Tuesday, October 4, 2022

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Before driving RV, please engage brain

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Traveling by car to an appointment in the “big city” of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, we noticed with some alarm as a commercial truck pulled out into the “suicide lane” to pass a vehicle. Since a commercial driver’s license is a pretty-much coveted possession of truck drivers, it seemed to us an unusually provocative move, taking a big risk needlessly. What on earth could have caused him or her to act in such a way?

Photo: base image, https://www.cgpgrey.com/

It didn’t take long to figure it out. We spotted, through a long line of cars, just what it was the trucker passed—a big Class A motorhome with a toad car behind him. Traffic was building up behind the RV, poking along at about 45 in a 55 mph zone, but we were assured this would surely end soon, as there was a long, wide, pullout about a mile ahead—which the RVer simply rolled on past.

Shortly thereafter we hit a 65 mph zone, and by this time, Mr. Pokey had somehow managed to slow his rig down to 42. A frustrated auto driver had enough—he whipped out around the motorhome, and came close enough to “head-on’ing” oncoming traffic that it pretty near caused heart palpitations in our car, just watching it. Others were emboldened to similar acts. Happily no more close calls ensued but, finally, we were two rigs behind the motorhomer. The pilot in the big rig just kept right on plugging along, never hitting more than about 53 miles per hour, and passing plenty of long and wide stretches of paved shoulder that would have made the perfect out.

As we were headed to an appointment, we watched with no little anxiety as the “ETA” clock on our GPS unit showed we had lost many minutes since our first encounter with the lumbering recreational limo. Finally, a two-lane portion of the highway opened up, and we were able to get around this guy—along with about 15 more cars stacked up behind.

We’ve said it more than once over the years: When you get behind the wheel of a motorhome or a towing rig, you put yourself up as a representative of the rest of the RV community. Like it or not, to the average non-RVer, you’ve seen one RV, you’ve seen ’em all. Being RVers, we have empathy for fellow RVers who may struggle with climbing a grade, or dealing with twisty curves with a long, wide rig. But even with that empathy, I gotta confess, I still had some rather nasty thoughts about the lack of consideration of this fellow. I can only imagine the colorful language that must have been sent his way by others in the big parade we shared for some long miles. For heaven’s sake, DON’T NEEDLESSLY IMPEDE TRAFFIC.

[Editor: Another consideration — We’re not sure about all states, but in Washington state, RCW 46.61.427 provides: Slow-moving vehicle to pull off roadway. On a two-lane highway where passing is unsafe because of traffic in the opposite direction or other conditions, a slow moving vehicle, behind which five or more vehicles are formed in a line, shall turn off the roadway wherever sufficient area for a safe turn-out exists, in order to permit the vehicles following to proceed. As used in this section a slow moving vehicle is one which is proceeding at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place.]

##RVDT1810

 

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Bob Palin
6 months ago

I typically don’t drive over 60mph with the fiver on, I will pull over if possible but the majority of pullouts are too short to safely slow or stop in while towing, if you even see them in time. I won’t pull onto the shoulder, there is too much crap and frequently sharp edges and bumps.

As for semi drivers being safe, no way, they are maniacs. Recently had one pass me on a double yellow in a corner, I knew he was behind me and was looking for a place to let him by, he hadn’t been there long at all. They tailgate both each other and cars. Almost got crushed by one yesterday who didn’t want to slow down to merge onto the freeway, I had nowhere to go to let him in. Maniacs.

W Wood
6 months ago

Unfortunately, enforcement of these laws is difficult because the women and men that risk their lives to keep our roads safe are hobbled by the very governments that hire them by not hiring enough to get the job done. Stay safe and good luck out there!

Mel Jones
6 months ago

Good words of advice. Hopefully the driver in question will read this article and wise up.

Montgomery D Bonner
7 months ago

All – will say it again, some people are just too stupid to own and operate an RV. Complain all you want, but there needs to be a federal rule, that any and all RV drivers have to complete a BIG RIG driving class, and pass it, with an endorsement on your license showing successful completion, this training would have 8 hours of Over the road requirement. That a vision test would be required is a given. I cannot tell you how many times this has happened to us, and we own RV now.

