kaelalynn

How Do You Know You Are Clear To Pull In After Passing?

42 posts in this topic

This week I should have my car hooked to our motorhome, and this will my first time at towing a dingy. I've towed trailers a bunch of time, but there is a big difference. I've never had a problem seeing the trailer, but the dingy will not be visible in the rear view (or will end of be visible?). Are there any tips or practices that help judge the distance as to when it is okay to pull over after passing?

Our MH is a 40' DP

Thanks,

Chuck

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If your 40' DP is typical, it will have a rear camera. Thats what I use along with the side view mirror. Personally, I think its much easier to judge distance/clearance with the dinghy than pulling a 20' trailer.

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Chuck, as Jim said use your rear view camera (aka backup camera).When I am passing another vehicle I see it in the monitor. When it goes out of view behind my toad I will then turn on my turn signal and then begin moving back out of the passing lane. It is just one of those things that you will learn how is best for you and it will then become second nature.

Good luck and happy towing.

Herman

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I think knowing when it is safe to change lanes will come with experience. Personally I don't like to use the camera as it adds just one more thing to watch (almost like distracted driving). To each his own.

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my camera is on. when towing the vw beetle, I can't feel it behind the coach, but I can see it in the monitor

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Thanks for all the replies! Seeing all the dinghies on the road, I know it's got to be possible with some degree of safety. One of my problems is the camera seems to be hit and miss, and the few times I've driven the MH I haven't yet figured out if it's a button problem or sometime else like beginner stupidity on my part. I'm concerned that the mirrors might not give me idea of just how many feet of space I have after passing if I can't see any part of the dinghy. In crowded traffic that could be a real problem when a change lane is needed in a hurry.

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I also have my camera view on whenever my coach is started. One of the first things I do is to activate the camera. I guess just over compensating the distance is the best policy until you learn from experience what the clear opening looks like in the mirror. I can see in my mirror when I clear the passed vehicle. At that point I usually give a little more space, then signal my intention and wait a while to ensure that intention will warn the passed vehicle, then slowly change to the lane.

Don't put your turn signal on until you are actually ready to change lanes as the camera view changes and I do not believe the side view is as easy to see if there is space to make the move.

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We're rushing to get work done on the "BC" (BC= Big Car; we call it that because that's how we think our dogs think of it ;-) because we will start being full-time half timers at the end of this month, if our home clears escrow. I've been driving it every few days now to have work done on it and to load it. I've noticed the camera does come on, just very slow to come into focus. I think it using it as a supplement to the mirrors and keeping in mind all the tips, we should be okay. I have been concerned about having to change lanes in a hurry in big city traffic. No one escapes this world alive, so a moment of silence might be in order for us in a few weeks. We will face that big-city traffic come **** or ...

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One way to help learn where the back of your toad is in relationship to a vehicle being passed and the view in the side mirror is to observe the shadows on the highway on a day when the sun is to the drivers side. By observing your side view mirror, you can tell when the shadow of your toad is past the front of the vehicle you are passing. As a precaution, don't cut the vehicle you are passing short. Allow plenty of room between the back of your toad and the front of his vehicle. And be for the the inconsiderate drivers who will try to pass you on the right before you pull back into your lane.

Sam

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I recommend that you drive to an empty parking lot without the dingy, have someone else drive the dingy, then hook up the dingy. Place some safety cones, or cardboard boxes, or barrels, along a route that you have planned. Then practice passing the obstacles and pulling in ahead of them using your mirrors, and the rear camera.

Then head for the interstate outside of the city limits where traffic is not so bad, if possible, have a friend or spouse in a separate auto with cell phone, or walkie talkie in hand, pass and repass several times.

Practice is the key to any role becoming better.

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kaelalynn,

You will find in a motorhome, you don't "change lanes in a hurry". If you miss an exit, miss a turn, or whatever, you go on and get off at the next exit so you can adjust your route. We have a Garmin truckers GPS that shows all of the lanes on the highway and highlights the one(s) that you will need to be in for a turn or exit, etc. This is helpful so you can prepare yourself to get in the correct lane early on.

Have a safe journey!

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I agree with StellarsJay's comment, the shadows are useful if you can see shadows. Howde's comment on the use of GPS and quick lane changes is spot on. I've never used the back-up camera for this purpose. I can see the side of my coach in the right hand mirror (just the edge), when the distance beyond the coach to the vehicle I just passed is equal to the length of my coach or greater, then I am clear to pull back in after passing.

