Campervan Driving Tips
Is it easy to drive a Motorhome?
In short, yes. Don’t be afraid of it.
It’s just different to driving a regular car.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared.
Take your time
Probably the easiest motorhome driving tip.
Rushing causes arguments. Rushing causes accidents.
You’re on holiday. Take your time. Don’t speed. Take the time to find somewhere good to park and don’t rush to squeeze the van into the first tiny car parking spot you see. If someone is behind you in the car park, don’t fret about holding them up.
If you see a queue starting to build up behind you, take your time and pull over when there is a safe place to do so. Don’t speed up as this will just make you more likely to have an accident and harder for the vehicles behind you to overtake.
Some motorhomes have lower speed limits than regular cars – make sure you know what the speed limit is for your motorhome. Information from the official government website here
Mirrors & Blindspots
Typically, larger campervans and motorhomes will have split mirrors on either side. A general viewing mirror on top and a smaller angled mirror underneath to help you with your blindspot.
You will have a far larger blind spot than in a car. Take your time and make sure that everything is safe to move.
And this one is so important. When changing lanes on the motorway in your motorhome check that blind spot mirror. Every. Single. Time. Check it once. Wait a second or two in case its not quite adjusted 100%, and check again.
Plan ahead to find suitable car parks
There’s nothing worse than arriving at a beach, or town, or whatever and being stressed about finding somewhere to park this massive vehicle. The car parks are tiny and jam packed. The entrance to the car park is too tight, there’s people everywhere, you can feel their eyes boring into the back of your skull as you feel like you’re creating bedlam behind you.
So before you set off for wherever you’re headed look up the car parking situation.
Look on google maps and search for ‘parking’ whilst zoomed in on the area of interest. Look at the photos people have taken of the car park. Does it look ok? Drop down into streetview to double check. Read the reviews. Are motorhomes even allowed?
Check on park4night as well – often times there’ll be useful tips on there for daytime parking spots aswell.
And where possible, always have a backup car park ready to go in case your first choice is unavailable.
Junctions & Roundabouts
Two key motorhome driving tips here:
One: You’re in a longer and slower vehicle than what perhaps you’re used to. Allow plenty of time to pull out
Two: The backend will swing out – make sure you have anough space to allow it to do so. Or else it will try to occupy space already owned by another object – otherwise known as a collision.
Signage and Small Roads
Get into the routine of checking road signs even when you’re in the car to build the habit. How low was that bridge? What was the weight limit on that road? How wide was that bridge?
Write down your motorhome dimensions and stick them somewhere you can see from the drivers seat. Then everytime you see a sign about height, width or weight you can very quickly check your note and know if it is safe to carry on.
Satnavs and motorhomes don’t always mix and you can end up on some pretty hazardous roads. To avoid this make sure you get a decent satnav which you can put your dimensions into. Here’s a great article about motorhome satnavs from The Gap Decaders.
And, despite all of that, they can still get it wrong. Always check the route the satnav recommends before setting off. Are you being taken down a short, wiggly and menacing looking stretch of road to save 3 minutes on the longer A road? Adjust the map to take the better road.
What's the easiest Motorhome to Drive?
Well, that’s fairly subjective but in general:
The older the campervan, the harder it will be to drive. It will have fewer drivings aids such as blind spot indicators, perhaps no, or limited, power steering.
The bigger the motorhome, the harder it will be to drive. Extra length means more time to clear junctions, more back end swing and are wider on the road.
The smaller and newer the RV – generally speaking the easier it will be to drive.
So, is driving a motorhome hard?
In conclusion, no, we don’t think so. With the right preparations and mindset there is no reason anyone should feel anxious about driving a motorhome.
Take the above into consideration, and if you’re still nervous there is no reason you can’t go and get a lesson or two from a qualified driving instructor or perhaps even an experienced friend.
Go Explore! In your motorhome!