Having a Class A Motorhome is very convenient for those who love to travel and go on road trips. However, driving a big vehicle like this can be intimidating, especially for beginners. Here are some tips to help you excel at driving your Class A Motorhome!
Learn How to Use the Air Brakes Properly
Most Class A Motorhomes use air brakes, which are different from your traditional brakes in regular cars. Knowing how to use them is important. It’s important to know it takes longer for the brakes to be applied. It can sometimes take half a second to a second for the airbrake to be applied, so be aware of this when driving! Air brakes are also prone to leaks so make sure you always have enough air pressure in them!
Drive a Bit Slower Than Everyone Else
With large vehicles such as the Class A Motorhome, it takes longer for you to stop. If you drive slower than you would in a regular car, you will give yourself time to brake in case of a sudden stop in traffic. Keep an eye out for special speed limits for large vehicles as well. Some places have designated speed limits for larger vehicles that are strictly enforced!
Keep a Safe Following Distance
Since these motorhomes take longer to stop, keeping a proper following distance will help keep you and other drivers safe on the road. Keeping about a four second following distance and any additional seconds for speeds above 40 mph is a safe distance. To determine how far you are in seconds, wait until the vehicle ahead of you passes something such as a pavement marking or landmark. Then once they pass it, count “one thousand and one, one thousand and two” and so on until you reach the same spot. If you are under four seconds, slow down a bit until you reach the safe following distance.
Be Aware of Weather Conditions
Driving a Class A Motorhome in certain conditions is much more dangerous compared to other vehicles. When winds are high, Class A Motorhomes are much more difficult to handle. High winds, especially strong crosswinds, can make handling your motorhome much more difficult, so if there are strong winds, it may be better to stay off the road. If there is a snowstorm coming in, then you should not drive at all. Class A Motorhomes are very difficult to drive in snowy and icy conditions, even for the most experienced drivers.
Be Extra Careful When Making Right Turns
Bigger vehicles like your Class A Motorhome take a more inward track than your front tires when making turns. On right turns, make sure you are aware of this as these turns are much tighter. Try and keep a wide enough angle where you know you won’t cut any corners too close! Additionally, be aware of your surroundings when making turns, including an awareness of other nearby drivers. Be sure that no cars are trying to zip past you as you make your turn.
Safe Driving in the Mountains
For those with Class A Motorhomes, your trips may take you through the mountains. Mountains are much more difficult to drive in than other locations due to the sheer size of your vehicle. Thus, it is important to know a couple of things when driving in the mountains.
Always Brake Before Turns
Big vehicles are more vulnerable to rolling over, so braking before turns is a must. On turns, there are usually suggested speed limits. If driving your Class A Motorhome, enter the corner 10mph below that speed and as you enter the turn, you want to be off the brakes and even accelerating a bit through the last half or third of the turn if possible. This will allow your motorhome to become more stable on the turn as you shift the weight and center of gravity of the vehicle.
Brake Properly When Going Downhill
Going downhill in your motorhome will require you to use your brakes to keep control of handling and speed. It’s important to know that you can overheat your brakes if you do it too much, so use this special technique to keep that from happening.
Choose a safe speed when going downhill. Say your safe speed is 40mph, you’d want to apply the brakes until your motorhome reached 30mph. Release the brake pedal and then allow your vehicle to get up to 50mph. At that speed, you’d want to apply the brakes until you get back down to 30mph. Keep repeating until you are off of the downhill.
This technique will allow time for your brakes to cool down, while also keeping a safe downhill speed. This is a great technique that is used by commercial truck drivers.
If you haven’t bought a Class A Motorhome and are just researching, check out Bretz RV and Marine! At Bretz RV and Marine, we offer new and pre-owned RVs and motorhomes! With RV specials and service available as well, Bretz RV and Marine can offer you everything you need when looking for an RV. For more information, check out our website or contact us at 833-273-8978.