Maneuvering an RV can be stressful for many travelers. Select campgrounds, gas stations, narrow country roads, and even urban streets present challenges in your RV.
However, regardless of the situation, finding yourself in tricky situations and getting through it are all part of the learning curve of RV travel, whether you’re seasoned RVer or a newbie.
Become more comfortable maneuvering your RV:
- Every morning before you hit the road, be sure to check that your mirrors are properly set and clean. Your mirrors should be set so you can see a little bit of the side of your RV, immediately behind you and the lane next to you. This minimizes blind spots as much as possible.
- While you’re on the highway slow down and drive defensively. Always leave extra space between you and vehicles in front of you. Also, remember your length of your RV when changing lanes.
Here are some additional precautions when driving on urban side streets, getting fuel, visiting a roadside attraction or driving through a campground:
- Swing wide on corners. This helps to avoid clipping the curb, other vehicles, trees or other obstacles.
- Keep in mind the tail swing of your RV when turning sharply. The tail swing will always be out of the driver’s view.
- While pulling away from fuel pumps in stations, pay extra attention to the protective posts next to the pumps. Ask someone to spot your blind side if necessary. Accessing fuel stations with an RV can sometimes be challenging.
Key things to remember when backing up (no matter where you are):
- Backing up safely takes some concentration and preparation. Before you begin to back up, study where you plan to back up your RV. Take Note of any obstacles and plan accordingly. Remember to look for low hanging hazards like tree branches.
- Whenever possible, keep potential obstacles on the driver’s side and in direct view from the driver’s seat.
- If you are traveling with a companion, have them act as a spotter. Instruct them to stand where you can see them in the mirrors and agree of the meanings of hand signals in advance.
- Utilize a backup camera in your RV if you have one.
- Envision the required path for the rear axle to get where you want to go. Again, plan accordingly before you start to back up.
- While you are watching where the rear of your RV is going, don’t forget to turn your head to see where the front end of your unit is. Short posts or rocks below the drivers view along the edge of a campground road have damaged many RVs.
Practice, practice, and practice
Go find a large vacant parking lot, place some cones on the ground that allow you to practice maneuvering and backing up.
A couple of tipped over/smashed cones are way better than your RV. After practicing and getting experience on the road, you will soon find yourself adventurous enough to try a back into an RV space rather than rely on a pull-through site when visiting your next RV park.