RV Driving Safety, your responsibility doesn't end when you write the check.

Purchasing an RV is easy

It's so easy to do.

You decide that you want to get into camping or that you would like to travel the country in style, or as often happens, someone you know has an RV they want to sell and they contact you.

Regardless of ow it happens, you get the idea, the purchase of an RV is ridiculously easy.

And sad to say, once you decide to buy an RV, the initial requirements for anyone who has the urge to own one are;

  • do you have a checkbook, and
  • do you have a driver's license.

That's right, the guy living down your street or across town, you now, the one who has trouble pulling his car in and out of his own driveway, can simply write a check and bring home a thirty-five to forty foot, RV weighing as much as five to ten tons.

And guess what;

  • He didn't have to take any kind of special driving test.
  • He didn't have to show any certifications that he was mentally competent.
  • He didn't have to certify that he wasn't on medications that could impair his driving capabilities.
  • He didn't even have to read a book or pamphlet on driving an RV.

Most dealers are satisfied when they give the buyer a "test drive" around the block and then they hand the buyer the keys.

Looking down the road in a motorhome.

The driver's view of the Road in a motorhome.
The driver's view of the Road in a motorhome. | Source

Just a Checkbook? Really?

OK, that was a long lead in to the point of this article, but don't go away, I’m back on track now.

Like so many people today, I use my Smartphone for a lot of things, and one of them is to make a lot of audio notes to myself throughout the day, These notes help me keep up with my personal priorities and they are often inspirational ideas that I use in my articles on my web site and blogs.

Anyway, I was looking through my notes recently, and there was one I had to do a double-take over. I had said, simply; “If you can’t drive it, don’t buy it!”

It was morning time, so I took another sip of my coffee and wondered what I had been thinking about. I racked my brain for several minutes and nothing obvious came to mind.

Well I thought to myself, there was the world of RV’s. But I try to write positive articles about RV’s and RV owners. I tell people how to make their trips easier, and their stays in campgrounds more fun. I write positive articles, and I don’t try to discourage people from being RV owners.

But, I realized as I sat there, there really are some people who shouldn’t own an RV.

A Motorhome at a rest stop in Texas

My old Monaco Camelot sitting at a rest area on I-20 in Texas, with my Jeep Toad hooked up.
My old Monaco Camelot sitting at a rest area on I-20 in Texas, with my Jeep Toad hooked up. | Source

The best advice for a potential RV owner.

If you can't Drive it,

Don't buy it!

The RV and the Boat

The whole industry of RV's is not very different from the industry of Boating, as far as how easy it is to own one of either.

You see, although we had been campers from the time our children were in diapers, my wife and I actually got out of RVing for around ten years when our kids were in their teens.

Suddenly, camping wasn't cool to them, and we got into boating for our entertainment. Like everything we do, while we owned boats, we were avid boaters.

I won’t go into that part of my life other than to say there was an old adage thrown around then by serious boaters, and that was;

All you need to own a boat is a checkbook, a minimum IQ is optional in most states.

And, it was a true statement. I can’t tell you how many times I would be out in my boat, on a wonderful cruise going nowhere in particular and see really stupid people doing really stupid and dangerous things.

Often, these unknowing, and uncaring, boat owners were doing things that were a danger not only to themselves, but to everyone else on the water near them. I can’t tell you how many times I watched really stupid people running around on the water in an expensive boat, operating the boat at speeds and in areas that made them obviously untrained boat owners.

RV ownership demands some level of training

The reality is, in the world of RV ownership, this adage is also very true.

All you need to own an RV is a checkbook and a drivers license. In fact, you don’t even need a drivers license to own a boat in many states.

Take an RV Driver’s Course.

If you drive one of those big Tractor Trailer rigs on the highways of America, you must have been trained, and you must have a special driver’s license to indicate you are a qualified driver of such large and dangerous vehicles.

In fact, even a limousine driver needs to have a special license to operate one safely.

But, pretty much anyone can go out to the local RV dealer and purchase a motorhome that is nearly as big as those commercial tractor-trailer rigs. They can then write their check, get their receipt and hit the road without any real idea of what they are driving, what the dangers are, or what they should be doing to be a safe driver while on the road.

