I (Chris) drive Bessie (our 28′ Class C Motorhome) most of the time. I have a tendency to get motion sick if I’m not driving and Ted (my husband) tends to get a little drowsy in a moving vehicle. Soooo….it works best for everyone when I’m the Captain.
Driving Miss Bessie on a Country Road: Easy Peasy
The first time I drove Bessie, I was admittedly nervous, yet excited. It was a manageable challenge on a country road while traveling 35-55 mph. I was surprised by how similar it was to driving an SUV. I thought, “If I can drive on these country roads, I can drive anywhere, right??” Uh, wrong. The problem with overconfidence is that you don’t know that you are overly confident until you are presented with your ineptitude.
Driving Miss Bessie on the Highway: Terrifying
Driving Bessie on the highway the first few times was terrifying. Every time a semi passed me (which happened a lot), it created a wind vortex that sucked the RV toward the semi, and as the truck moved away, it’s wind would push the RV away. This created a rocking and swerving sensation in the RV that I desperately fought to control.
Like most questions related to RVing, I researched this phenomenon on YouTube and discovered that I should move the RV to the outside (far right) line when a large vehicle passes me. And the passing semi usually moves to their outside (far left) line, which reduces the drag between our vehicles and prevents sway.
Another important thing that we have learned is the value of having properly inflated tires. Under-inflated tires will create a terrible driving performance in an RV. I am not sure why, but once Ted figured it out, it became much easier to drive Bessie on the highway. We now carry an air compressor and Ted checks the tires regularly when we are traveling.
One last piece of wisdom related to driving an RV is to use moderate speeds. Long-time RVers share that 55 mph is the ideal speed for fuel efficiency, which becomes a priority when we are filling up the gigantic tank every few hundred miles. Most importantly, Bessie is an 11,000 pound ungainly, top-heavy, non-aerodynamic metal box with no roll bars in the frame of the coach. Why go fast and potentially lose control of the vehicle, risking my most precious cargo (my family)?
Summary of Useful Highway Driving Tips For Newbie RVers:
- Overconfidence is never a good thing, particularly for a newbie RVer. It’s actually a false sense of security that can be quite dangerous. Ask questions, do research on YouTube and read RV Forums, Facebook Pages and Blogs to build your knowledge. I am a member of several Facebook RV groups. It’s a great way to learn and meet new people. Not sure where to start? How about with the Facebook group, “RV Happiness,” a page I started to connect RV enthusiasts from the blogging and non-blogging world who love talking about RVing. Speaking of bloggers, there are so many great RV Bloggers out there. Google “RV Blogs” and find a long list of good reading.
- Scoot over to the far right line when being passed by a large vehicle. This will reduce sway and help you to stay in control of the RV.
- Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Check them often.
- Going 55 mph on the highway will provide greater fuel efficiency and control when driving an 11,000 pound behemoth.
Do you have tips to share that help you to drive your rig? Please share in the comments below.