Stay Safe on the Road with these 5 Driving Tips

RV driving tips are all over the Internet.  When you are doing your research, the key thing to keep in mind is, not just to find the information and learn it all – it is very important you make sure the information is relevant to your type of RV rig and set up.  Usually, Class As aren’t going to be concerned about trailer sway, RV vans are not going to worry about room to park and fifth wheels will not be learning about car towing (as it is illegal in about fifty percent of states to tow more than one vehicle behind you).

There are tips that will help your driving that are related to all types of RVs.  Keep these in mind and they will help you manage your trips no matter how long or short or what type of rig you drive.

Don’t Overload Your RV

Even a small RV or van should know how much their van can carry and not overdo it.  Overweight vehicles can expand your stopping distance.  They will also not function well with potholes and other construction issues.  It is also dangerous for your tires.  You can easily be susceptible to blow outs when the tires are only rated for your RV based on the weight it can carry.  Putting more in your RV than it can carry can also mean items cannot be stowed or put away because there is not enough room.  Then you have items that become projectiles if you need to make sudden stops or go across uneven surfaces while you drive.

Use Google Maps Satellite

This is a great free system to use when you are unfamiliar with an area you will be driving through.  If you go to Google Maps (, click on the ‘Layers’ button in the bottom left corner.  You can zoom in and see if an RV park has concrete pads or potholes.  You can also make sure there is enough turning radius into a park or area if you drive a big rig.  Hold your mouse over the ‘Layer’ button and you can also select other buttons.  Try using the terrain button and you can see elevations or hills you may have to cross over.  You can also see traffic patterns and know in advance you might experience slowdowns.  Check the date on all photos to make sure they are recent or at least you know to call parks ahead of time if you are concerned about any issues, you see visually.

Woah! Make sure not to overload your RV. An excessive load can lead to issues on the road.

Manage Your Speed

Speed may seem like a small aspect of your driving, but it is the most critical.  Driving too fast on a hot day can cause your tires to expand and it could become a driving hazard.  Speeding on a windy day can increase the chances or trailer sway or increase the problems related to hitting potholes.  Not keeping enough distance between you and the vehicle in front of you can result in an accident.  Your rig, whether it is a smaller van or a king-size fifth wheel, you need to know that your stopping distance is vastly different than a car.  Be sure to use the old two second counting rule to stay far enough away from other vehicles on the road.  Find a fixed object on the side of the road ahead of you and when the vehicle in front of you passes it, at minimum you should be able to say, ‘one thousand one, one thousand two’ before you reach the object.  This shows your speed is relative to the driver in front of you and you should have enough time to safely stop.

Use a GPS with information that is important to have for driving an RV.

Use an RV safe GPS

You should know the height, width, length, and weight of your RV.  And just because you have a map available like mentioned above, you still don’t have the math available.  When you cross a bridge, is the weight of your RV too much to cross.  When you drive under overpasses, are they high enough for you to successfully go through?  Are you too wide to go through a tunnel? You can enter your RV’s dimensions into the RV LIFE app.  (  Enter your route information and it will tell you when there may be driving restrictions.  Also, when you travel into areas where there may be issues for your rig, the app will notify you.  It is better to know in advance that your 13-foot-tall RV won’t fit under an upcoming 12-foot bridge.  That way you won’t have to back up miles and miles or worse yet, you turn your rig into a 12-foot-tall roofless RV.

Pay Attention to the Weather

Use for free or upgrade your subscription to  Driving an RV safely across the country depends on the weather too.  Whether you are driving a van size RV or a 44-footer, you are more susceptible to the weather because of your larger size than a regular auto.  And you are carrying your home/vacation home with you!  It isn’t just about knowing if it is going to rain or snow.  You should know if it is going to be a hot day as that can affect your tires.  What about the wind speed?  That is important to know – especially driving with a travel trailer or an extra large fifth wheel.  Think about all the ways weather can affect your drive and be prepared.  If it is an especially windy day – you may need to plan an extra day to stop and wait until it clears.

These are very simple RV driving tips to follow.  Make them a practice you follow each time you before, during and after your travels.  These are great tips that can carry into your normal everyday driving that will make you a better driver all the time.

About Lucinda Belden

Lucinda Belden is a travel writer who has been full-time RVing for several years in a 44-foot fifth wheel toy hauler with her husband Will and their dog Cozy. Lucinda writes on all kinds of travel from cruises to motorcycling to RVing as well as travel books available on Amazon. She is also the Program Director for MyRVRadio, the first online radio station for RVers. You can follow her adventures at