Wednesday, November 30, 2022


Time to switch RV pilot/co-pilot? Maybe downsize RV?



Dear RV Shrink:rvshrink
My husband is blind in his right eye and has no depth perception. We have a new 40-foot motorhome and he always needs me in the front seat to watch the passenger side when changing lanes. Also he cannot park the thing without me giving him constant direction. He should have been a kamikaze pilot. He won’t stay in a campground unless they have a pull-thru site, he’s nervous as a turkey at Thanksgiving when we are city driving and he has a panic attack every time we have to weave into a gas pump island. He swears a blue streak when we have to merge and I just can’t take it anymore. Is this normal behavior or should I sign him up for truck driving school? It is creating a lot of tension. Please help. —Co-pilot in Columbus

Dear Columbus:
You have discovered a brave new world in travel. Have you thought about doing some of the driving yourself? Driving a large RV can be a challenge even for those without your husband’s vision handicap. He might not be cut out for his new piloting duties. He might just be co-pilot material.

Travel can be stressful if driving a big rig makes you feel uncomfortable. You have to think about your safety and those you share the road with. You are missing many great camping areas if you are eliminating those without pull-thru sites. Riding with your husband would make me nervous also. I have always said, “I want to die in my sleep like my grandpa, not like all the screaming people in the back seat of his car.”

There are some great motorhome driving courses available from various dealerships. If you or your husband cannot find a comfort level in handling your rig you should consider something smaller. Drive before you buy. Keep downsizing until you find your comfort zone. If you get down to a Harley with a sidecar and your husband is still nervous, you might want to consider condo living. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his new e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.


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5 years ago

Have you considered purchasing an electric trailer mover so he wouldn’t need to back the trailer in at the campground? I’ve only just heard of them myself and the only company I know of that makes them is Purple Line.

5 years ago
Reply to  RV Staff

Thanks, Diane. Your site may be where I saw it mentioned though the article you posted the link to is much more informative. We’re just beginning to look for our first RV, a fifth wheeler and backing into a narrow spot has been a major concern.

Love the RV site. Lots of great info and questions about things we haven’t considered before.

5 years ago

I have vision issues and even a class B can be a challenge. Slow down, let the impatient people get by you, even pull off if necessary, and BREATHE. Stop as often as you can to relax.

Shannon Jones
5 years ago

We have been full timing for 4 years and even though we each drive our 35′ class A, we are nervous and and hate gas stations. We pretty much stay on interstates as we have gotten into some real pickles especially with the toad that we have to unhitch in order to back up or maneuver. If the hitch is not straight, it is a nightmare to get off. We would really like to downsize but owe more on our class A than its worth. Now we wish we would have bought used! We don’t have enough savings to buy off the loan so now feel trapped! We’ve always had stellar credit but feel our only way out is to give up RVing and walk away from our loan. Any suggestions?

5 years ago
Reply to  Shannon Jones

If you are already full-timing, you can set your schedule and travel to minimize the amount of time you spend driving. Use truck stops for fueling, particularly if you have a diesel – there is a lot more room there. If you want to go somewhere away from the interstate, use a trucker’s atlas to plan the trip on larger roads, and when you are going to use narrower roads plan for a short drive ( an hour or less) and unhook the toad first, with one of you driving the motorhome and the other driving the toad. If you do have to unhook you should have a tool to release the locks on the tow bar to make it easier to unhitch. Finally, take one of the driving courses, and repeat until you are more comfortable.

Dan Nallon
5 years ago

I have driven for over 48 years blind in one eye. I have never had an issue with driving a class A motorhome, firetrucks, motorcycles, tractors, etc. The problem may be that he is not a good driver or just not comfortable driving a large vehicle.

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