Driving Your RV for the First Time

Driving Your RV for the Very First Time

rv driving

It's always best to get in some practice before driving your RV for the first time. You will be nervous and have a lot of things to think about. It can be disconcerting at first if you're not expecting it. But, just like driving anything else - once you get the hang of it, it's no problem.

No matter how long it has been since you drove your rv, you should make sure that you have a calm and safe environment. If possible, find a large parking lot or open area to get used to driving your rv before you head off on the highway. Make sure that there aren't any obstacles behind or next to you, because if something goes wrong when learning how to drive an rv for the first time, it's best not to risk causing damage or injury by hitting anything. Park in a spot where there is plenty of room in front of the rv so if something does happen while backing up, it won't cause any accidents with other vehicles.

You want to get it right from the start, or else you might find yourself stuck somewhere with no idea how to get out of it! You've probably seen videos on youtube where someone gets stuck backing up into a campsite. What do they do? They try again and again until they find success, or end up giving up entirely. If you don't use good common sense and caution when driving your rv for the first time, you might end up in a similar situation.

The Experience of Many

Most new drivers have limited knowledge about how to actually drive an rv . It's not like a typical car, and things operate very differently. First timers often feel nervous while behind the wheel of their rv for the first time.

Some Tips For You

Follow all or some of these tips to get ready for your first time driving your rv.

  1. Watch instructional videos ahead of time
  2. If you haven't driven an rv much prior to your next weekend trip, you're going to need a lot of practice before you hit the road. If you don't have much experience driving, take some time out of your schedule this week to watch instructional videos on how to operate the cruise control or work the brakes. This way, when it comes time for your first try behind the wheel, you'll feel comfortable and prepared. You can always run through them again just to make sure that you have everything figured out ahead of time.

  3. Always remember a walk around
  4. Please remember to do a full walk around of your RV before you start driving. This will ensure that all your lights are working before you hit the road. You will be surprised at how many RVs leave their headlights on over night.

    If you are parking your RV in a crowded lot, check your mirrors frequently to ensure that no one is coming up from behind or pulling into the space beside yours, we don't want anyone getting too close.

    Make sure you have all of the proper lights and signals working before taking off down the road. The last thing you want to do is run into a police officer because you flip on your turn signal and they're not working. While it may seem like a simple mistake, forgetting these things can actually lead to some hefty fines if there is an accident or traffic violation.

  5. Only pack the essential
  6. You never want to pack too many items for your first drive. A spacious and versatile vehicle is ideal for beginners as it makes things easier to find and reach. Get a feel of the interior before you start moving, especially if you have children.

    You should pack only what you need and leave some space for your first drive. You can decide to add more things or remove unnecessary stuff as you learn the ropes of driving an RV. If there is too much stuff, it will be difficult to navigate, especially for beginners who are still getting the feel of the mechanism.

  7. Tools
  8. Pack rv tools in case something breaks while traveling, since most you'll be in remote places where it may take longer to get help. In addition, you should have a toolbox with wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers and flashlights. It's also highly recommended that you replace your spare tire at regular intervals as well s check the air pressure of all tires periodically.

Tips while you're driving

These are tips you should follow while you go rv driving.

  • Rv Driving at Night
  • If you want to drive your rv after dark, make sure that it has a good set of headlights installed. If not, have them installed immediately before heading out late at night or early in the morning. Even though some rvs already have amazing sets of headlights installed during manufacture, there are also those that don't so this is one important step to get your vehicle ready for nights on the road ahead. Also make sure that your rv is also well-lit from the inside, especially once it's already dark outside. This way, other drivers won't have problems seeing your rig even if they're driving straight toward you or behind you on the road.

  • Dry Roads
  • It's more beneficial for you as a driver if the roads are dry whenever you take your rv out. Wet roads are not the best for first-time rv drivers because your vehicle may be unstable especially if you're driving on mountain roads. Some rvs aren't suited for such terrains and highways which is the reason why many people end up getting into car accidents whenever they're driving them in weather that aren't really suitable for motor vehicles.

  • Stay in the right lane
  • Staying in the right lane will allow you to use the left lane for passing. The right lane also allows you to drive at a regular speed without needing to move out of anyones way. You can just drive the speed limit all the way to your destination.

    Never drive in high winds, there are certain prescribed speed limits for good reasons and not driving below them will save you from risking blowing over or landing in a ditch in case of an accident if it happens to rain while you're on the road.

    Always remember that going too fast for your RV is dangerous because some can't easily be driven at highway speeds since they aren't built with this kind of travel in mind and can easily tip over. Always check your vehicle's specifications to make sure that it is capable of handling the speeds you want to drive at.

    Be sure to take time out of your journey to get a feel for how your vehicle handles and what might cause it to slide off the road so that you can avoid these accidents altogether.

  • Comfort for everyone
  • For long drives with your RV, it is a good idea to make sure that everyone is comfortable. Have the kids bring snacks or drinks for themselves, choose music carefully so you don't end up driving in silence or playing un-fun songs too many times (there's nothing worse than being forced to listen to Justin Bieber on loop), get some extra pillows to put around the chairs if they slide when people sit on them, etc. If you are going to have passengers in your vehicle for more than an hour or two at a time regularly , then investing in some travel pillows can be very useful so they can sleep while traveling.

    For you to drive your rv comfortably, make sure that you do not have any pressure applied to your body while driving. This is important because it will cause you to become very uncomfortable in driver's fatigue which is one of the most common ways for deadly car accidents to occur. Make sure you're sitting on a chair or seat that's easy to adjust and allows you to change positions whenever necessary without causing any strain on your body.

