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romanpaula@netscape.net

Any Women Class A Drivers?

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Thanks for all the tips!! While I have driven the MH for short bursts on the Interstate, I really need to step up and start doing more driving. My biggest problem (read fear) is not the length of the coach but the width. I am always afraid that I am not going to stay in my lane. I guess I need practice and more practice :)

This works for me as an answer to the position of the MH in the highway lane. I personally made a notation, on the windshield, with a piece of red tape indicating the right edge of your center line when the MH is within inches of the line on your side. Now you know where you are in the lane. Other drivers may have other indicators, but this mine.

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Romanpaula,

Thankfully more women are driving their RVs these days and I'm pleased you'll soon be among them! I've been driving ours for many years. When we moved up from a 30-foot Type C to a 34-foot Type A diesel pusher I drove the first 1,200 miles while my husband read the manuals. Then we moved up to a 40-footer and we also tow a car. I've LOVED driving them all! When we got the first DP we both took the **** Reed Driving School and it was worth every penny. Even though we had driven RVs for many years, we got lots of good pointers from their trainer. I probably drive half the time so I know you can do it.

You've already gotten lots of good advice. A good time to find an empty parking lot is on a Sunday morning before the shoppers arrive. A big shopping mall is good. Wal-Marts and grocery stores sometimes have small lanes or landscaped islands that make practicing more difficult. You need one that is wide open so you can make big circles and learn your turning radius.

Others have talked about width and turns. You also need to know how tall you are because you don't want to clip a gas station overhang, confront a short overpass, or get stuck at an old bridge. Really old tunnels also might be rounded on the ceiling so you need to know your height, including the air conditioners and antennas. A CB antenna will bend, but a satellite won't so go up on the roof and take a good look around so you know what's there. Sooner or later you'll have to do that anyway if you're going to be the primary caregiver to this RV because you may need to unhook a stray branch, clean off something, or check caulking. Personally I avoid ladders after a broken elbow falling from one and I'm not fond of heights either, but I can crawl around up there to do what needs to be done. Don't worry about how you look - just do it the way you feel comfortable and if that's on all fours, so be it.

At least it sounds like your husband has been doing everything so he'll be able to teach you a lot. I've always learned how to hook and unhook in case I ever had to do it on my own. I've only had to do it once and that was before we had a toad and I had to drive my husband to the airport for an unexpected trip.

Good luck, relax, don't worry about it, and have fun.

ArdraF

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I am a woman, and I love to drive our Winnebago Journey 42E! I've always enjoyed driving - love learning new things. Also, my DH being 6 years older, and being full time away from our "old lives" and our old friends/family most of the time, it just makes sense. If something happened to my hubby, I would want to be able to get us to where we need to be. We operate under the "everybody needs to know everything" mode. Also, two brains are always better than one.

We take turns driving, or whomever is best rested drives. Even during the test drive, for whatever reason, I was the one who managed the tight corner without jumping the curb. I got comfortable driving our "Moby" first, and continue to feel less stress than DH when driving. I was the one who drove our whale off the lot on moving day - scared to death! However, I lived, and have been so happy for the experience ever since.

We are so pleased with how our 42E travels. Very stable. We never quit paying attention, however. We would feel awful if we were ever responsible for someone getting hurt or worse. We consider our responsibility large, and treat it appropriately. Male or female doesn't matter. Skill and safety does. Everybody is "green" when they first begin driving. With experience we gain experience!

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It takes a little adaptation. My wife has nearly 1 million miles in a long nose Peterbilt, pulling a 53' reefer trailer. Takes adjustment to just a single, 40' short MH! LOL

Go for it women. You can do it. You should see some of the looks when a 5' women gets out of that Peterbilt!

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As I just noticed Brett had posted, a pretty good tool for always knowing your "width" and knowing where the sides of your motor home is on the road is to put a mark(s) on the inside of the windshield with tape(s) or magic marker - or a paint pen.

As I sit on the drivers chair in normal driving position, I have put 3 marks 1" apart on the lower left inside of the windshield... As I'm driving , the middle one when lined up with the roadways painted center line tells me instantly and continuously that my motor home outside edge is 18" from the center line. The mark to the left if lined up on the centerline tells me I'm 12" from the centerline .. and the mark on the right tells me I'm approx 24" from the center line... I used Red for the center mark, yellow for the outside marks...

It's just a really easy and Positive way to aways be able to be looking forward and always know where the edge of the coach is going to be..... your vision of the marks lined up is always about 8-10' ahead of the coach so it's really helpful when driving through construction areas, etc....

Inccidently, knowing that roadways vary in width, I then did exactly the same thing on the inside of the windshield to align with the right outside edge of the roadway.... so if the road way narrows, and one needs to be guided as much by the outer edge of the roadway as the center, those marks in a similar alignment can be used as well... Gives complete confidence as to where your motor home is positioned on the roadway....

The marks only need to be 1" tall, 1/2 " wide to be easily visable but do not block any vision needed.

Has been helpful and gives me confidence continuously where the outer edges of my motor home is on roadway...

