It may just be a generational thing. Or a leftover from before the feminist revolution in the ’60s and ’70s thing. I’m talking about the fact that it’s usually the man who drives the RV. At least this is generally what I’ve seen during the years we’ve traveled. It would surely make RV life easier if I shared the driving responsibility, but my husband and I also defaulted to the norm. He drove our first RV and from then on, assumed that responsibility.
It very well may have continued that way until we hung up the RV keys for good. Except for our trip to Colorado. We were on our way home to Missouri—a 12-hour trip. We got an early start to our day and planned to stop after six hours of driving. About five hours into the drive my husband began to feel drowsy. It was, after all, nothing but Interstate road over mostly flat land. Because I’d practiced driving our RV prior to this trip, I suggested that I take the wheel so he could catch a few winks. Surprisingly, he agreed.
Yes, at first I was a bit nervous. And no, my husband didn’t sleep much at all. But I really gained confidence in my ability to drive our fifth-wheel rig. Now I recommend that every adult that’s traveling in the RV know how to drive it. Our RV life is easier now because both my husband and I feel comfortable driving our rig.
Here’s how to get started driving an RV
Find a large, empty parking lot. (We used an abandoned shopping mall lot. It worked well because the driving and parking lines were marked. You also could ask permission to use a church parking lot mid-week or a large business parking lot during non-business hours. A high school parking lot after school hours, on the weekend, or during vacation also works well.) First, practice driving in a straight line. Stop and adjust mirrors, if necessary. Then practice making gradual curves, turning corners, and even backing up. All the while, your passenger can offer suggestions and encouragement.
Make RV life easier on the road
I practiced until I felt comfortable with how our rig handled. You can, too. Practicing your driving skills at low speeds will help you get the feel of the RV—how it corners, starts, stops, and more. You can take your time to see how the mirrors and backup camera function. After practicing at low speeds, you’re ready for highway driving. Choose a time when the roadway is the least congested or mostly free of traffic. That way you can accelerate, decelerate, stop and start (not on a freeway or interstate, of course), change lanes, and practice more of the typical driving maneuvers at normal highway speeds.
Benefits of all adults driving an RV
Knowing that either one of us can drive our rig makes RV life easier. We can extend our daily travel time, drive further, and arrive at the campground better rested, even after a full day on the road. How about you? Do both you and your travel buddy take turns driving the RV? Tell us in the comments below.