How to Drive an RV for the First Time

an RV at night

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How many times have you gone on a vacation only to find yourself uttering the words, “There’s no place like home?” Maybe you weren’t happy with the accommodations or the food. A trip could be especially challenging if you’re on a road trip with the family crammed into an SUV. Perhaps the approach you should consider for your next vacation is to bring as much of your “home” with you as possible.

This can be accomplished in a comfortable RV that will have all the space for the family, the snacks to enjoy and the ability to avoid hotel check-ins!

Vacationing in an RV means you’ll be totally in control of your comfort and can bring all the pillows, blankets and Blu-Rays you want. Of course, you’ll have to adjust to the driver’s seat literally and figuratively. It’s not that difficult a ride to manage. Here are some great tips on how to drive an RV for the first time.

Practice Makes Comfortable

You would be well served by padding your RV rental with an extra day before the vacation officially starts. Instead of hitting the open road as soon as you drive off the rental lot, you should head over to the nearest open parking lot and get in some practice work. Set out some markers using magazines or cones to get comfortable with pulling in and backing into a parking space. It also helps to have a designated outside navigator practice guiding you into those spaces. Riding an RV is all about teamwork.

Make the Adjustments

The first thing to get used to in an RV is the unencumbered view of the road. Looking out from that high is a great vista. To take full advantage of that, make adjustments to your seats and mirrors. Get used to where the controls are and how to reach them while driving. The more time you spend behind the wheel in your perfectly adjusted seat, the more confident you’ll become.

Get Plenty of Sleep and Avoid the Rain

You’ll want to be well-rested for your ride. Although you might be tempted to power through the night to get to your destination, you would be better off pulling into a truck stop or camp area to catch some Z’s. You’ll need to have your wits about you.

You might also want to sit out a rainstorm. The risks of the road under poor driving conditions are compounded in an RV. Besides, you’ve got a kitchen, and place to relax. If your RV doesn’t have a TV, make sure you add one. A good mount only cost about $50 – $100 and you’ll be glad you have it for waiting out those storms, or for the times when you just want to relax and it’s too cold/hot to be outside.

Favor the Right Lane

Embrace the fact that you’re in no hurry to get to where you’re going. To that end, you should favor the right lane for the entirety of your trip. This lets you go slow without annoying the other drivers. It also gives you better (slower) access to the shoulder and exits. If this is your first time with an RV, you shouldn’t be doing a lot of merging.

Drive Defensively

Despite how you might drive in your car, an RV requires you to be a 100 percent defensive driver. You have to be diligent when it comes to anticipating other drivers. That is especially true with your blind spot. The biggest blind spot will be directly behind your rig. Slow braking and signaling is the key.

If it’s your first time driving an RV, follow these tips and you’ll have a great trip.

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