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kaelalynn

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

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If you have a rear view camera the view should be clear. If you don't, when the vehicle you have passed is in full view in your passenger side mirror then you have completely passed them but I would go a few seconds more before changing lanes to the right.

Don

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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.

Not signaling your intention to turn or change lane until the moment you are ready to do so is poor driving practice. It should be on long enough for it to register with other drivers. For example, when approaching an intersection or other exit your signal lights should be on well before your brake lights. Failing to use signal lights properly are demert points on driving tests and could be a fail. IF your camera view changes so much that you cannot see what you are pulling in front of, it needs to be adjusted.

I wait to pull back in once the vehicle I have passed has just gone out of sight past the rear of the Jeep. Even that is not giving a lot of room. More is always better if traffic allows.

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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.

Make sure the friend or spouse, and you, are not using a phone or radio while behind the wheel. Illegal in most states and provinces and very dangerous in all. "Distracted Driving"--cell phone etc, in many areas, has now passed DWI as the primary cause of accidents and deaths on the road.

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All good info. I normally drive in the right lane staying around 55 mph especially while towing our toad. I will however get up on a ladder to see if I can adjust the rear camera since at the moment it looks down onto the front of the toad and I see nothing behind other than using my side mirrors. I have always depended on the sun shadow to let me know I am far enough in front to change a lane. If there is no shadow I just calculate with experience leaving ample room for errors. I have yet to figure out how to prevent the people who get mad when you can not move over to allow them access to the highway mostly cars and pickups get mad but many think it is their right not to giveway and adjust their speed to fit the traffic on the highway for some reason they don't check who is next to them until they are running out of access road ahead of them. Then as Goose said in Top Gun they give you the finger, maybe more than once !

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Agree that all of this is good info. When passing, I don't start to return to the lane until I see both headlights of the passed vehicle in the right side mirror (a flat mirror, not the wide angle). You normally would have that mirror adjusted to see just the side of the coach and the lane behind. I was taught this in driving school and it works no matter how long you are. I use the rear view camera as a guide as to when to start looking for the headlights.

I drive the coach with toad in Los Angeles and other nasty urban traffic. You'll also get the salute from those who will cut in behind you since they think you are taking too long to move back over <sigh>. I think of them as 3 year olds who need to me to make sure they survive the trip.

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Howde had a great comment about not making 'lane changes in a hurry'. While I only have about 15,000 miles driving a Motor Home with a toad, I do have almost 3,000,000 driving a semi (mostly double trailers), and have a couple of comments about what has been said about trucks and truckers.

First, I have never heard that "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." While it is smart driving to use the next to the right lane while driving in city traffic for the reason mentioned above concerning traffic entering and exiting the freeway, when in somewhat 'open roads', where there is not heavy traffic and not many on and off ramps, it is better to stay in the right lane so as to not impede traffic, and have those people who are going faster than you have to pass on your right because the people in the left lane are going faster than you but not as fast as the person on the right wants to go.

One comment mentioned "keeping up with traffic". I find that that is often not safe nor legal in some states. I don't like driving my coach at 70 or 75 miles an hour to 'keep up with traffic'. Since my coach is much more like a truck, in length, weight and stopping distance, than like my car, I drive it more like a truck, and often use the 'truck' speed limit.

Also in some states, like California, where the 'speed limit' is 65 or 70 (and traffic flow is often 75+) the law is that the speed limit for 'anything towing' is 55, and since I tow a dingy, I follow the law.

I totally agree that 'tucking behind a truck' is not a good idea at all. A blown tire from a trailer can ruin your whole day if it hits the front of your coach, not to mention the stopping aspect.

One last thing, when I first started driving 40 years ago, I was given a great piece of advice: "Every time you change lanes, you increase your chance of an accident". Think about it. If you have to slow down for a mile so behind a truck or other slow moving vehicle while you get to the exit you want, do it as it is much safer than trying to pass him and get back in the exit lane. Is the 10 seconds you may save worth the possibility of having and accident.

Good luck and happy traveling.

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Great advice Cookie!

I know that I am a better driver in our coach rig than I am when driving only our toad. Must be a feeling of responsibility and realization that this much weight and bulk just has to act differently than normal vehicles no matter what it takes.

Don

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AKADeadeye: Your comment reminded me of a very interesting fact. Trucks with a single trailer have a higher accident rate per million miles driven than do trucks with two trailers. And trucks with two trailers have a higher accident rate than do trucks with three trailers (triples) (yes, this really does happen in a few states such as Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Nevada). Having driven all three, I can believe it. As you mentioned, the more trailers you have behind you, the more careful you are. With a set of 'triples', you can be 105 feet long and weigh 105,000 pounds (52.5 tons).

