AM

There is nothing in this entire world upon which DW and I agree more.... than me doing ALL of the driving. :cool:

My wife is a wonderful person, a great cook, and even a pretty good dancer. However, we have identified her strengths... and driving a DP isn't among them. :D


DanielJ390TS 05-20-2013 09:19 AM

Okay, I'll be the odd man out here. My wife does the majority of the driving. We have a 39' DP. She's comfortable doing so, and we are both very aware that she is a better driver than a passenger. For me, sitting in the passenger seat, I can see neither side view mirror and during the day I cannot see the rear view camera screen.

I just sit back fat and happy :-)

str8six 05-20-2013 09:25 AM

My wife drives the coach; I just hold the steering wheel. :D


Skip426 05-20-2013 09:31 AM


Originally Posted by DanielJ390TS (Post 1574243)
Okay, I'll be the odd man out here. My wife does the majority of the driving. We have a 39' DP. She's comfortable doing so, and we are both very aware that she is a better driver than a passenger. For me, sitting in the passenger seat, I can see neither side view mirror and during the day I cannot see the rear view camera screen.

I just sit back fat and happy :-)

:welcome:My DW, could drive the coach if necessary; could I ride with her :whistling:well I'll leave that alone.:blink:

newmar10 05-20-2013 09:48 AM

My wife likes to drive just as much as me. She can get the coach ready to go including hooking up the toad. We have done over 1000 miles in a day and would be tough by myself

zzjea 05-20-2013 10:50 AM

Sounds like most of you do all the driving. How do you handle fatigue etc. and where do you take breaks?

Mrs.M 05-20-2013 10:51 AM

Mr. M drives Moby more than I do, but we do share the driving. I've taken Moby out by myself, too, when we needed to take two vehicles to the campsite. As a general family policy, everyone in the house needs to be able to operate any vehicle in the household. One of our projects this summer is to teach our daughter to drive the coach while she is home from college. I don't think it will be a problem, though, she's been driving the Dodge Ram hauling the utility trailer since she was sixteen.

Oh, and yes, not only do we both drive, we both cook!


Craigls2 05-20-2013 11:34 AM

I've done most of the driving since we started traveling by motorhome 8 years ago. We usually drive long days and she will take a couple of hours on the interstate in the early afternoon. It's more to get her away from the kids for a while than it is to give me a break! :) I'm not a great passenger and I know it. We went for a drive in our new longer coach for her to practice and the results weren't reassuring. Almost pulled right in front of a car and then missed the turn into our driveway and drove the rear wheels through the culvert causing the coach to list and crushing the metal drainage pipe! Yikes!! Have to find a way to get her confidence back up and I think freeway driving is the way to go.

Selah 05-20-2013 11:35 AM

We both took a driving course when we got the MH so DW is fully capable of driving and does. I always do the parking but only because that is what we have always practiced and she is good at watching out for anything that might cause a problem. Between the both of us we are pretty darn good at backing the MH into some pretty tight spaces.
I do most of the driving though, first because I like it and second because she is much better at navigating than I am. The GPS faces the navagator's seat and is not viewable by the driver.
We each have our tasks when setting up and breaking down the camp site. Example, while I am connection up to facilities, she is turning off the air if running, leveling the coach, putting the slides out etc.
We also have or specific tasks for the toad as well. All in all it is a team effort and makes for pretty quick set ups and tear downs.
Shoud it ever become necessary I am confident that DW could break down the site, hook up the toad, and get the MH to where ever it needs to go without my help.
One less worry for me.

joemcgin 05-20-2013 11:46 AM

Would love to split up the driving so I can offload the Harley & cruise out ahead. Have a Road King & looking to add a CB so we can communicate bike to MH.

Jol912 05-20-2013 12:44 PM

My DW does all the driving! I make the coffee and relax.

caninecop 05-20-2013 01:58 PM

My wife attended the big rig school and has a class A commercial license, but I do the driving because I really enjoy it. She always let me know that if I need a brake she will take over, I would have no hesitation on her taking over the driving. I know she has the ability and confidence to take over at anytime.

amanda_h 05-20-2013 04:04 PM

LoL! I like that, Greg, that's the way to do it. I too try to do that too ...let the DW do the driving and I sit back and relax.

