Dear car/pickup/motorcycle/SUV drivers,
I’ve been among your number for a decade and a half, so I get it.
In the last 15 months, I’ve added to my driving resume a long bed dually pickup truck with a 36′ 5th wheel attached, and a 32′ Class A motorhome that drives more like a boat than a car.
I now have a lot more awareness and sympathy for RV and truck drivers than I did before. “Nimble” isn’t a word to describe their beastly vehicles.
There are a few things you ought to know when you’re driving around them.
1. We are slow to stop.
So when you merge lanes right in front of us, you are in serious danger of getting run over. Look in your rear view mirror before you merge. Is our entire vehicle visible in the mirror? If it’s not, you might still be too close.
Bottom line: don’t cut us off! We might not be able to help but hit you!
2. We go sloooooowly, particularly uphill.
Don’t get frustrated if the road doesn’t allow you to pass just yet. We know you want to get around us. Trust us – we will get out of the way as soon as we can. We don’t particularly enjoy having an impatient driver behind us, either, so please don’t endanger yourself or others.
3. Caution: Big Butts (Wide Turns)
So that whole nosing-up-at-the-intersection thing when we are trying to turn onto your street is a recipe for everyone being frustrated at best, and a call to the insurance company at worst.
4. Gas station etiquette 101
It’s tough for us to wedge ourselves into the center lanes, so please try to leave the outside pumps open. And for goodness’ sake, don’t just leave your car parked there while you go inside for a hot dog and a Slurpee.
Also, be mindful of the fact that we often use diesel. So if you use gas, and there are gas-only pumps available, please do us a HUGE favor and avoid taking up the gas/diesel combo pumps.
5. In which we can’t see around our own fat gasses
When entering a highway, don’t expect us to get out of your way or speed up/slow down to accommodate your entrance. We wouldn’t expect that of you either.
See, we literally have no idea what’s coming up in the left lane behind us if the road is curving to the right. Unless we have a backup camera, we legitimately can’t change lanes to get out of your way.
Other times, there’s someone already beside us, and we can’t speed up or slow down fast enough. Or our tires can’t handle any more pedal-to-the-metal.
So of course we will try to get out of your way when we can, but sometimes it just ain’t gonna happen.
6. Move along
Most of us can only travel at a maximum of 55-65 mph, so please be patient with us.
But at the same time, we want you to pass us. If you’re driving behind us and can’t see our side mirrors, we might have no idea that you’re even there. So don’t be shy, gun it and get around us when you have a chance.
7. Get out the way!
If you have to pull off the road onto the shoulder, please move as far from the passing traffic as possible. We are wider than the average vehicle and more paranoid than the average driver, and we really want you to stay safe.
8. Save the Big Spots for Us
When you pull into a parking lot or a gas station that has large, RV or truck-sized parking spots, please don’t use them. Instead, use the regular car-sized ones. You can fit in our spots, but we can’t fit in yours!
9. Stay In Our Sights
We have pretty serious blind spots. Look up a diagram of RV or 18-wheeler blind spots some time. Keep that in mind when you’re cruising beside or behind us.
Stay Cool and Safe!
These guidelines are for your own safety and our peace of mind. After all, we weigh TENS OF THOUSANDS OF POUNDS, so if a vehicle fight breaks out, it won’t turn out well for anyone (but especially not for you). Instead, let’s all enjoy the road together.
Any other tips for drivers you’d like to add? Or any feedback car drivers would like to offer to RVers?
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