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Do you “Drive Friendly”? How to be a better RV driver

By Gail Marsh
“Drive Friendly.” This was the sign that greeted me as I entered Texas for my first real job. Huh. Back then I appreciated the sentiment but now, as an RVer, I wish every state had the same idea.

RVers are some of the friendliest people. In my experience, they are always ready to lend a hand, greet you with a smile, and share stories of their travels. It’s hard to imagine, but sometimes these same friendly people stop being friendly once they hit the road.

How can RVers “Drive friendly”? Here’s how:

  • Know your route. Use Google maps or another map option to plot your trip and familiarize yourself with your route before you go.
  • Check all lights before you begin traveling (headlights, taillights, turn signals, emergency lights). Hint: Some RVers prefer driving with headlights on, even in the daytime.
  • Stay in the right lane except to pass, or to allow another vehicle to easily merge into traffic from the on-ramp.
  • Signal well before you make any turn or change lanes.
  • Use emergency blinkers if you are moving slowly (up a steep grade, for example). Check and make sure using your hazards is legal in the state you’re in. Here’s a guide.
  • Avoid frequent lane changes.
  • When traffic is heavy, do not enter an intersection unless you can fully cross it.
  • Pay attention! If you want to view the scenery, stop. Park in a safe place and give yourself time to take in the view.

As with much of life, attitude makes a difference. According to the American Psychological Association, angry drivers tend to run red lights, speed, switch lanes quickly, and tailgate. When driving an RV these overly aggressive actions can mean real trouble.

If you’re feeling stressed or upset, take a deep breath, and remember: You are the lucky one. You’re the one who gets to travel. You are the one who gets to see new and interesting places and things. Today is a great day simply because you are an RVer! So drive friendly!

Related:
Safety tips for driving directly into the sun
From AAA: Hazard Light Use in the USA and Canada

##RVDT1544

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Matt Moore
8 months ago

This is a good list for any driver, not just RVers. Headlights during the day are so important, not to see better but to BE SEEN better. And for the love of all that is holy don’t park it in the middle lane. If people are passing you on the right you’re creating pinch points that make the road dangerous for everyone.

Bobby
9 months ago

Best day(s) in MN is when we get ½” of snow. 700-800 Drivers spin out and roll or hit something. This cleans off the roads the idiots that won’t slow down or cut people off and lose control. Two days later, same thing. Puts them off the road, vehicle needs repair with long waits and insurance rate goes up for at least 3 years. Yes, there is a God!

Gray
9 months ago

Driving big truck pulling 53-ft trailers for several years in 49 states and three Canadian provinces: never sweat the small stuff. A safer, more relaxed attitude comes when an experienced driver learns that everything is small stuff!

I-5 from approx. Everett to Seattle, WA is posted 60 mph speed limit, with hi-occupancy vehicle lane on far left. Setting cruise control at 65 and attempting to stay in HOV lane is not safely possible. Speeders run up and tailgate, then make aggressive pass and cut in front, swerving in anger. Anything less than 10-15 mph over posted limit seems to incur frequent road rage. Safest place is middle lane while 70-80 mph speeders weave past on both sides. It seems obvious the Hwy Patrol has yielded speed limit control, except for most flagrant (90-100 mph+) cases.

Matt Johnson
9 months ago

After all of our travels throughout 45 States in our nation so far, I find Texas to have the rudest drivers and Utah to have the most clueless drivers. But we still have to hit several of the Canadian border States.

Jim
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt Johnson

We feel the same way about Texas only State to have problems in.

Tom
9 months ago

I was driving friendly and my RV was shortened by 3 ft by a truck in Texas. I was letting a person pull out of a gas station, and the ‘meat truck’ decided I was too long.

Patti Panuccio
9 months ago

I lived in Texas for 20 years and most Texans think driving friendly is pulling into the emergency lane to let speeders pass, doesn’t matter what your driving. In this emergency lane, most TX drivers do the speed limit, they do not slow down to let people pass they just move to the right. It is the most hazardous thing I have ever seen, and I worked for a towing company that was always picking up cars that had hit something in the emergency lane or ran off the edge and lost control. And when you hit NM the signs say do not travel in the emergency lane. Off soapbox.

