Move Over and Let Me Drive

Many of you may think driving the RV is a man’s job.  I say, “No way!  Move over and let me drive.”  First of all, I know my spouse’s routine.  He is going to start out with us and then fly off on business for several days and be back on the weekend.  This can happen for several weeks in a row (we’re used to this and he likes his job so this is OK); therefore I have to be very confident driving this large rig.  If I need to move us and have him fly to a different airport or if I just want to move campsites, I need to be able to move.  I hate being stuck and having to wait on someone.

I grew up driving a window van and then graduated to a van with a trailer behind it.  I was doing this in high school so I am not completely clueless about having a backend.  However, this one is over 36 feet long and is as tall as a semi.

On the test drive before we bought it I let Ken drive first so I could watch before I tried it.    I did pretty well on my first try but the first corner I took too fast.  The RV is very top-heavy so you get the sensation of almost tipping over if you go too fast on a corner.  But that was a first try.  No big deal.

Our first trip out after we owned the RV, we decided to go about an hour away to a campground to spend the night and test all of the systems. I drove first.  Eighty percent of the drive was on the interstate so really a pretty straight shot.  The actual driving part was fine, but it is very scary when the semis pass.  The RV has such a large side profile it gets easily pushed around by wind.  Even when the trucks pass slowly,  you feel like they are only two inches from your window and then their backend can drift toward your lane, and well, I would let out a small scream every time that happened.  The trucks were WAY to close for me. There is definitely a freak-out factor.  I learned that if there is a shoulder it is best to drive on the line near the shoulder.  If the trucks go by fast then you get the shock of them being on top of you for less time, but the blast of air that pushes you off of the road is quite alarming.

On our next trip for Spring break we were on some small country lanes with no shoulder.  Hah!  That was not fun either.  The rig is 8 1/2 feet wide with the slides in and I think the lanes are the same width.  As Ken was driving you might think I was more at ease.  Nooooo!  He would move to the edge of the road to make space for the oncoming traffic, even if it was a small car and they had room to move over.  There were times it seemed like he was off the road  I don’t like sitting in the passenger seat of such a large vehicle and feeling like we are going to go off of the road.  Like I said before, “Move over and let me drive.”

The truth is, it is best to have two drivers.  Non-busy interstate driving is really no big deal.  The things that make driving unnerving are:  lots of traffic, bad weather including wind, city driving and now I am adding small country road driving.  With two drivers we try to drive between two and four hours each session so we each get a break.  We have also discovered that RV driving is much slower than it is in a car so we need to plan more time for the miles driven.  I don’t mind driving and, in a way, I find it fun.  We’re both still newbies and we’ll see what happens as we add more hours to our logbook.