RV Driving is Different – not Difficult
If you’re an experienced car driver, you already have the skills necessary to drive a motorized RV. The automatic transmission, power brakes and steering you’re accustomed to are standard features on most RVs. With proper attention to the differences – the vehicle size, height and weight – you’ll find it fun and easy to take the wheel of a motorhome.
Whether you drive a motorized RV or tow an RV, you should:
- Before leaving: sit in the driver’s seat and adjust all mirrors for optimal road views.
- Allow for the size of your vehicle when turning. The front and rear wheels will track paths much farther apart than those of a car.
- Allow more time to brake, or to change lanes, and merge onto a busy highway because big vehicles take more time to accelerate and slow down than small ones.
Drivers towing a folding camping trailer or travel trailer should:
- Match the proper tow vehicle to your RV. Most full and mid-size family cars can pull a trailer; so can today’s popular vans, SUVs, and light-duty trucks. Check maximum weight it can pull.
- Use the right trailer hitch, and make sure it is hitched correctly.
- Connect brakes and signal lights. Make sure that the trailer’s brakes, turn signals, and taillights are synchronized with the towing vehicle.
- Back up with care. By placing your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel, the trailer will move in the direction you turn your hand. (For example, to move the trailer to the right, move your hand to the right.) Once the trailer is moving in the proper direction, avoid any sharp movements of the steering wheel.
- When reversing: ask someone to stand outside the vehicle to make sure the driver avoids any obstacles not seen in the mirrors. If another person is not available, the driver should inspect the area behind the vehicle. Doing so can prevent surprises and accidents.
- Put seat belts on: whether you’re driving a motorhome or a tow vehicle, make sure you and every passenger wears a seat belt. According to the National Safety Belt Coalition, this is the single most effective thing you can do to prevent serious injury and death in a traffic accident.
You do not need a special license to drive or tow the majority of RVs.
Canadian RV Regulations
Provincial regulations vary from province to province. So if you are planning to travel in Canada with your RV you should refer to this summary of regulations prepared by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada. They list size restrictions, seat belt regulations, safety chain laws, plus brake requirements for each Canadian province.
Refer to: http://www.rvda.ca/default.asp?action=RVDA_regulations
Green RVing Guide
Like everyone, RVers have a responsibility to protect the environment. Do your part to help preserve the great outdoors for future generations by following these conservation tips:
- Keep your RV on roads that it is equipped to handle.
- Keep RV and tow vehicle engines well tuned to conserve energy and reduce emissions.
- Always use marked RV campsites.
- Recycle as you travel. Take note of campground recycling categories: they may be different from those you use at home.
- Minimize the use of disposables. Mix your own cold drinks from powders, and assign a mug to each family member rather than using paper cups. Discard excess packaging at home.
- Keep campfires small to minimize the amount of ash and pollution. Don’t put anything into the fire pit that will not burn, such as plastics, foils, and metals. Observe fire rules, which may change each day with weather conditions.
- Use non-toxic cleaning supplies and tank additives. For a list of ecologically-friendly waste treatment products refer to the Camp Green Canada website at:
- Where pets are permitted, keep them indoors or use a screw-in stake. Tying them to trees can damage fragile bark.
- Your favorite music may be your neighbor’s noise pollution. Observe quiet hours for generators, boom boxes, and noisy games.
- Work with nature. In hot weather, use natural shade, awnings and canvas covers. In cold weather, park where the RV will be protected from north and west winds.
- Leave campground showers, the dump station, and the campsite as clean as you found them.
- At the end of your trip, dispose of all trash properly.
Observing these simple guidelines will make you a Green RVer!