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9 Things We Wish All Other Drivers Knew About RVs

On the road, most other drivers see us RVers as slow-moving vehicles that they don’t want to get stuck behind. This often makes them think they need to get in front of us, one way or another. This can result in dangerous situations for all involved.

Whether they’re cutting in, crowding, or passing dangerously, they have no idea how lucky they are that we are always on the lookout for their ignorance.

Wouldn’t it be a lot easier if other people knew what it was like to drive an RV? We think so. So here are 9 things we wish we could tell the folks driving all around us.

tom driving a class b rv

1. We Need More Room and Time to Maneuver

RVs are bigger in every way. We’re longer, taller, wider, and heavier than most other vehicles on the road. This means we need more space – for EVERYTHING.

We need more space for changing lanes, turning, avoiding something in our lane, parking, and more.

Because of this, we are double- and triple-checking our mirrors, cameras, and blindspots. This takes more time, and it doesn’t mean you should “zip by” or “squeeze in.” Every time you do you give us a small heart attack.

So, please don’t crowd us. Thanks!

2. We Require More Stopping Distance Than You Think

Thanks to the second law of motion, objects with more mass require more force and time to slow down and stop than smaller objects.

This means we MUST maintain a larger following distance to the car in front of us. This is not an invitation to cut in line in construction, cross over to your ramp after you pass us, or pull out in front of us.

This also means our RV physically cannot stop in time if you pull in front of us without completely slamming on the brakes. Slamming on the brakes rearranges all the items in our cabinets so they later fall on us when we get to our camping spot. It’s annoying.

Finaly, if you pass us, please get a good distance in front of us before merging over.

line of cars driving behind a truck camper rv
Even visually smaller RVs drive slower due to their overall weight.

3. Our Blind Spots Are Bigger

We have significantly larger blind spots in our RVs that you do in your car. If you can’t see our mirrors, we probably can’t see you.

Towable trailer RVs have even more blind spots because of how the trailer follows the truck on curves.

Even if there is a backup camera on the back of the RV, these often don’t work unless we’re in reverse.

Please stay visible by avoiding:

  • Directly behind us (drafting is really annoying)
  • Alongside the trailer
  • Alongside the driver/passenger sides

3. We Need More Space to Turn, Especially Right-Hand Turns

Since RVs typically have more distance between the front steer axle and the rear-most axle, the rear tires run in a completely different path than the front tires. This is called rear tire off-tracking.

Overall, this means that we need more room when we make turns.

  • As we turn left, the rear of the RV will move further left than the front.
  • As we turn right, the rear of the RV will move further right than the front. Since this is usually the tighter turn, the result is more pronounced.

So please don’t get up tight on our inside at turns and intersections – we literally won’t be able to go without hitting you. And if you pull up into a blind spot or an unexpected spot, we might go before we realize you’re there.

motorhome driving through an intersection
Some intersections are smaller than others and are harder for RVs to maneuver through.

Pro Tip: Does driving an RV sound hard? Learn how to make it seem less overwhelming.

4. There Is This Thing Called Tail Swing

In addition to rear tire off-tracking, our rear end extends much further back than the tires. This means our “tail” will swing out wide opposite of the direction we’re turning.

Please don’t run up on our outside when we’re making a turn. You might get pinched or grazed.

5. Passing Us Can Be Tricky

We get it – we’re going slow. You have places to be. However, patience and visibility are key when passing us.

We’re big and we block a lot of your visibility down the road. So, you have to be extra diligent, especially in curvy or hilly areas.

Here are some tips on passing an RV:

  • Wait for a passing lane – Most ideal.
  • Wait for a passing zone – This is basic but crucial. We’ve had so many people pass us outside of passing zones and almost cause an accident.
  • Wait for us to pull off – Most of us don’t want a line of cars behind us. If it is safe to pull off, we usually will!
  • Wait for an uphill – We’ll be slowing down anyway, so it’ll be a quicker overtake.
  • Don’t pass on a downhill – We usually speed up going downhill due to gravity, it’ll take longer to get around us.
SUV passing an RV
Please wait for a passing zone to pass an RV safely.

6. We Can’t Speed Up Quickly

Second law of motion again, folks!

We can’t speed up quickly, especially from a stop and on inclines. It’s really rough when it’s both.

We know this can be frustrating, and make you really want to just blow around us. Please have some patience and wait until it is safe to do so, as we discussed in #5.

We’re not trying to tick you off. Sometimes our only option is to rely on the brakes of others in order to get out into traffic.

Ever wondered? What if you’re caught speeding in an RV? Are the speeding tickets more expensive?

7. Windy Days Are a Bigger Deal for Us

Driving an RV is like driving a moving billboard down the road. When its windy, anything over 8-10mph, we are getting pushed all over the place. That’s one of the reasons wind is our least favorite RV weather.

If you see an RV swerving in their lane, check the trees and grass. You may not even notice the wind in an aerodynamic passenger car!

On windy days, RVs will probably be going slower and we will also appreciate more space than usual. We’re doing our best to stay in our lane and stay safe, and appreciate you helping us out.

8. We Aren’t Ignoring Lane Courtesy

We often drive our RVs in the middle or left lanes on the freeway when driving through more populated areas. This isn’t just for fun, it’s a necessity for smoothing traffic and safe driving.

  1. Because it takes us longer to stop, go, and maneuver, we need to avoid the frequent merging and exiting of other vehicles on the right.
  2. Pot holes are much more difficult to avoid
  3. Uneven cement can create “whoops” or a rocking frequency in an RV that can create dangerous driving conditions.
  4. Rough roads can be really loud in an RV. Cabinets can shake, dishes can rattle, and things may literally start coming apart. It can all get overly stressful. Finding a smooth lane is imperative to reducing damage and panic attacks.

“But that road wasn’t bad!” – Trust us, it’s different for every RV. Some roads that are fine in our motorhome were terrible with our 5th wheel and vice versa. It all depends on the suspension, the distance between wheels, the time of year, and more.

9. We Appreciate Your Patience and Courtesy

On behalf of all RVers everywhere, we say thank you to anyone who has ever:

  • Patiently waited behind an RV for a safe passing zone
  • Decided not to pull out in front of an RV, despite getting stuck behind them for a few miles afterward
  • Slowed down to let an RV merge
  • Stopped further back from an intersection to give the RV more room to maneuver
  • Honked a thank you when an RV pulled off the road to let you and other cars go by

Driving an RV can be an intimidating and energy-draining activity. While most of us RV drivers are doing our very best to watch everything, we appreciate your help in keeping everyone safe around us!

Did we miss any driving behaviors you’d like to talk about? Leave us a comment below!

Are Big Bus Motorhomes Nice To Drive? It Depends...

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About Tom and Caitlin Morton

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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