Get Out of Tight Spots
You need to learn the exact space your RV will require for several driving maneuvers since you are likely driving a rig larger than anything in your past. Even if you drove a truck (semi-tractor/trailer), that vehicle was hinged—up near the front—but your motorhome is not. School bus (or other bus) driver training is the only help directly applicable to motorhome driving. Learning to maneuver and manipulate your motorhome is easy and fun to do. You will need four things to learn this maneuver…
- your co-pilot
- your RV
- your motorhome parked anywhere with nothing in front of it—in a campground is fine
- about 10 minutes
Do this easy exercise and you will know more about your coach than you thought possible and be a much better, safer driver!
Find Your Front Blind Spot
There is a blind spot—an area in the front of all vehicles—where it is physically impossible to see while sitting in the driver’s seat. The term “blind spot” is somewhat misleading but is commonly used to denote those areas around any vehicle where the driver cannot see. The front area where the driver cannot see (looking out the windshield) is definitely not a “spot” but is actually a measured distance—some specific length stretching out in front of the vehicle. This area increases with the size of the vehicle. It is most prevalent in Class A motorhomes where this blind spot can be large enough to hide several kids, numerous grocery carts, or even a small car!
It’s extremely easy to accurately measure your front blind spot on any vehicle and you can do this exercise on your motorhome in about 10 minutes while parked in your campsite. I recommend you use a 2-way radio or cell phone for this exercise. Each driver’s height, the shape of the dash, and seat position all influence the actual size of the blind spot so go through this exercise with both drivers especially if you are different heights. Try this…
- One of you must set in the driver’s seat. Adjust the seat and sit normally—no leaning or stretching. Place your hands on the steering wheel and sit just like you are driving.
- The co-pilot should be standing outside, in front of the coach, and facing the coach.
- Staying seated in the driving position, the driver should look through the lowest part of the windshield—just above the dash—so you can see the copilot’s legs. Then, talk to them on the radio or cell phone and have them shuffle backward or forward slowly until you can just see their toes—then tell them to stop. Remember, your line of sight should be as low as possible—just above the dash.
- The driver should go outside, mark where their toes are and measure from the front of the coach to the mark—measure from their toes to the nose of the coach.
Your Blind Spot
This measured area is your blind spot. Sitting in the driver seat, normally, you cannot see anything in your blind spot area from the front of the coach to the marked spot. RVers are often amazed at the size of this area.
Knowing this, always walk around your coach to physically check this blind area before you move the coach whether you overnighted in a campground or a Walmart. Granted, you can see most of the blind spot if you stand up and lean forward so your head is touching the inside of the windshield but even then, you cannot see it all.
Be a good RVer and don’t run over anything today.