Are you an RV owner or looking to become one? Do you travel with your RV on vacations only? Or do you drive one full time? I am hoping to become a full time RVer and have been diligently doing my research on what to expect, and how to handle different scenarios. One of the things I researched was rules of the road. There isn’t a whole lot of information, but, this post is my takeaway on groups I’m involved with and other reading that I’ve done.
There are road etiquette rules you should always abide by as an RV owner. We all know that left lanes are for passing traffic. People don’t always follow that general rule of the road, but, as an RV driver, your space is usually double, if not triple what the average driver takes up. RVs, plus a vehicle? You’re taking up about 16′ – 40′ of road space. And let’s face it. With that cargo? You really can’t ‘safely’ go past someone. Unless of course, they are doing 25 in a 55.
As someone who has never driven a truck, and plans to get an SUV to drive the RV around instead, (My RV will most likely be no longer than 21′) I know that I will be following these rules to the T!
Pick Your Lane Carefully: Typically, you want to stay in the right lane. People are going to be passing you. If you’re a left lane dweller, get out of that habit quick if you become an RV owner. It’s not safe for you to drive in the fast lane, and it’s not fair to the other drivers who are going faster.
If you’re on the highway and it has more than two lanes, being in the middle lane is good too. This allows the people coming onto the highway the chance to come on in the right lane safely and they can still pass you. If you’re on a back one lane road, and you notice a line up behind you? Be courteous and pull over when you can, let them pass and then get back on the road. That’s not really a rule if you’re going the speed limit. That’s just being nice :).
Watch Your Speed: You want to try and maintain the speed limit. But, in regions that have 70 MPH spots on their highway? Doing that speed in an RV is not safe or logical. One, you have a lot more volume to slow down. You are not able to stop on a dime with the weight you’re carrying. Two, you’re already spending a lot on gas. You don’t want to lower your gas mileage even more by going faster and dragging the weight behind you. You’ll be lucky to get 15 – 18 MPG, why take that down to 10 MPG?
The safest speed to go is generally 50 – 55. But, definitely less than 60 mph. On the highway, you may be going lower than the posted speed limit, but going any faster than that just isn’t safe when taking into account breaking when traffic suddenly slows down. Driving over a bridge on a windy day? That’s hazardous enough in a car. I suggest getting a feel for your cargo and what you feel comfortable with.
Watch Your Distance: The car in front of you now has limited vision of what’s behind him. As a result, driving too close, you will make them nervous because that limited vision just became no vision, as your vehicle is taking up their entire rear view mirror. Plus, if you have to stop quickly? You just took out their back end. Because stopping quickly and RVs probably do not go in the same sentence. I would suggest keeping at minimum, one and a half car lengths between you and the car in front of you. Preferably, two to three car lengths.
Parking: When stopping for meals, and / or stopping at an attraction site, you want to be courteous and park well away from the entrance of the building. You’re going to be taking up more than two or three spots. More like 6 – 9 spots! And hey, there’s your exercise :). Best spots may be against the far curb, or in larger parking lots, in the back corners where there are no cars, or join your other friends where they’ve parked. Giving Kudos to my friends Karen & Drew in the picture below on the day they got theirs.
What other tips would you suggest for road etiquette? Have you seen another RV owner not following these tips?