Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Is bigger RV better?

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I am trying to talk my husband into trading our big diesel pusher motorhome in for something shorter. When we bought we were thinking bigger was better, but now we are reevaluating. He has hit just about everything in Kansas. The dealer gave us driving lessons and little dots to put on the mirrors. My husband was convinced that if the dots missed the gas pump the motorhome would too. The problem is, while he's watching the dots he knocks the mirrors off on something else. I feel like we do not visit a lot of places because we are afraid we might get stuck in a tight place where we can't turn the motorhome around. He says he will eventually get used to driving it. That may be true, but I'm not sure we will have much motorhome left by the time he gets his driving skills mastered. Please advise.
 --Bump and Grind in Grand Rapids

Dear Bump and Grind:
It sounds like you are stripping it down pretty quickly. Is it getting shorter or just narrower? Everyone seems to find their own comfort level when driving a big rig. I don't think there is any argument that the longer the rig the fewer choices you have getting into tight campgrounds and other destinations. Height is another consideration. It is not just motorhomes. I know a guy that drove 40 ft. tour buses in New York City and Boston for years. He bought a fifth wheel and couldn't park it. He said, "The darn thing bends in the middle." The two of you will have to decide where your comfort level resides. With the popularity of slide outs, in most of today's coaches, you should be able to find a suitable floor plan that offers all the room you need in a shorter rig. It also depends on the type of traveling you plan to do. You are not going to get a 40 ft. coach into many small National Forest campgrounds with small sites and tight roads. Campground trends are growing. Because there are so many larger units on the road, campgrounds are being designed to accommodate them. I also see a trend in manufacturers downsizing the diesel pusher. You can now find nice units under 30 ft. Most dealers will let you test drive the units they sell. You should try a few shorter coaches and see if you feel more comfortable with a unit that does not require a driving plan that entails connecting the dots.
 --Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink



Erik's RV Blog said...

If Bump and Grind is right then her husband shouldn't be driving anything. If he's using the dots only and not paying attention to his surroundings he shouldn't be driving period.

Maybe she should take a crack at it, even less than 30ft sounds like it would be a challenge to her husband. I don't think the length is the issue here since she described how he goes about it..

Just my 2 cents..


Sunny One said...

I agree with Erik, it sounds like hubby is not able to concentrate on the multiple issues needed for driving this rig. Things change as time flies onward. Has he been having more trouble driving the car lately? If so, maybe it is time he saw a neurologist to assess his condition.

Anonymous said...

A couple of years ago, we made the decision that I would do all the driving. It took the stress out of moving the coach. I can concentrate solely on driving, keep both hands (and forearms) on the wheel, and have a very good sense of where the motorhome is in space. He is a great direction giver. We back into pretty much any space without making a sound -- hand signals only, and always get amazed glances from the other people in the campground! Lots of thumbs up from the other ladies!

Anonymous said...

perhaps DW should advise her hubby that most states require a non commercial class B license to operate most, if not all, 40 foot rigs. Not having one when involved in an accident where someone is hurt could easily vastly increase the personal liability of the unlicensed driver. If he drives as she claims he would never pass the driving test.

Anonymous said...

Most states do NOT require a class B license to operate a motorhome. The previous poster takes laws in HIS state and trys to apply them to all states.

Anonymous said...

All states should require a CDL to d rie any motorhome over 24'. It is scary when one has never driven a truck to expect them to handle a 40' motorhome safely.