Driving an RV on the interstate is a lot different than driving a car, or even a truck. That’s why it’s so important to learn all the tips and tricks for navigating an RV.
1. LOVE THE RIGHT LANE
The right lane is specifically reserved for slower traffic. You’ll learn that quickly if you get on a highway near a big city. No matter how fast you go, an RV will never be able to hang with a car zipping down the highway at 85. Plus, you’ll be right next to the shoulder should you have to pull off for an emergency. The only time you might consider moving to the center or left-hand lane is when you’re in a place where there’s constantly traffic merging into the right-hand lane, which could be difficult for a larger rig.
2. TAKE TIPS FROM TRUCKERS
If there’s one thing truck drivers know, it’s how to navigate the highway. Chances are they’ve driven this road before and know how to navigate through traffic efficiently. If you have a CB radio, listen in on what the truckers are saying. Sometimes they toss tips back and forth about road work, detours, traffic and driving conditions. You never know what you might learn.
3. BE GASSY
Running out of gas in car is bad. Running out of gas in a rig is worse. There are some stretches on the interstate that don’t have exits for miles. Considering using the Gas Buddy app, which will help you find the cheapest gas station near you. Try to gas up before you get below a 1/2 tank. After all, you never know what the open road will bring you.
3. MAP IT OUT
Unless you’re hitting the road and going wherever it takes you, it’s good to have a plan. Use Google Maps to plot out a course and print the directions, just in case technology fails. When you use Google Maps, it can often alert you ahead of time as to detours, construction, road work, traffic patterns and much more. Whether you’re using a Smartphone or GPS, make sure you have the right cords, chargers or extra equipment you’ll need to keep them running. If not, you might have to resort to good old fashioned maps.
4. MOVE SLOWLY
If you are going to change lanes, make sure to put your directional signal on well in advance. This will let other drivers move out of your way, but don’t count on it! Make sure to triple check, especially for cars that might be lurking in your blind spot. When you start to move over, so slowly and deliberately. Be aware of your surroundings before you make a move.
After you’ve been driving an RV, you’ll start to learn that anticipation is your friend. Many drivers are predictable, but many are not. That’s why anticipating their actions is always a good idea. For example, RV drivers tend to leave a lot of space between them and the car in front of them. This is because it takes a lot longer for an RV to slow down. Unfortunately, some drivers take that opening as an opportunity to dart in. Be on the look out.
6. SLEEP TIGHT
I think we can all agree that driving when you’re tired is the worst. Before you travel, make sure you’ve gotten enough sleep. A big gulp of coffee isn’t going to replace a solid 8 hours. When you’re tired, your judgement and reaction times are lessened, so get some shut eye before you drive.
7. WATCH YOUR REAR
Who knows why, but cars love to tailgate big vehicles. The problem with that is we can’t see them! Have you ever been behind a semi-truck that says “If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you”? This is a completely true phrase. Unfortunately, we can’t change other drivers, so we have to remain alert and cautious, knowing that there could be someone hiding behind us that we don’t see.
8. AVOID BAD WEATHER
Sometimes bad weather pops up, other times you can see it brewing. Accidents during inclement weather are much more common, and you don’t want to be part of one! If the weather gets bad while you’re on the road, it might be a good idea to pull over. The great news is that you’re in an RV, so you can have lunch, watch a movie or even take a nap. What a deal!
9. LOOK OUT
Tire pieces, car parts and other large debris can be a serious issue for RV drivers, especially because it takes longer to slow down. Keep your eyes peeled on the road for anything that looks dangerous. This is yet another reason why you’re better off in the right-hand lane. When things go wrong, you always know you can pull off and stay safe.
10. RIG CARE
It’s always important to take care of your rig. After all, it is part of your family. Probably the most important time to make sure your rig is in working order is before a road trip. Get everything in good working order so that you don’t have to stop in a random town for repairs. Plus, a tire blowout on a country road is nothing compared to the interstate. Maintain that rig!
Last but not least, make sure to enjoy your road trip. Listen to some music, tell a few jokes and enjoy the open road.