  • Check your mirrors
  • Make sure both sides are clear, left and right, before moving forward as one of the most important things in how to drive an rv for the first time is to check all of your mirrors. Outfit your rig with blind spot mirrors, which help you see past your rv, onto the road behind to make sure there is nothing in your way when it comes time to move forward or change lanes.

    This will ensure that when you are driving off, you have a blind spot mirror on each side of the rig so that you can check for traffic before moving into another lane or pulling out from a stop sign or light. If you don't have any, consider investing in them as they can be purchased cheaply and some even fold up so that you can safely tuck them away when not in use.

  • Don't go too fast!
  • Even though this is something that we all want to do with our new toy, get out there and drive like nobody's business. When you are driving your RV for the first time, it is best to take it easy and be aware of how your rig handles at different speeds.

    You should also avoid aggressive acceleration/deceleration as well as heavy braking on the first trip out in your new RV. This will give you a chance to get used to those movements that can sometimes have adverse effects on handling.

    Rvs handle way different than regular cars under acceleration and deceleration, as well as braking , you have to get used to it.

  • Watch for over-corrections of the steering wheel
  • Large RVs can be a bit cumbersome and difficult to maneuver at times, and one of the best ways that you can avoid hazards while driving your RV for the first time is by being aware of any over-correction in your steering area. When you are turning or taking an abrupt turn, pay close attention to how much you have turned the wheel. The last thing that you want is to find yourself going in the opposite direction because of an over-correction on your part. This is something that takes practice, but should not be a cause for worry.

  • UV Rays
  • If you are going to be spending time in the southern part of the United States, remember to cover all areas of exposed skin, especially during summer months . The UV rays in these areas can cause serious damage without proper protection. Get the right Sunscreen, wear loose and light clothing, and and you should be fine.

  • Bathroom breaks
  • If you plan on leaving the campground regularly, there may be a lot of stops, so plan out your children's bathroom breaks before you do any long driving. The same goes for food and drink. If you know that your kids are hungry or thirsty after an hour of driving, they will probably feel the same way before that time is up as well. It can make things very uncomfortable if everyone is starving or thirsty while on the road (another reason to bring snacks with you).

  • Tire pressure
  • It is vital that you check the air in your tires regularly while traveling with an RV. Keep an eye on your tire pressure when unloading and loading your vehicle . While driving at 50 miles per hour , each tire will lose one pound of pressure per square inch for every 10 degrees of outside temperature, so keeping a sharp eye out for any problems is crucial.

  • Engine
  • It's very important that your engine oil be maintained for optimum performance during long trips with your RV. Change it once every two months if you plan on going camping twice a year. If you travel a lot, you should change your engine oil every month to keep it from turning black and becoming thick.

  • RVs and traffic
  • Avoid driving in traffic during rush hours because the rush hours are usually the worst times to drive an rv since there are more cars on the road that can get easily distracted when trying to maneuver around them. The best time to go along with traffic is during off-peak season which will have fewer vehicles on the road. This way it won't be very difficult for you to navigate through them, especially if they're small passenger vehicles or motorcycles that you can easily pass by without having any injury accidents occur.

  • Shortcuts are not always great
  • Avoid all shortcuts because the roadways are very strict when it comes to rules about overhanging parts of vehicles, especially if they are large ones like RVs that can be easily damaged by other smaller vehicles when passing by each other. If you're still itching to take shortcuts, then do so in areas where there are no cars around or at least during off-peak season.

    You also do not want to take any shortcuts that might get your rv stuck. This would not only ruin your day, but will also make you look like a fool when other drivers pass by and witness your horrible driving.

  • Watch out for large trucks in the oncoming lane
  • The highway can sometimes get a bit cramped with two lanes and a lot of large vehicles, so do not let your guard down when you drive near these big rigs. They are very difficult to maneuver around if you need to swerve into another lane or move out of their way quickly.

  • Watch your gas gauge
  • Driving your RV will make you aware of how much gas it uses, but that is also because driving RVs use a lot more gas than cars. When traveling, be sure to plan where you will be getting more gas before you run out. You will need to make it a point to get gas when you are low, and also fill up before you start on any long trips.

  • Take curves and hills slowly
  • Your RV will have a length of about 42 feet on the large end, which is longer than most other regular vehicles on the road today. This means that it will take longer to make turns. Be especially careful if you are planning to make any tight turns, like those in small parking lots or when turning onto side streets. You may hit someone else's vehicle if you are not careful with your sharp turning time.

    To prevent this from happening, slow down while going through areas where there will be sharp turns instead of braking too hard at the last minute. If you will be traveling up or down large hills, plan ahead.

  • Keep control over what's happening inside your RV at all times
  • It is important to be seated while driving, so as to be able to react quickly in an emergency. Remember the feeling of being dizzy from standing up too fast after sitting or lying down for a long time? The same thing can happen when you are trying to drive in your RV while not seated properly.


Automobile accidents are very common on the road, especially when you're driving an RV for the first time. Be sure to take time out of your journey to get a feel for how your vehicle handles and what might cause it to slide off the road so that you can avoid these accidents altogether.

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About Author:

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Hi, I'm Kevin Pommells, a lover of camping and the great outdoors as everyone says nowadays. I'm also a passionate soccer fan and the proud owner of CamperRules.com, a website dedicated to helping campers and outdoor enthusiasts make the most of their adventures. With years of experience exploring the wilderness and a deep love for the sport of soccer, I'm always looking for new ways to combine my two passions and share my knowledge with others. Follow me for tips, tricks, and insights on all things camping and outdoor recreation.

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