Driving a Motorhome: 7 Tips to Help You Avoid an Accident
When it comes time to sell your motorhome, safety and precision is a must. The last thing you want to do is get in a wreck right before it goes to new owners! It could potentially botch the entire sale.
Remember, driving a motorhome is much different from driving a car, or even driving a car with a caravan attached. And unless you’ve had extensive experience driving buses, getting behind the wheel of a motorhome is a formidable task.
But don’t worry, if it’s been a while since you’ve driven your family to their vacation spot and feel a little rusty behind the wheel, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading for our top tips on driving a motorhome!
1. Driving a Motorhome Safely Takes Practice
Before you’re ready to head out on the road with other vehicles, obstacles, and pedestrians, you need to practice getting around.
Aside from the gas pedal and the brake pedal, everything about driving a motorhome is different. You’re longer, heavier, more top-heavy, have a larger turning radius, and react differently on hills.
Find a large parking lot or abandoned roads to take your motorhome on and get used to driving it. Take this time to get used to the braking system, get comfortable using your mirrors, and learning how your rig moves.
2. Easy on the Brakes
One thing about driving a motorhome you should know right from the start is that they take a lot longer to stop. Always keep an eye on the road conditions and traffic far ahead, so you’re never forced to slam on your brakes. Watch for brake lights a few cars ahead, rather than the taillights directly in front of you – they can stop immediately, you can’t.
Additionally, slamming on the breaks will almost always result in a violent crash of personal possessions in back. Even if everything’s locked down, you can never be too careful (or stop too slowly).
3. Learn Your Pivot Point
One of the biggest causes of motorhome accidents is inexperienced drivers not knowing their pivot points. While driving a motorhome, making turns is no walk in the park. Especially while making left turns, you need to be aware of how close you are to the corner of the sidewalk as well as any posts/signs, or parked vehicles.
For many large motorhomes, your pivot point is at or near your rear wheels. That means before you can safely turn, your rear wheels need to be up to your turning point.
4. Install Cameras and Be Aware of Blindspots
Another important tip for driving a motorhome is investing in cameras for your rig. We recommend putting in reverse cameras on the back and both sides. However, having a monitor that will display all cameras, even when driving forward is incredibly helpful.
If you decide not to install cameras, you need to be intimately aware of your blind spots. There’s a lot of space your mirrors won’t cover while you’re driving or reversing. Many motorhome drivers have run other vehicles off the road, backed into obstacles, etc.
If you don’t have reverse cameras (and sometimes, even if you do), we recommend always using a guide on the ground to help back you up or park in difficult places. It’s much easier to sell a motorhome without dents, dings, and scrapes.
5. Slow Down on Curves in the Road
Something to keep in mind while driving a motorhome is that you are very top-heavy. While it may be fun to speed through mountainous highways with all the hills and curves, going too fast in a motorhome is a death wish.
Brake early and slow down for curves and turns in the road. While most curves are sloped to help reduce the risk of roll-overs, a motorhome driver needs to take extra precautions. We recommend going 15 to 30 kph slower than whatever the road sign recommends.
Get used to irritating other drivers behind you by constantly slowing down, speeding up, and taking curves slower than suggested. However, it’s better to have angry drivers behind you than running your rig off the road.
6. Take Your Time, People Will Wait
This brings us to our next point about driving a motorhome – being patient. No matter what, at the end of the day, you’re bigger than most of the other vehicles on the road. Ultimately, if you need to stop and reverse to make a difficult turn, cut someone off, or go too slowly for someone’s taste, there’s not much they can do about it.
Of course, we aren’t recommending you be a rude driver, but you have to be selfish when driving a motorhome. Your home and family are riding in there, so take your time. Impatient drivers can pass you anytime they want.
Many motorhome drivers make the mistake of trying to rush and end up clipping a pole or getting in an accident. Believe us, it’s much better to get there slowly than to not get there at all.
7. Be Prepared for Hills
Finally, driving a motorhome means you’re hauling a lot of weight. We already talked about how it takes you longer to start and stop, however, hills also present a challenge.
While driving a motorhome downhill, it can easily get away from you. This is where you really need to learn how to use the breaks without burning them out.
Alternatively, driving a motorhome uphill can also be a different experience. Depending on your motor, how much weight your hauling, and what condition the engine’s in, hills may be the bane of your existence.
Newer motorhomes typically come with a lot of power, which allows them to cruise along uphill without skipping a beat.
However, some older or less powerful motorhomes drag considerable uphill, slowing drivers down to 45 kph or slower. Be ready to be honked at.
Need Help Selling Your Motorhome?
If you’re tired of driving a motorhome on pins and needles because you’re getting ready to sell it, we can help!
We’ll tell you what your motorhome is worth and even give you a cash offer to make things simple and clean. Better yet, we’ll come and collect the motorhome ourselves, so you have even less to worry about! Contact us today to see what we can do!