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Tips for first-time RV drivers

Whether it’s the welcoming weather or the chance to follow a favorite football team or, of course, the awe-inspiring scenery, summer compels many people to hit the open road. A car or truck might suffice for a day trip or weekend getaway, but those who want to travel more extensively often do so in an RV.

Recreational vehicles, or RVs, provide a taste of home away from home for millions of people every year. RVs allow people to visit even the most remote locations without having to worry about finding food or lodging. As welcoming as the interior of an RV can be, it’s also easy for first-time RV drivers to feel a little intimidated. RVs are the largest vehicles many people will ever operate, and even long-time drivers will likely need some time to adjust. That adjustment period can go smoothly if drivers take steps to grow more comfortable behind the wheel before embarking on their trips.

Recognize that practice makes perfect. A cross country RV trip is a dream vacation for many people, but drivers must learn to crawl before they can walk. RVs are much bigger and heavier than cars and trucks, and practice runs can help drivers grow acclimated to the size. Don’t begin a practice run without first noting the class and height of the vehicle. The online camper resource Camper Report notes that Class C RVs average 10 feet in height, while Class A RVs are typically between 13 and 14 feet tall. Measure the height of your RV prior to your first practice run so you can be sure you can make it beneath all overpasses on your route.

Take a companion along. Drivers behind the wheel of a car or truck may not give a second thought to driving in reverse or navigating their way around parking lots. But such situations require some forethought, and even a little help, when driving an RV for the first time. A traveling companion can direct drivers into and out of parking spots until they grow more acclimated to operating an RV.

Utilize leveling blocks. RV leveling blocks help RVs stay level when parked on sloped surfaces. The RV experts at note that RVs need to be level in order for equipment to work properly. That’s problematic if you park at a campsite with uneven ground. Even if equipment is functional when parked on marginally sloped surfaces, navigating your way through an RV parked on such ground is inconvenient if not annoying. Leveling blocks also can keep jacks from sinking into soft ground, making them an inexpensive yet useful accessory for any RV trip.

Practice dumping your tanks. Drivers whose RVs have toilets will eventually need to dump their waste. Drivers should practice this in advance of their first trip so they are practiced when the time comes to do it on the road. Tutorials on YouTube can teach drivers how to dump their tanks. Drivers also can invest in a highly rated, thick sewer hose to avoid being sprayed with waste while out on the road.

RV travel is a great way to experience the open road. First-time RV drivers can try various strategies to get used to what it’s like to be behind the wheel of these unique vehicles.

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