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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

One night driving in fog I had a good chuckle. A motorist following me decided my pace was too slow. He shot past me and as he pulled in ahead of me, immediately hit the brakes. They found out that following the red tail lights of my RV was easier than looking into the reflection of their headlights. Anticipating this would happen I had already begun a light brake application. Driving a big vehicle requires one to anticipate and look well ahead to avoid developing problems on the road.

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Your right, Bill! Nice thing about a MH is that we can get off the road and sit the bad stuff out and move around in dry comfort! Not so with a trailer, stay in truck or get wet on journey to trailer....He! He.

Back to passing. Herman and Tom are spot on. In town on 2 lane roads and speed limits of 35 or 40, I take the left lane. On 3 lanes or more, I follow Tom!

Stay safe, we are not in a sport's car and it's the journey that counts!

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This is well worth your time to watch. It covers a lot of what new MH drives need to know. As far a pulling back in the lane after passing, there is a good tip given:

Measure 3' in back of your MH and put something on the ground. Mark the rear camera screen with tape. Have someone pull your tow vehicle in behind the MH and they slowly back it up until you just about lose sight of it in the rear camera and stop. Measure the distance from the MH to the vehicle and then you can mark the screen or make a note that when you are just about to lose sight of the vehicle behind you that is the distance..should be safe to start to pull in. (They explain it better than I did.)

Backup camera setup: Located at 27:07 into the video.

George

2005 Country Coach

2012 Honda CRV

Douglas MA/Beverly Hills FL

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Back to passing. Herman and Tom are spot on. In town on 2 lane roads and speed limits of 35 or 40, I take the left lane. On 3 lanes or more, I follow Tom!

I hate to be the one that always seems to disagree, but if you are in town, and you are on a two lane road and you are in the left lane, all of the traffic beside you is on your right and that is the place where you have the least amount of visibility. If you have to change lanes, either by choice, or in the case of an emergency in front of you, there can very easily be a small car, motorcycle or even bicycle on your right that could easily be missed in your mirrors. If someone on your left decides that they made a mistake and wants to be n the left lane, they can change lanes quickly and you might not see them if they are in your blind spot and a collision might happen. Yes, there is the problem of pedestrians, cars coming into your lane, etc., but this stuff is in front of you. If you are watching what is in front of you, and keeping your eyes moving and paying attention to what is around you, you are better off with traffic on your left where you can better and more easily see it.

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I have found in driving a 18 wheeler the past 15 years, and a tour bus too. I use the right side mirror and wait until I see both headlights of the truck I'm passing.  If I see the full front of that truck I know my truck and my 53 foot trailer will clear and I can start to move over. Besides, most drivers will give you the flash of the headlights that you are clear.

To test this out, use a parking lot with a car parked. Pull up until you see the full front of that vehicle. Stop and get out and look at the back of your RV. How much clearance do you have? If needed get in your RV and pull forward 10 feet and look at the picture in that right side mirror.  Once you have the clearance you are looking for, remember what it looks like in that mirror.

Also the use of Shadows must be used when you have them. In backing up or passing a vehicle, use the shadows of the items around your RV to tell you of dangers.  It all comes with practice and experience of moving your 40 foot or plus RV through the parking lot or down the road.

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marshall.  Welcome to the Forum.

I agree.  You also get a six sense, in knowing where your coach and toad is.  I generally wait until the other vehicle is in top of mirror, also use the back up camera to see where toad is !

If you noticed, this post died in July of 2015 ! :lol:  

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And may it Rest In Peace. :( No this was a good topic.

Has anyone but me notice that we no longer have the Knights of The Road, aka Truck Drivers. In the past there was an unspoken courtesy to signal, your safe to pull back in and thank you. :o All done with the flash of the lights. That being said, the other mornings, while driving on I-80 in Nebraska way before dawn, I would pass a truck and ever so often I would get the "Safe To Pull Back In" flash of their head lights and I would acknowledge with the flash of my clearance lights. But the minute the sun came up no more signals.  

That being said I think we, as RVers should show trucks every courtesy we would expect in return. Let them know that we are trying to be the :Ladies and Gentlemen of the RV World".

Be Safe and Courteous on the road.:)

Herman

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Herman, this very true. Topic reminds me of a trip to Florida several years ago, a new gas class A pulled up beside me, a woman driving started veering over to my lane, I blew the air horn, which was the wrong thing to do, thank goodness there was a wide enough shoulder, because I had to use it. We were still in Alabama and still some rolling hills, the coach I owned at that time was a DP with a governor set at 69 MPH, so she blew on down the hill, started up the next grade and I had to pass or creep up the hill. After cresting, here she came again, I was prepared this time, I slammed on the brakes, and when she cleared me this time, I flashed the headlights, she ran to the left into the median. Long story short, I pulled off the road and waited ten minutes giving her time to get on down the road. Unfortunately I got to the next town and lo and behold she had stopped, then pulled back out causing me to slam on the brakes again. Sorry to be so long, but it did bring back memories when reading your last post on this subject.