Actually, there are RV driving classes available around the country that are offered for new and inexperienced RV drivers.

Some of the larger RV dealerships will offer some kind of a driving class for their customers where you and your spouse can learn some of the intricacies of operating such a large vehicle.

In fact, most of them will even include an hour or so of hands-on driving with a professional sitting beside you, as you are taken through different common driving situations.

If you feel that you might be more comfortable if you had some formal RV driver training, i suggest that you search for one located near you or contact one of the schools I have listed here.

RV Driver's Confidence Course - Tampa Florida

FMCA RV Safe Driving Course

There are a number of local RV Driving Confidence schools, some just one day long, and others as long as 2-3 days. Each can be helpful in some way, I am sure, so I suggest that you get a good description of what they offer and their price, before you sign up.

Watch Driving Videos to learn more

Another thing that might be a big aid for you when driving your RV are online videos.

I recommend that you check out some of the very good driving videos that are available on YouTube. You can pick up a number of interesting tips and facts about driving an Rv from these videos, so they are worth your time.

In fact, I have included several of the better ones in this article. Check them out!

LazyDays new RV Drivers Confidence lessons

RV Driving Tips - Tail Swing and Side Swipe

More RV Driving Tips

© 2015 Don Bobbitt

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Comments 8 comments

Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 10 months ago from Rural Arizona

Don, you offer some great advice in this hub. We all see many drivers we feel should not even be allowed to drive a small car, and the thought of them driving a large RV is scary.

I wonder why States don't insist on requiring RV drivers to have a special endorsement on their license for RV's like they do for motorcycles?


Snowsprite profile image

Snowsprite 10 months ago from Cornwall, UK

I would love to own an RV or similar though not on our local roads which are tiny and winding. I think it is a good idea to take lessons, the one you pictured looks the size of a bus! I think in the UK we would probably have to for something that big anyway. I drove a motor caravan once for a month and really struggled with the hand brake etc as had to bend to one side to put it on.


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 10 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Old Poolman - I agree with what you say about states requiring a drivers license for RV owners. In every state I know of, I can own a motorhome that is up to 45-feet long and operate it with my regular automobile drivers license.

Once you get over 45-foot long, a few states do require a special license, and once you get over 50-feet long, you must have a chauffeur's license. These are the Big Rigs you see used by bands, and such people.

Thanks for the read and comment,

DON


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 10 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Snowsprite - I understand the road situation is different. I met a couple at a campground a few years ago, from England. They would come over here to a major RV dealership and purchase a new Class-C motorhome (which is more narrow than a Class-A) every year. They would take a month-long vacation here in the states and then they would ship the RV home. There they would vacation in Europe for a month and then bring the Rv back to their home and sell it. According to them, they always made a profit on the unit. They did this each year, as a way to pay for having a couple of luxury vacations.

Anyway, thanks for the rad and the comment.

DON


Snowsprite profile image

Snowsprite 10 months ago from Cornwall, UK

That's a good idea. Yes we really need narrower ones here, Cornwall having far more than it's fair share of tiny roads. Even a small motor home or caravan can struggle on our roads. There must be quite a bit of difference between the cost for them to be able to pay for shipping and tax and still make a profit. But it obviously worked for them. Not sure I'd cope with the steering on the other side though.


Rachel L Alba profile image

Rachel L Alba 10 months ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

Hi Don, I just wanted to look in on you and see what you and your wife are up to now. I'm glad I did. Yes, an RV and a Checkbook are two good things to have. I was wondering as long as you are in Texas if you ever heard of a town called Sweetwater? And what kind of town is it, if you did?

I wish you and yours have a Blessed Thanksgiving.


CorneliaMladenova profile image

CorneliaMladenova 10 months ago from Cork, Ireland

Awesome hub, Don. I myself can't drive but recommended it to my husband :)


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 10 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Rachel L. Alba - I have never been to Sweetwater, but I think it's another small Texas town with little about it that's exceptional. Which, in my book is kind of exceptional, and perhaps nice. But that's what's great about small towns, there can be wonderful places to live.

Thanks for the read and comment,

DON

PS. I copied your Cranberry Cake recipe. Might try it this week. Looks great.

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