Dear RV Shrink:
My husband is a terrible driver. He tailgates so close that I am
always nervous. He says he's comfortable driving close and gets
perturbed when I tell him to back away. I especially get nervous when he's
close to a big truck. He has joked that he's "drafting" off it to get
better gas mileage. I don't laugh and tell him he's putting us in
serious danger, but he either doesn't respond or gets mad. I know how
to drive our motorhome but he will hardly ever let me do it. I love my
husband, he's a wonderful man, but I'm scared to death to ride with
him. Do you have any idea what I might say to him to get him to back
--Susan, Carson City, Nevada
If you are convinced your husband's driving is putting you at serious risk, don’t get in the passenger seat. Either drive or refuse to ride. The drafting joke is funny to a point. If he wants to be a NASCAR driver, have him get a sponsor and drive alone at the track. If he wants to save gas have him get his foot out of the carburetor and back-off. Tailgating will only assure that you are the first one to the accident. It’s funny that I received this question today. I just read a blog I have followed for two years about a couple RVing full-time. I was shocked to see a photo of their truck and trailer upside down in the median on an interstate. A trailer in front of them spewed metal wheel parts that they could not avoid. It blew their right rear tire and somehow set their trailer brake. The trailer tipped over first, eventually flipping the truck on its side. It then skidded across the median and ended up facing the opposite direction upside down. It is not just a sudden stop that can get you into trouble when tailgating. Most RVs do not stop on a dime, are not quick to maneuver, and are not designed to do either. Your husband is putting more people in danger than just his wife. I think he needs an attitude adjustment and I think you should be the one to administer it. Good luck.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink
she should a couples driving course. If it is paid for and is presented not as a criticism, but as a way for her to gain soe experience and a share of the driving, he might listen to the instructor about thngs he will not listen to her about. Ihad some of the same problems, except ours was about speed. Now I drive about half of the time. I park because he is better at giving directions. Or I am better at following them.8
As an Over The Road (OTR) truck driver and avid RVer, I have to deal with this issue everyday. People simply don't understand how fast an accident can occur. I usually just slow way down and force these UNSAFE drivers to pass me.
As for this couple, the wife in this case should just refuse to go along and explain why! Until this guy truly has an attitude adjustment and learns to have a good following distance, I wouldn't ride with him either.
It is also illegal in many states to tailgate. In Louisiana, following too closely or passing a vehicle and then cutting back in front too closely is considered aggressive driving and is ticketable.
It always amazes me how so many people believe the myth that they are saving gas by following so close. Any fuel you may save, doesn't make up for the accident waiting to happen by following so close.
I have never ridden in our motorhome because I don't like his driving. I drive the car to our destination instead of towing it. Yes, we have higher fuel costs this way, but at least I don't have to sit there and be terrified the entire trip!
He's going to kill you, maybe others and he doesn't care. The minimum separation if you are following in an auto is 3 seconds. RV, weather, traffic conditions would increase that. Don't forget the driver usually survives and you even with seatbelts and airbag, are riding in the "dead wife seat". If you continue to ride you are agreeing to be killed. Your choice.
I'm not sure she is not driving with my husband Bill. We pull a big 5th wheel and he really scares me. I would like to get another type of RV (class C) so that I would be more comfortable driving etc. but financially not possible. I have grooves in the floor from pressing my imaginary brake.
In law, the ONLY defense to rear-ending someone is that their vehicle cut you off. Otherwise, YOU are the driver at fault and liable for damages. It's called the Doctrine of Assured Clear Distance. My 38' DP could NEVER stop on a dime and neither could any other. You are legally required to maintain a safe following distance that in some states equals a car length for every ten miles/hour of speed. It amazes me how stupid a lot of people are about this simple knowledge.
She might ask hubby how long in seconds and in how many feet it will take to stop their RV at 60 mph. Of course he will not know, but tell him if he will research this and can prove to her that he always drives with adequate stopping distance, she will gladly ride with such a safe driver.
Otherwise, stay home- seriously.
Walk into the back of the RV with a cell phone, call 911 and report a hazardous driver with your location, rig description, and plate number, before he kills someone.
Harsh yes, necessary to possibly save a life of lives - absolutely.
Also a former OTR trucker 10 years and over a million miles - and long time RVer - tailgating is perhaps one of the worst - most dangerous things you can do and anyone who thinks it is not is a complete idiot. I forget the exact % % but many accidents are the result of tailgating. Drafting is an urban legend or myth or whatever you want to call it. Tailgating is stupidity in action. Get out of the vehicle.
Consider being a passenger with him behind the wheel as if he were drunk and was driving. DO NOT get in the vehicle with him behind the wheel, period.
Have your husband read these comments.
If he doesn't like them, stay home or drive the car to the destination.
Hope you live...
He should be charged with attempted murder and she could be ruled a suicide for riding in an unsafe vehicle. She is riding in the suicide seat as it is. There is noted the drivers side of vehicle and the suicide side of vehicle.
Are there really this many women out there who listen to ignorant advice? Ladies, you have a brain, please put it to use. Motorhomes are wonderful when given the proper respect. Anyone who tailgates in one is a complete idiot no matter who's husband he is. Check your ego at the door of your motorhome and show a little respect for those of us around you.
Your husband and you should take the AARP Safe Driving course. 3 seconds is the rule. when the vehicle you are following passes a fixed point count 1000-1, 1000-2, 1000-3. When you say 3 you should be passing the same point. In one of the videos in the class a trucker points out that a trailer does create a suction and if he stops suddenly a following vehicle can be sucked right into his trailer. Triple his life insurance and travel in your own car!
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