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Kay, I have been there...heck every road trip I'm there, who am I kidding! Usually I just laugh sometimes it gets under my skin. I constantly run the right lane at 63 mph (best MPG) unless the speed limit is lower of course.

Usually it is someone pulling a camper trailer (and I really hate to stereotype but the DW and I on every trip have this conversation..... this is what we look like in the front seats.....:o), they are usually all over the road in the first place. It seems like they see a large DP and think they have something to prove as they pass us at 75 or more they always look like they are in a race to get somewhere, then I blow them into the median as they pass us. I drive looking in front of me and around me at all times, when I see them coming I snicker and tell the DW....Wait ...for...it... look at this genius :D! I could write a book on what our dash cam records. My coach tends to push everyone that tries to pass us also (only a tractor trailer with a van trailer do I have to lean on the wheel ever so slightly, but so does he), so I don't have to compensate for most, but rather watch them start to loose it and get out of the way.

While on our last trip in Maine, one tried the same with an 18 wheeler, that had traffic all messed up for hours on I-95 in New Hampshire.

Herman, I always blink to truckers passing, and I usually get a marker light blink back to say thank you. My smart wheel has the flash buttons on it and I use them often. Sometimes they blink for me which is nice. I will NOT follow a camper trailer unless I dissect it when it passes and it looks like its set up properly, the tow vehicle is of the proper spec for the size of the trailer, I will just slow down so they get away from me.

Same trip as above a Dodge Caravan passed us pulling a 27' - 31' TT. Van bumper on the ground, chains and hitch bouncing off the asphalt, at the top of the next hill on I-84 there it was broke down....who didn't see that coming :huh:.

Cant fix ....well you know

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On July 14, 2014 at 6:55 AM, hermanmullins said:

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

Herman, have read many of your comments and everytime you make a short, simple, common since approach that see s to work.

Thank you

Smoke Matthews

Chapin, SC

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I don't have anything to add to this.  All post were spot on.  Having driven OTR,  I always appreciated when a RV would pass me and acknowledge the pass with his 4 ways or lights.  Definitely appreciated his road courtesy and knowledge of others with long rigs sharing our highways.  Also enhances safety.  Thanks

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Never really thought about it. After all of these years it is instinctive. I have never liked to come quickly back in front of a vehicle that I passed except on two lane roads and even then, only when necessary. When you do that, you have forced the rig that you just passed into tailgating. On interstates there are knuckle heads that make you want to get on the brakes because they came back in too quickly.  As Herman has noted, the rear view camera is a big help and I use it regularly now. 18 wheelers don't have them. But never forget your side mirrors. They do not work any where near  as well as mirrors on a big truck, but give them a look anyway.

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I have not had a rear view camera in many, many years so I use my passenger side mirrors to watch for traffic on that side and to know when it's OK to pull back in.  On "my coach" once the truck/car is fully in my mirror then I am far enough past that vehicle to pull back in.  It's actually over-kill as I am past them by a good deal but if I need to get back over I am not going to do it until I see the vehicle or they flash me over.  That's actually how I know waiting that long is over-kill.  When truckers do flash me over I have not gotten far enough ahead for them to fill the mirror.  You will learn, if you are interested, in your coach where that margin of safety is while using your mirrors alone.  I am currently working to re-install a camera after all these years and thought I was all set until Intec cameras said it would cost $1500-$2000 to adapt my old system and wiring to a new camera.  Heck, I can go wireless for $600! or see if I can find a camera system that uses standard wiring or coax that I could solder to the existing wiring run.  I've got 15 wires running back there I am sure something could be worked out.  The hardwired systems are mostly less than $300!

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You can also use the shadows of the vehicles...depending on where the sun is.  After my second VN tour (as a helicopter pilot, first was on the ground), I started fixed wing training.  One old crusty instructor told me one way to be sure you are clear of other aircraft when taxiing is to watch the shadows on the ground.  If the wing's shadow on our aircraft is not going to hit the shadow of the other aircraft, we were clear.

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Yep, I love shadows!  They just aren't of much use from 11am to 1pm and they are often on the wrong side of the coach.  :lol:

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Obedb, the tractors at work all have collision avoidance systems, I will not jump in front of a truck, for that reason and it's just nuts! Many times I have had some one jump I front of me while driving them, and step on the brake, before I can blink it slams the tractor and trailer brakes on with no warning. Besides to pull over and check my shorts the last time my shoulder felt it for days. I wouldn't want to do that to a trucker trying to make a living, besides if we hit its not going to be a good day for either of us. Some extra courtesy goes along way with professional drivers.

I use mirrors and the camera, (camera if I need over quick when I'm in the wrong lane) usually the gap is so large there is no question I have plenty of space. 

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