Like cainecop, DW has more professional time behind the wheel driving semis and commercial buses and although I too have a CDL, I truly believe she is the better driver. I tend to take too many chances and am a bit more aggressive and that's not good although I'm much better than when I was younger.

So she does most of the driving now but it is nice to be able to switch off and relieve each other when needed. I often feel for couples that can't do that.

And because she is such a good driver, I can actually sleep while we are underway. I'd be nervous about that if she hadn't been a commercial driver in her past or if I had a DW that was nervous about driving larger vehicles.


R2Home 05-20-2013 04:12 PM

Well our MH is only 38' but I am going to jump in here. I do 100% of the driving! I enjoy driving and would be a nervous wreck with her driving. She does good with her vehicle but with the MH and its size, well.........
We currently are in the lower '48' on vacation and made a dash to get to CA to pike up our, new to us, 2009 Diplomat. We did 3100 miles in 5 days. I drive until I get tired and then stop for the night. Our labs need potty breaks ever few hours, so that gives me time to stretch and relax for a few minutes.

Francesca 05-20-2013 04:14 PM


I see the question in this thread was asked as it relates to 39' or bigger DP's...

The results seem to be different when it comes to towed units. Here's a link to a recent thread posted by a fiver owner:

UFO Pilot 05-20-2013 04:19 PM

My wife wanted to drive the MH but couldn't reach the gas pedal. While on the East Coast last year I finally decided to modify the pedal so she could drive. She never had a lesson but decided she wanted to share the driving and has done a great job so far.

I usually pull out of the RV Park and then drive to the first rest stop. She then drives to the next rest stop and I take over and drive to the next rest stop. That usually works out to 1 to 2 hours each. For now, I make sure I am driving when it is time to fuel up or get off the freeway. She hasn't driven on any 2 lane roads yet.

WheelingIt 05-20-2013 04:22 PM

Hubby and I share driving on our 40 foot DP. I consider it a safety issue that we're both able to fully handle the MH and wouldn't be comfortable any other way.

It's come in handy several times. We often switch on longer drives or if one of us is tired (just pull into a rest stop and switch). I had to drive exclusively when hubby did in his back last year (we'd have been stuck otherwise). Plus I've had to move the MH by myself several times when hubby went home on trips for some family emergencies. If I didn't have the knowledge we would have been in quite the jam. I really encourage all gals out there to learn everything they can about the MH. Gives so much more flexibility in case something happens.

Walter5555 05-20-2013 04:33 PM

Take her to a large vacant parking lot & let her drive.
:cool:Well guy's, I have to admit that my wife can drive our 36' Dolphin M.H. better then I and we don't leave our home with out our Saturn connect to the M.H.:thumb:
We have been cross Country two times, from the bay area in Calif. to Main and down to Florida and back again.:blush:
We take turns driving we go to Palm Springs each year for about 6 weeks I drive half way and she drive the other half.:laugh:When we first got our M.H. I took her and the M.H. over to a large parking lot on a Sunday afternoon where she drove it around and learn to park and back up it did not take long before she was aways ready to take over the wheel.:bow:
Just a thought.:dance:

336muffin 05-20-2013 04:48 PM

My DW does 100% of the driving.............from the passenger seat!:facepalm:

CLIFFTALL 05-20-2013 04:53 PM

My DW has driven 20' in 84,000 miles. Twice , she drove up 10' so I could fuel up the toad.

dsbike 05-20-2013 05:09 PM

I do all the driving. My DW has a sports car & when she drove the 34' MH on the test drive she drove it just like her car. She kept it on the road but I thought we were going to be on our side on the road just leaving the dealers lot. I have no doubt she could drive our 42'er if she had to. She is actually a very good driver. I occasionally ask her if she wants to drive, but has not. When we go full time I will insist she take a big rig driving coarse. She is going to go to the Frieghtliner Chassis course with me in the next couple of months. I guess thats a good start.
BTW she's NOT a good cook. But a great wife!!! I still eat her cooking though,......... when you're hungry you eat what you can get.......:popcorn:

