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Very quickly, you’ll realize that you’re not driving the family minivan.
Safely driving your new RV will take some adjusting in the way you approach different scenarios — like making corners and turning in tight situations.
The pressure will be on immediately. Very likely, the RV dealer’s lot will be surrounded by fencing, and you’re going to be required to make a turn just to get out of the driveway.
RV Turning Is Different
The driver’s seat in a large Class A motorhome is in a rather unique position.
Often, the front wheels of the RV are actually placed behind the driver.
With an extended front end hanging out in front of the steering tires, you will need to advance farther out into an intersection before initiating your turn.
No longer is the front bumper your indicator that it’s time to turn. Failure to pull far enough out into an intersection before turning will result in a lamp post or stop sign crashing into your motorhome about halfway down the side.
Because of the extra length of your motorhome (or truck and RV trailer), you will need to turn out into the left lane a bit, before you initiate your turn to the right. This will give clearance for the back half of your coach or trailer to make the corner.
City Driving Tips For RVers
This presents a situation that is common in the trucking industry. When you drift left, some little car will assume you’re going to turn left and will come up alongside you on the righthand side.
When you initiate your right turn, you’ve trapped him and will likely leave tire marks across his hood as you crush him like a bug. This video is a perfect example of this problem:
You can avoid this danger by using these tips to help you safely navigate corners in your new RV:
- Plan ahead. Approach corners with a clear picture of exactly where all other vehicles are around you.
- Turn signals should be applied well in advance of your corner. That way, everyone around you has a clear understanding of what you’re about to do.
- Stop and check clearances if you suspect you’re getting too close to an obstruction. Tying up traffic for a minute or so sure beats hitting a parked car!
RV Predicaments When City Driving
Pulling into unknown alleys, narrow streets, and small parking lots is just asking for problems. If you’re not familiar with where you want to go, park. Then go check it out before you commit to the corner.
Practice makes perfect. Set up some cones or other soft indicators. Lay them out like an intersection in an empty shopping center parking lot. Then, you can practice making corners where you won’t damage anything. This is the best way to learn how to back your RV into a campsite too. In place of cones, you could use plastic milk jugs. Partially fill them with water, so the wind won’t blow them away.
The best advice for new RVers doing city driving is to go slow, take your time, and if you find you didn’t judge the corner well just wait for traffic to clear, so you can get around the corner safely (without damage). That way, you can safely back up and give it another try. With patience and persistence, you will become familiar with your new RV in no time. And you’ll also be cornering like a pro.
More Tips For Maneuvering Your RV In Tight Situations
- DMV’s RV Handling & Driving Tips
- Tips For Operating Your Rental RV Safely
- Things To Remember When Driving An RV
- Driving An RV Is Easier Than You Think
I’ve been involved in RVing for over 50 years — including camping, building, repairing, and even selling RVs and motorhomes. I’ve owned, used, and repaired almost every class and style of RV ever made. I do all of my own repair work. My other interests include cooking, living with an aging dog, and dealing with diabetic issues. If you can combine a grease monkey with a computer geek, throw in a touch of information nut and organization freak, combined with a little bit of storyteller… you’ve got a good idea of who I am. To date, I've shared my RV knowledge in over 300 articles here at The Fun Times Guide!