Learning to Drive a 20ft Long Motorhome

I’ve never driven a big vehicle like this before. I have a small car and have done for many years.

They really are polar opposites. My car is very low to the ground, it’s small and easy to maneuver, it sticks to the road like glue, and it’s pretty nippy. Generally speaking, I’m the one overtaking all the slow drivers!

The motorhome is 3 metres high, 6 meters long and has a large overhang past the rear wheels. This means that I have to be very careful when turning because I can hit either the side of the vehicle or my back end can swing out and hit something.

Being so high I can feel the wind, and of course it’s clunky and slow as hell!

I put off driving it for the first day as I was a bit nervous but since then I’ve taken itΒ  on several drives and grown in confidence each time πŸ™‚

 

First Drive

I am parked behind my garage into a road which is just a parking area for all the nearby houses. You don’t really get people walking around but there’s a lot of cars parked.

My garage neighbour had his car parked next to the motorhome and I could see by looking at the gap that there was no way I could turn right to pull out of my space and into the road without my back end swinging into his car.

So my only option to get out would be to turn left (I had enough space between the motorhome and my fence to swing that way) and then reverse all the way up the road past a whole bunch of other parked cars! This was a daunting prospect!

However, I figured that if I could do that, it would help me learn maneuvering in general. I went real slow, constantly checking my mirrors and I managed it. However I noticed that a black parked car that I had seen suddenly disappeared from my view. I have a large blackspot right behind me.

After pulling out of the parking road the first car to navigate around was my own. I avoided hitting it lol. All I did on this first drive was just drove around the block. I went real slow (I only got as far as 3rd gear!) and I was checking my mirrors constantly to see how I was positioned in the road.

I figured I’d be way off and would be hitting kerbs or trees or something but it seemed fine.

The driving position is weird. I had to put my chair quite far forward to be able to reach the pedals comfortably and as a result my legs are almost at a 90 degree angle to the floor. In my car I’m way more laid back with my legs more stretched out in front.

Also the steering wheel, gear stick and handbrake are all very different. But it was okay.

Once I got back into the parking road I then had to try to reverse back into my parking space. That was tricky and I had to make quite a few adjustments but I managed it after a couple of minutes. Phew, that was enough for day 1!

Second Drive

The next day I took it out again and I was so much more confident after just the 10 minute drive the day before. I went on a much longer drive – about 20 minutes and this time I went into town, down narrowish country lanes, around roundabouts and at one point I pulled into a layby and did a U-turn so I could test the turning circle. It was actually much tighter than I thought it would be,

I found myself checking my mirrors less often and every time I looked I was perfectly centred in the road. I know that when you’re used to a vehicle you just kinda ‘know’ the width and don’t have to check. I figured because this was wider than a car it would take a few weeks of driving to get to that point but it didn’t.

I was confident on day 2! Before I knew it I was up in 5th gear and just about managed to get up to 50 mph down one of the longer roads on the way back home.

This drive felt fantastic. I was doing it – really driving it properly! I was comfortable, confident and loving it and I didn’t seem to mind one bit how slow it was. At least I’m not going to get nicked for speeding any more lol! I may have racked up a few speeding convictions over the years, oops!

Third Drive

A couple of days later I took it for another fairly short drive. I noticed that it had started to rain and the rain was making it dark out. I figured this would be a good opportunity to test out the windscreen wipers and the lights.

There was one other thing I wanted to do that I was a bit nervous about – fueling. I decided to drive to the nearest gas station and then I would judge how much room there was and whether or not I would fill up.

It was empty and I had no problem. I remember I had been worried thinking it’s on the opposite side to my car but honestly I don’t know what I was worried about. It was just the same as filling the car, except for diesel instead of petrol. After that I drove back home and confidently reversed it back up to my garage πŸ™‚

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