Pullin' Chocks 05-20-2013 05:14 PM

we don't have a DR but it is a 37' 5th wheel hitched to a F-450 (crew cab)
we haven't measured the total length but is prob ~48' to 50'
DW grew up with horses and is an excellent trailer driver & backer, definitely better at backing than me, and more cautious and attentive than I get after a short while. I on the other hand am a better gadget operator and therefore navigator. DW gets motion sick as a passenger and especially when she looks away from the road to read the GPS or map. I prefer to ride as a passenger so I can look around at the scenery. We trade off for rest periods but we try to keep me on the straight roads so I don't need navigation services and so DW won't get queasy. That's the way we roll ;)

G.G. 05-20-2013 05:21 PM

I hate to admit that DH does all the driving. I took the RV driving course at Lazy Days in Tampa. I went out one Sunday afternoon and practiced in an empty parking lot and then drove the RV to the storage lot. My plan was to know how to comfortably drive so I could be of help, but especially if needed during an emergency. Well, that was almost 1 yr. ago, and I haven't driven since. I'm completely intimidated by it and don't even mention driving with the toad!!!!
I really would like to conquer this fear, but am a little paralyzed by it.

WheelingIt 05-20-2013 05:42 PM


Originally Posted by Dance Chick (Post 1574719)
I hate to admit that DH does all the driving. I took the RV driving course at Lazy Days in Tampa. I went out one Sunday afternoon and practiced in an empty parking lot and then drove the RV to the storage lot. My plan was to know how to comfortably drive so I could be of help, but especially if needed during an emergency. Well, that was almost 1 yr. ago, and I haven't driven since. I'm completely intimidated by it and don't even mention driving with the toad!!!!
I really would like to conquer this fear, but am a little paralyzed by it.

Hey, the only way to conquer is to go do it! Start out by choosing some "easier" less congested areas, off the main interstates. Then, work it from there. Or drive from one rest stop to the next and then switch back. The more you do it, the easier it'll get.

And by the'll never even notice the toad back there. It's just as easy to drive the RV with or without the toad. It just follows the back.

Go get 'em girl :)

BillJinOR 05-20-2013 06:18 PM

We are only 35 feet but there isn't that much difference I drive mostly because I'm very comfortable with it being a truck driver. DW drives freeways and highways a lot and I try to do city driving however I've had her do it for practice. If I'm ill or can't drive I want her to be there for me as I would for her.
Those of you who think you'll hop behind the wheel in an emergency are ( pardon me) nuts! Many women who suck it up and do some practice ( start with freeway driving rest stop to rest stop ) find it a blast !!! a good friend cant get his dw out from behind the wheel ! visibility and control are very good once you get used to it. Of course that assumes a dh who can chill and shut up and let her learn without yelling instructions constantly I think that's more the problem than the driving part ..I'd bet that's the reason more DW don't drive .. They don't want the ... From the DH ! . Male egos!
The south is filled with bargain rv's that couldn't be driven home after the dh heart attack .. Just sayin

G.G. 05-20-2013 06:37 PM

WheelingIt...I'm going to try, I promise. The teacher at the driving course told me the same thing...go from rest area to rest area to begin and then it will grow from there. I know the driving needs to be "practiced". To try to get behind the wheel in an emergency situation when nerves or anxiety are at their peak and not be somewhat comfortable with driving would be a disaster waiting to happen. My new mantra..."I can do this, I can do this...."

rvjimmy 05-20-2013 06:42 PM

Kate has driven our 35 foot DP and could drive in a pinch. She says she has a good driver and doesn't need to drive. I would like to say that the fridge doesn't hold enough beer for me to feel real confident with her driving. As said by others she drives from the right seat all the time.:laugh: Jim

zzjea 05-27-2013 04:33 PM

Thanks for all the replies. DW and I went to a middle school complex this afternoon and there was no one there but us and no light posts. She drove around for about 20 minutes and then she took it out on the feeder to I69 (US59), made a U turn under the overpass and up the ramp onto the freeway. Went to next exit and she made another U turn and drove it all the way back to the storage lot on 2 lane road. Only issue was that she hugged the right side too much and I had to let her know a few times she was drifting into the next lane. Otherwise she did fine. No backing however. Maybe another time.

