We’ve all experienced driving next to a distracted driver on the interstate. Speeding up and slowing down and swerving in and out of traffic lanes are signs of a distracted driver. It is a very dangerous habit not only for the distracted driver, but for everyone around them.
Let's look at the seven deadly sins of RV interstate driving so you can hit the road safely!
Not Maintaining a Safe Speed
Not only is speeding dangerous because of the high speeds, but it’s also not fuel-efficient. Motorized RVs can get anywhere from 6-20 MPG. Trucks pulling a camper can get anywhere from 6-15 MPG. When you start driving over 60 MPH, your fuel efficiency decreases even more.
However, the main concern with speeding is losing control of your 30,000-pound rig. You need more room to stop, like semi-trucks. You can’t swerve in and out of traffic while towing a 30-foot travel trailer. Maintain a safe speed of around 60 MPH and get to your destination safely.
Staying Out of the Left Lane
There are many advantages to staying in the far right lane while traveling on the interstate. First of all it’s where the slower traffic like your RV is expected to be, but it also allows you to see better behind you using the driver’s side mirror and if you have an emergency and need to pull over the shoulder is right there.
A time you might consider moving from the far right lane is when moving through larger cities that have many on and off freeway ramps with lots of merging traffic. It’s helpful to pick one of the left lanes and stay there to avoid constant merging with other vehicles.
Not Anticipating Other Drivers
When you drive a standard automobile, you should pay attention to what other drivers are doing. This is a general safety tip. When driving or towing an RV however, it is even more crucial. Other drivers aren’t looking out for you. They don’t understand that you can’t stop on a dime or change lanes quickly.
Another trick to anticipating the traffic slowing down is to keep an eye out far ahead and watch for brake lights. If you see brake lights, expect to be needing to hit the brakes soon yourself. Our job as RV drivers is to be constantly anticipating the traffic all around us so we can take action as soon as possible.
Truckers are generally the best and most experienced Interstate drivers out there. It pays for a heavy RV operator to observe what they do and incorporate it into your driving habits. It is handy in large cities to notice which lanes the bulk of the truck traffic is taking when navigating their way through. Having driven through many times, they usually know the best lane to be in for the safest and most efficient trip.
Forgetting to Watch Your Rear
Always take into account that there may be someone right behind you. Because of the length of an RV, the blind spots behind you can be fairly large and a car can be easily hidden. There are drivers out there that like to tailgate large vehicles. Many new RV’s are coming equipped with rear cameras which are great. If your rig does not have this feature, a simple fix is adding fisheye mirrors to your sideview mirrors to help see those blind spots
Not Planning Course Ahead of Time
There are some things you can’t control on a travel day. Sometimes there’s an accident, and you have to detour off the interstate. Even so, the more you plan, the better your travel day will be.
Look at your route and note any tight turns, low clearances, construction zones, etc. Prepare and plan accordingly. Plan rest stops, meal brakes, and fuel stops rather than having to look up the nearest RV-safe location while driving.
It is especially important to plan course when navigating through large metropolitan areas. Know what turns you need to make, what the exit numbers need to be taken and which lane is best to be in well before you arrive there. You don’t want to be cutting across several lanes trying to get off an exit.
Common threats on the road are pieces of tires from blowouts on big rigs, items that have fallen off of vehicles (chairs and mattresses), and construction debris. This is another reason it pays off to be anticipating and scanning far ahead on the road. Being aware can prevent flat tires and damage to your rig.
Smaller vehicles can easily swerve road-debris but RV drivers cannot. Leave enough room between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. Keeping space between you will give yourself enough time to maneuver if they start swerving. This is another good reason to travel in the right lane next to the shoulder because then you have somewhere to go if you must quickly avoid an object.
Why is Towing a Trailer and Driving an RV More Difficult?
Driving an RV or towing a rig calls for more responsibility than driving a standard automobile. When driving or towing a more extended, taller, and heavier vehicle, you must be more aware of your surroundings, go slower, and take breaks more often. Maneuvers cannot be as quickly and easily performed so it requires more attentive driving.
When you hit the road for your next adventure, avoid these seven deadly sins. Wherever your travels take you, get there safely.