Joe
7 months ago

There are some states that require an endorsement. I live in Pennsylvania, the state requires me to have a class B for my 40 foot MH, if I towed a trailer rated at 10,000 pounds then I would need a class A and would be required to have the trailer attached for the driving test. No written test however a driving test on their course, a open road driving test highway and urban. Demonstrate how to test the air brakes and several verbal questions to answer. How many diesel rig owners know how to test their air brake systems?

I have said it before, RV travel should post all of the states requirements and also how to test the air brake system but I have not seen anything.

Tom
6 months ago
Reply to  Joe

I also live in PA and have never heard of this. No Class A required for a non-commercial vehicle.

Lil John
7 months ago

One of the biggest problems is that states make it a five car limit before you have to legally pull over. Many places you can go 20 or 30 miles behind a rude driver and he does not have to pull over “legally”. The law needs to change.

Lawrence Neely
7 months ago

by the way the speed limit is the “maximum” speed. Usually on the interstates, the minimum speed is 40 mph, although I have seen some posted where the minimum is 45 mph. Although he should be courteous and move over he is within the law as far as speed.

Robert
7 months ago
Reply to  Lawrence Neely

My thoughts exactly!!

Donald N Wright
7 months ago

How rare indeed, a motorhome going under the speed limit. Here in Texas, they usually drive ten to twenty over the speed limit

Nick DiPietro
7 months ago

In California the rule is 5 or more cars you move over . The attitude of the driver towards fellow motorists causes accidents to happen . It is not your right to impede the flow of traffic . If you can’t drive the speed limit on a 2 lane road take the cut out or the shoulder if it is wide enough so others can move along . Simple courtesy to others .

Robert
7 months ago

I totally agree with the writer. I very rarely drive below the speed limit, but if we are sight seeing and driving below the speed limit we always let cars and trucks pass. People just think about themselves and don’t care about how their actions negatively affect others.

The Lazy Q
7 months ago

Quite frankly, the rv’r had his head you know where, like so many other inconsiderate drivers who think they are the only one on the road (see comments). If I see one car behind me on a two lane road and I’m not doing the speed limit, I will signal, slow down and pull as far right in the lane as I can so the ones behind me can at least see it’s safe and go around even if I can’t pull off. I hate people who impede traffic so I will not impede traffic. And for everyone who complains about the drivers in the left lane who stay there until they have to merge in a construction zone or two lanes down to one and believe they are cutting you off…the flow of traffic goes much better to have both lanes going and then do the thing I learned in drivers Ed in the early 80’s…one to one, so stay on the lane and let one car merge than go and on and on kinda like at a stop sign. But since nobody knows the rules of the road anymore this will never work. So just stay frustrated and motor on cussing.

Tom B
7 months ago

Commenters are defending this driver for driving slowly. And yet, nowhere in this article does it suggest that he should have driven faster. The driver’s right to drive slowly is understood by everyone else. 

I’m disappointed to read the comments that suggest that he should not be criticized for not pulling out, because it would inconvenience him and it is his right to not pull over. We can all choose to be a little more considerate of others instead of exercising our rights.

I’m especially disappointed to read comments like this here. Commenters here used to be nicer.

Royce
7 months ago

In some states there are laws against impeding traffic also. Something to consider also.

CeeCee
7 months ago

We strive to be mindful of the traffic behind us, including when just sightseeing in our car. However, in our MH, sometimes the pullouts are too short for us to use safely, which is frustrating for us, as well as those who are behind us. Also, if traffic is heavy, and we are going uphill, stopping and starting again in traffic is worse than just chugging to the top. Sometimes, patience is required for all parties and we have to accept that we get there when we get there. If conditions will make me late, I stop watching the clock and focus on driving responsibly. Any accident will just make me later, and arriving safely is more important.

Leonard Rempel
7 months ago

The speed limit posted is the MAXIMUM speed allowed, not the minimum. While appearing inconsiderate not to pull over and let backed up traffic pass, should the aggressive drivers behind nearly causing a head on collision not be more condemned?