She acted like it was no big deal until it was over and then she told me it was very stressful before and during the outing. I told her I was stressed too. It is easy to drive but there is just so much of it to be aware of.

Anyway, we should be able to trade off on the major highways at times and she could drive it in an emergency. I'm glad she was willing to try. I get fatigued on a long route and her trade offs will make it safer for both of us.


super_rep 05-27-2013 05:20 PM

I do all the driving. DW has done some on our old 40' Beaver. Present coach is a 45' Monaco and she says "just to big for her."

I used to be an instructor for the RV Driving school. I gave a two day lesson to a couple. The wife was a very small lady, about 100# soaking wet and less than 5' tall. She was an excellent driver and totally at ease driving on the mountain roads in eastern PA with their 40' RV. Husband was a very nervous type and looked to be an ex-football player. They had two dogs. When husband was driving, the two dogs were nervous and would not lay down and be still. As soon as wife took the wheel they both lay down and went to sleep.

When the lesson was over, the wife asked me who I would recommend do the most of the driving. I answered her that the dogs had the selection of principal driver correct and that she should point this out to DH. She was a great driver and traffic did not bother her at all.

Bama Fan 05-27-2013 05:26 PM

No way DW will drive the coach! She isn't listed as a driver on our insurance policy!. She has no desire to drive the MH and I have no desire to let her. If she was driving I would be thumbing on the side of the road. :eek:

rstarny 05-27-2013 06:31 PM

My DW refuses to drive and that was even when we had a 33' and she proved it when we were away and my apendex burst and had to have emergency surgery. so she continued to pay the campground till i was well enough to get the car loaded and able to drive. that was an extra week and to be honest was to soon but i wanted to get home

aschuh53 05-27-2013 06:49 PM

My dw drives our 38 and believe me she can handle it. As i have a broken leg (long story) she has put on 600 miles hwy and n.c 2 ln more like one lane with yellow srripe down the center. Ladies you should learn you can do it

gatorcq 05-27-2013 07:14 PM

Susan, loves to drive, we would not be full timing if she did not. I talk to some friends last year, they informed me of some friends of theirs where the wife did not drive, husband died of a heart attack. After a week of not hearing from them friends went up to the campsite. The rest is history.
Find someone to teach them, DO NOT BE THE TEACHER.

toadog 05-27-2013 10:23 PM

My DW would not even drive are car if I am in it. She had a small accident a few years ago am now hates to drive any where.

kewag 05-27-2013 10:42 PM

When the DW drives, I put the foot rest up close my eyes and keep my mouth shut....We always get there safely....

DogNPonyshow 05-27-2013 11:16 PM

I only have a 30' but also pull a truck and 35' horse trailer and do so alone regularly.

When DH and I use the rug together we split the driving 50/50. We both hate being the passenger. Lololol

My mom was a scool bus driver and then trainer so I learned early in life women can handle something larger than a station wagon. :-D

frankdamp 05-28-2013 02:09 PM

Unfortunately my wife is ergonomically unable to drive our MH. There isn't any telescopic adjustment in the steering column, inadequate angular adjustment of same and no vertical adjustment of the driver's seat. The seat is also too deep for her from front to back

These deficiencies were common to every M-H we looked at within our price range, so I had to take on the task 100%. We looked for a Gillig-based M-H, as I'd driven Gillig transit coaches and knew they had enough adjustability for anyone. Unfortunately there were none around at the time.

Our emergency "get home" is a one-way airline ticket for a son-in-law from Seattle or Bellingham to wherever we're stuck.

Steve N Sal 05-28-2013 02:12 PM

Not 39' but close. I do all the driving. The wife has medical issues and doesn't feel comfortable behind the wheel.

chuck49 05-29-2013 06:24 PM

I do all of the driving and like it that way. After driving big trucks nationwide for several years in an earlier life I'm very comfortable on the interstate, city streets, or the "Million Dollar Highway" between Durango and Ouray. DW is very content to put her feet on the dash and watch the scenery go by. If a REAL emergency made it necessary for her to drive for help she could and would.

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