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RomanPaula,

You've gotten some excellent advice here. My wife loves driving our 45' Monaco Signature and has been driving it all she can since we got it in 2010. I can hardly get her out of the driver seat. She even still loves to drive after she blew the right front tire in 2012 in NM doing 62mph. That blow out could have been a tragic end to our rv'g and our life if it wasn't for knowledge we got from watching the following Michelin youtube video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkwOE1yKY5c

This video tells you what to do in a blowout and every Rv'r needs to know this info. The blowout caused $14000 damage to coach and toad truck but she never lost control of the coach and didn't even get out of her lane, Thank God.

Also another great suggestion is to go to Seffner, Fl and take the Lazy Days driving course.

One other important thing I would add is to check your tire pressure on all tires everyday before heading out. Or have tire pressure monitoring devices put on all your tires.

Don't let these multitudes of suggestions scare you, just make a checklist and follow it each day of travel and you'll do fine. Remember to have a great time and don't stress. You can learn to enjoy it as much as my wife.

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I need your Class A driving tips as I consider learning to drive our Class A. Not only driving tips are needed, but maintaining it, setting it up, towing, and breaking it down at departure time.

I know nothing about it mechanically speaking, I was formally only 'in charge' of the microwave and meal planning, now due to husband's surgery, I will become the driver. I don't even know how the heat/air works or the slides and just the name of the (black/grey) water scares me! Your suggestions, ideas would be very helpful to me. My husband can provide some guidance but the work and the driving will be on me.

Are there any statistics on the percentage of women Class A drivers?

I need your best tips/information! Where do I start? We will have to list it for sale if I can't figure it out and I would like to at least give it a try.

Thank you.

There are lots of great tips here. If I were you I would make a long list of things you think you need to know and go to a Class A dealer, tell them you would like to pay for a few hours of their time to teach you some things about the various systems, etc. It would be like the orientation when you buy a new motorhome (PDI). We did this since we were short on time when at the dealer originally.

Don

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Lot's of good advice. A few driving tips from a professional big rig driving instructor are well worth doing. We all develope bad habits and transfering them to a big rig. . . . :o

Best to start out on roads you know well so you are not concentrating on road signs etc but on the feel of the rig. Even just driving around the block at home a few times will help. On the highway the best way to keep centered in the lane is to look well down the highway, not at the white lines beside you. (However don't forget to keep checking mirrors, camera and the edeges of the road ahead for the unexpected.

My wife drive ours some of the time. She would rather not drive in Mexico but she has done it.

See you on the road somewhere.

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My wife is the only driver of our 39 foot Fleetwood excursion and she does a terrific job. We did take the drivers course at Lazy Days (highly recommended) and the only driving I do is inside the RV parks.

Any body can drive an RV, just start slow,

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We just got our first motor home in August and I was insisting on small, maybe even a class B or C so it would be more like a car. Well as luck will have it I fell in love with a Safari Simba and I admit to being terrified. However after a few utube instructional videos, which had great tips I ventured out. I am quite comfortable driving her everywhere and of course now comes but we need our car attached...yikes! I have graduated to adding our bikes to the hitch but still not ready for that toad.

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The toad isn't really a problem to tow. With a large coach you seldom even know it is there behind you. That is why they have put a camera on the back of the coach - so you can check once in a while to see if it is still there. :lol: Towing a car does require a great deal of planning and caution to avoid problems caused by your sudden inability to back up. Once you attach the toad, you can not back up. Not even a little bit. If you back up the front wheels of the toad will turn to one side or the other and then the tow bar is damaged and it goes downhill fast from there. If you get into a parking lot or a dead end street where there is no room to turn around without backing up, your only way out is to disconnect the toad, maneuver the coach to a position so you can exit and then reattach the toad. Sometimes a wrong turn can result in a long drive until you find a place you can turn around or streets that will allow you to go around the block (without getting into low trees and narrow streets with difficult corners to navigate). You learn to become very skeptical about taking narrow roads that have an uncertain outlet. Even the most experienced of us have found ourselves in this situation and each time it is a learning experience!

Once you understand the limitations the toad brings you can anticipate problems and learn to avoid them. We've towed for about 180,000 miles over 14 years on the road and only found ourselves in a bind a handful of times. The convenience of having a small vehicle for the trips to town, going exploring in parks, visiting friends and relatives, etc. easily offsets the extra concerns. Park the coach, it becomes base camp and then take the toad and explore your surroundings!

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We just got our first motor home in August and I was insisting on small, maybe even a class B or C so it would be more like a car. Well as luck will have it I fell in love with a Safari Simba and I admit to being terrified. However after a few utube instructional videos, which had great tips I ventured out. I am quite comfortable driving her everywhere and of course now comes but we need our car attached...yikes! I have graduated to adding our bikes to the hitch but still not ready for that toad.

First make sure you can tow your car 4 down. When you get it set up you will be amazed how easy it is to tow. The only thing is you can't back up but that isn't a problem if you plan your stops.

The only time I had to un hook the toad and turn the motorhome around was this summer when a state park gave me bad directions on how to get to their park.

I will not go anywhere with out a toad you give up so much not having one.

Bill

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Thanks, I know people say I won't know its there but I think I will. We actually did get a car that is towable but we haven't got the towing plates installed yet as I am just not ready. I will have to be soon, We are thinking about the Perry trip and then the rally in Tallahassee and heading west from there for a while. A long road trip so I think we will need the car. I guess I am stalling the install as not to have to do it :)

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