Seems like the articles lately are more negative and controversial biased, similar to mainstream media to elicit eyeballs and responses. I think you need to look in the mirror and ask yourselves is this the path that you want this newsletter to go?
Just MHO.

Joe
7 months ago
Reply to  Leonard Rempel

As a “big rig driver” for my safety and others on the roads I do my best to keep people from becoming the aggressive driver! The article is well written and gives us an avenue to reflect on our driving habits.

Always drive defensively

Mike
7 months ago
Reply to  Joe

Agreed, the vast majority of truck and other professional drivers realize the risk of creating frustration in your fellow drivers, or perhaps they have enough empathy to understand the other drivers’ frustration. The thoughtless drivers like the RV in the article may have the ‘right’ to drive too slow for traffic conditions, but they also have a Responsibility to show consideration for those around them. Somehow a vast number (not percentage, thankfully) of Americans have forgotten that with any right comes Responsibilities.

Gary
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike

There a bunch of those types in these comments…

Ken
7 months ago
Reply to  Joe

Big rig drivers are very unprofessional now more than ever! When I drove several years ago I would NEVER pull into fast lane going 20 miles per hour slower than cars 20 feet behind me. But now it happens many times per day.

Robert
7 months ago
Reply to  Leonard Rempel

In many states if you are driving under the speed limit and impeding traffic behind you you can get a ticket. Wanting to drive the speed limit is not aggressive driving.

Robert
7 months ago
Reply to  Leonard Rempel

The speed limit posted is the MAXIMUM speed allowed

Bob
7 months ago
Reply to  Robert

Really I didn’t know that!! This conversation is about people who are afraid to drive the speed limit and refuse to let the people who know how to drive and want to drive at the LEGALLY POSTED speed from doing so.

Tommy Molnar
7 months ago

As we all should know, “speed limits” are just that. The limit (top speed) you are supposed to stay under. Of course, lots of us take the extra five or so and will not suffer a traffic stop. But, you DO NOT have to drive AT the “speed limit”. Fuel costs being what they are now, it behooves us to travel as miserly as we can. With most trailer tires rated at 65 mph, and the cost of fuel, my top speed is 60 mph no matter what the “Speed Limit” is.
I generally don’t worry about the signs that say “Slow traffic use pullouts”, because if I’m traveling at 60mph in a 70mps zone, I don’t consider 60 “slow”. There’s no way I can stop from 60 in a “pullout”. People in a hurry can go around.

Crmay
7 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

My thoughts exactly. It’s near impossible to pull over quickly as they sneak up on turn outs and whip in one. I can’t tell you how many times we needed to get over and traffic moving 70+ and we are going 55 to 60 and cannot safely just turn into one of the cut outs not made for that and often not even big enough to get into safely but you have no way of knowing until you are on top of it. Sorry for the inconvenience but it’s the truth

Eddie
7 months ago

I have been driving for more than 50 years and was a police officer in the state of Texas for 30 years and I have never heard the terms of “pull outs” or “turn outs”. Here in Texas, most two lane highways have passing lanes.

If this questioned RV driver was new to RV driving, he may be unsure of is ability and was being safe

Diane Mc
7 months ago
Reply to  Eddie

In California thru the mountains or down the coast, anywhere with 2 lanes, we have turnouts. Even signs announcing them.

Mike
7 months ago

Would this even be a story if it were not an rv “LIMO” driving slow. why couldn’t have just been an rv?

Gary
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike

Triggered! Lol.

Ron
7 months ago

Can’t Fix Stupid

Dan
7 months ago

I guess it never occurred to the author(s) that the driver may have been having a medical issue and was not aware of the situation he was creating. That doesn’t justify what was happening, but ya just never know. The best action is always be patient, wait your turn, and then go on with your day.

Kenny
7 months ago
Reply to  Dan

Thats when you pull over and dial 911.

Gary
7 months ago
Reply to  Kenny

Eggzactly.

Roger V
7 months ago

That’s one of many reasons we bought a Winnebago Class B motorhome. We keep up with the flow of traffic no matter where we are.

Last edited 7 months ago by Roger V