I have two comments on passing. On two lane roads, I try to pass only those vehicles that are traveling seriously slower than I am. I lay back a fair distance and wait for my chance. If I can get a good clear distance ahead I'll accelerate in my lane building up speed watching for new oncoming traffic. Then, when I am approaching the vehicle I want to pass I will take the passing lane and continue accelerating on past that vehicle. This allows me to quickly clear the vehicle I am passing and minimizes my time in the passing lane.

On three lane or more urban highways, I drive the second lane from the right and try to keep up with traffic. This keeps the entry/exit lane open for that traffic and I don't have to be constantly changing lanes to pass slower entering or exiting traffic. When I pass those slower vehicles I will stay in the center lane. This is good driving practice and if you watch the big trucks, it is also the way they drive in urban traffic. When the GPS indicates a coming turn then I'll move to the turn lane which is usually a single lane change. On occasion when a truck comes up behind me I'll look for a clear space in the right hand lane and pull over to allow them to pass me then move back into the center lane when space permits. If this works right, you really don't do all the risky lane changes of a standard passing movement very often.

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I suspect that all rear cameras do not have the same field of vision, but in my case, the field of vision is adequate to clearly determine when I have completed the pass of a vehicle. I also use my side mirror to make sure no vehicle has sneaked up beside me. If both indicate everything is clear, I then turn on my signal and return to my original lane. I can't imagine a scenario where the combined use of my mirror, and the camera, is not the safest option.

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Tom's comments are very good, especially about using the second lane if possible. Truckers, and bus drivers are taught to use these lanes when possible for several reasons, and the best reason is because road hazards tend to lay on the right shoulder of the road.

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While every post was spot on, I agree that Tom's had a bunch of good tips. While reading the posts, it occurred to me that in addition to helping me, other beginners will be helped as these great posts will pop up when others do a search for safe-passing practices as I did before post my plea for help. They'll find these suggestions where I found nothing. In the spirit of helpfulness (hopefully), I will add some safe-driving advice for limited vision conditions. About the only really hazardous weather I've experienced is VERY dense fog, and the survival tips we tend to follow is of course increased stopping distance, but also tuck in behind a truck and follow them. Their size will cause them to take longer to stop, clearing a path in those multicar pileups. Of course in a MH that weights 31,000# my stopping distance might be as long as theirs ;-)

Chuck

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Tucking in behind a truck is not a good practice, What if your stopping distance is 20 feet more than the truck? Always leave a safe margin in inclement weather. If it is bad get off the road.

Bill

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Interesting you mention tucking in behind a truck. I've driven in some hard rain the last two days and yesterday noticed how hard it was to see so many of the trucks (really the trailer) in front of me because they are white, even with their lights on. I estimated 200' was about it. For me, that is about as close as I want to be tucked behind a truck in bad weather.

I had a Country Coach towing a Chevy Silverado pass me yesterday in a hard rain. I was going 55 and estimated him going 70. We saw three major wrecks between Vicksburg and Birmingham and my guess they were all speed related. Spins.

I realize we're getting off topic and I'll probably get a :angry: .

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I think I selected the wrong word. I really didn't mean to imply that trucks should be drafted behind. I was trying to avoid writing a long dissertation, and I was talking about a car, not something almost as heavy as a truck. In fog the truck should be followed as far back as possible to get as much reaction time as possible, the tail light should just barely be visible. The heavier truck will obviously require greater stopping distance than a lighter car just as a supertanker will require more ocean to stop in than a small power boat. Even in fog we have people tailgating and that IS NOT what I meant by saying "tuck in," I should have said "follow as far behind as vision will allow." Out here in our valley our fog gets so bad that at times you can only see two white road strips in front of you, and going too slow is also a big danger as there are drivers who believe they can drive as fast as they want as long as they can keep it on road.

Chuck

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As the OP is new to this....

One thing I didn't see mentioned is: Our camera, and I assume many others, has a power tilt, labelled up and down on the side of the monitor. In the full down position, I've a clear view of the towbar. In the full up position, I can see the toads roof, and the roadway behind and to both sides of it. Almost but not quite the view I'd get in a real rearview mirror.

When I am passing, I can clearly see the passed car or truck come into view and drift down to a safe distance behind our toad.

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