Good planning before a holiday in an RV will help make it memorable... for all the right reasons
IF YOU’RE LOOKING for a fun way to explore the country, travelling in an RV (recreational vehicle) is the way to go. In a sense, you get to take your dwelling with you, but you can stop anywhere along the way.
Before you hit the open road, however, it’s a good idea to make a few preparations. Driving an RV is different from driving most other vehicles, and being aware of those differences can make your journey safer and more enjoyable. Here are some things to keep in mind before you cruise into the sunset.
HAVE THE RV SERVICED AND INSPECTED
No matter what kind of vehicle you’re driving, you need to make sure it is roadworthy before you pull out of your driveway. If you are renting an RV, always insist on a pretrip service and full inspection. Once the RV gets a clean bill of health,
you can pack it up and hit the road with confidence. The last thing you want is to have your long-anticipated road trip come to a premature end because of a preventable maintenance issue.
PRACTISE DRIVING THE RV BEFORE YOU HIT THE ROAD
Chances are you won’t have a lot of problems driving a motorhome on the highway, but navigating smaller city streets in such a large vehicle can be a real challenge. Put in plenty of driving practice before you leave home and learn how to use all of your mirrors to determine your position and reverse the vehicle safely.
CONSIDER INSTALLING A REVERSING CAMERA
If your RV doesn’t already have one, consider installing a reversing camera. It’s a handy accessory that will make backing into tight parking spaces a lot easier and give you additional peace of mind. Alternatively, if you’re travelling with passengers, you can always ask them to check behind the vehicle before you reverse.
BE AWARE OF HANDLING DIFFERENCES
Driving an RV is different from driving a car or even a large ute, for that matter. The higher centre of gravity means you need to take turns wider, and the large size of the RV means you’ll need a bigger turning radius. Again, practising ahead of time can help you get used to handling the large vehicle.
You will also need to be cognisant of the wind speed as you drive. When the winds get strong, it could cause the RV to drift unexpectedly. Take a tighter grip on the wheel when it’s windy and give other drivers more space.
CONSIDER FORMING AN RV CARAVAN
Chances are you’ll meet other RV drivers on your road trip, particularly if you’re travelling a popular route. If you are all heading in the same direction, consider teaming up with them. Arrange to meet at campgrounds, attractions and restaurants or even form an RV caravan. Travelling with other RVs is fun, and can enhance your sense of safety: a convoy of RVs will be easier for other drivers to spot.
Adjust the mirrors for an optimum view of what is beside and behind the RV