WEB
9 months ago
Reply to  Patti Panuccio

Well, it is allowed:
Sec. 545.058. DRIVING ON IMPROVED SHOULDER. (a) An operator may drive on an improved shoulder to the right of the main traveled portion of a roadway if that operation is necessary and may be done safely, but only: (1)…snipped…
(5) to allow another vehicle traveling faster to pass

John Armstrong
9 months ago

On Google earth, once I find the next destination I usually go to street level to see what the area looks like. Or look at intersections or even places of interest.

Zeet
9 months ago

I read an article about which states do not allow driving with hazard lights even when going slowly. Surprised at the number where it is not allowed.

Jeanine Ruby
9 months ago

Well I’ve realized one thing about drivers. I’ve driven all over this beautiful country on Interstates, secondary roads, city streets., etc., and NO ONE obeys the speed limit including law enforcement. Everyone speeds, except me as I ALWAYS obey the speed limit because it’s there for a reason, and RV obeying the speed limit is especially important. Why people are in such a hurry is beyond me.

Matt Johnson
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeanine Ruby

like the reason the 55 mile an hour speed limit was enacted in California back in the seventies because of the fuel shortage. Do you really think it applies today. Well it might in the near future under this administration. I also remember Nevada, Wyoming and Montana not having speed limits. I say we go back to those days and drive safely at the speed you are comfortable driving at and keep out of the #1 lane. Cars are made much safer nowadays with many advanced safety items installed. And of course there will be limits in and around pedestrian and populated areas. I am just talking about open highways between cities and towns.

volnavy007
9 months ago

A study out of Sweden (years ago) found that driving with lights on (not just the ones that come on automatically but tail lights, too) cut down accidents by over 60%.

CAREN KELLY
9 months ago
Reply to  volnavy007

You are correct, In Canada we also drive with our lights on (at least most of us). This should be a standard procedure for everyone.

Bob P
9 months ago
Reply to  volnavy007

We ain’t in Sweden

WEB
9 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

WOW, good reply! They are one lucky country.  🇸🇪 

Ellen L
9 months ago

My husband uses Google Maps to see street views of our route – especially for intersections where we will be turning. It has been a big help.

Lance
9 months ago

The first item is important to prevent confusion and traffic blockage at turns, low bridges, left exits on highway ramps, etc. Use headlights if your coach or tow truck does not have daytime running lights. Exceptions to the right lane include getting into the proper lane before an exit ramp, and to move over for stopped emergency vehicles. Signal for turns and lane changes, but not so early as to cause confusion (about 100 ft before turn). DO enter an intersection for a left turn if there is no dedicated signal for the left turn lane . When you wait to enter, the light may go red and prevent you from entering (and irritate those waiting behind you).

Richard Hughes
9 months ago
Reply to  Lance

Thanks, you saved me a lot of typing.

Tommy Molnar
9 months ago
Reply to  Richard Hughes

Me too, Richard. Especially the last part about getting into the intersection to wait to make a left turn. I DO get angry at people who don’t even move when the light turns green if they are waiting to make a left turn. The light then turns red and they’re still sitting there, not having moved an inch while they waited for ‘their turn’.

It’s a shame they no longer teach driving in high school anymore . . .

Gee, I guess I didn’t save myself typing after all.  😎 

Bob_B
9 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

My son-in-law teaches Driver Education in a district in the St. Louis area — classroom instruction, including guests from law enforcement, insurance agents, and others; simulator training on high-end simulators; and driving practice.

It’s available in some places, should be in more.

Bob P
9 months ago
Reply to  Lance

At highway speeds 100 ft happens in a few seconds, I prefer to use 1/8 mile at highway speed, usually about 5 sec after the exit notification sign. 100 ft can work in a city environment.

Bob_B
9 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

60 mph is equal to 88 feet per second. A lot can happen in 88 feet. A football field, including end zones, is about 4 seconds.