Written by and about full time RVers--those who have decided
to live and travel 24/7 in their recreational vehicles.
Class A Motor Home w/TOAD Attached & Ready to Roll...
A Bird's Eye View from the Driver's Seat of a Class A Motor Home...
Driving a Class A Motor Home
You’ve seen them traveling down the highway. Chances are…you’ve seen me driving mine somewhere between the Carolinas and Arizona. Although many are driven by men in their golden years; men and women of all ages have seemingly mastered driving Class A motor homes. There are no special licensing requirements and few drivers have had any driver’s training to learn how to handle their rigs.
Driving a Class A motor home is much easier when driven without the addition of a towed vehicle whether it is a car, boat or trailer. And if the towed vehicle is being “flat towed” with all four tires on the ground…backing up is out of the question. Doing so can cause great damage to the tow mechanism and/or the front end of the vehicle being towed.
My first experience driving a Class A was while I was trying to make the decision to purchase one or a smaller Class C motor home. I drove the Class A first without any problems. The salesman directed me to an almost empty K-Mart parking lot where I could experience backing and turning it. Upon return to the dealership I then drove a Class C and immediately ran over a curb… I found the visibility in the Class A to be a little better.
Obviously, driving a Class A is not like driving a sports car. It is not difficult but there are some things that have to be taken into consideration due to their obvious bulk. With some exception, most roadways can accept a motor home’s size. If an eighteen wheeler can navigate a particular stretch of road, then the motorhome can as well. Same goes with bridge clearance heights and fueling station canopies. If an eighteen wheeler can handle them, so can a motor home.
There are times driving a Class A that can become hectic. Most drivers realize visibility and clearances can become problematic at times and will give motor homes a wide berth. Regardless how considerate a driver you may be, this is one time when you should feel more comfortable taking up a little extra room while making a turn even if it causes another driver some brief inconvenience. They probably won’t mind.
Even the swiftest motor home may lag a bit while climbing a grade. This is a good time to practice being considerate of other drivers by pulling into the right hand lane and allowing traffic to pass. Additionally, the use of turn signals for all lane changes lets other drivers know your intent. Use them.
Though mine has adequate power, it takes a little longer to get up to speed unless I want to burn an excessive amount of fuel. This is the time to watch for drivers who think you are driving slowly on purpose. They have the tendency to pull out in front of you with little or no notice. Avoid the desire to run them down. Stopping also takes longer in a heavy motor home than in your family car.
The easiest way to back a motor home is to have your partner direct you from outside…unless your partner is a Cocker Spaniel. The key to backing is patience. Go slowly and use all the tools available. This is a great time for power mirrors. They can easily be adjusted for every foot along the way during the backing maneuver. On board cameras are great as well. If there is any question of your position in relation to any obstacle…simply stop and exit the vehicle. Making a visual inspection of your path may be time consuming, but it also makes the job much easier.
Planning is essential to the drive. When “Google” says it is going to take four hours from point A to point B, expect it to take five. Make your travel day just that…your travel day. Take time to make stops along the way to stretch…walk the dog, etc… Refueling takes a lot longer when your tank holds 80 gallons vs. twenty in your car especially when many stations have their pumps cut off automatically at $75 to $125…
Enjoy the advantage of riding above most other traffic and being able to see which lane is blocked ahead. Watch other drivers slow down for ground fog while you are riding far above it and have great visibility. And remember you are moving a home…a kitchen, dining room, bedroom, bathroom, refrigerator, range, microwave, television(s), furniture and more…without the hassle of renting a box van or truck.