Driving a Motorhome

Motorhomes can be quite large and you may find the thought of driving one a little daunting. In reality, it is not as difficult as you might think.

Motorhomes are essentially large vans and should be driven as such. The main thing is to remember that “slow and steady wins the race”.

Here are a few tips to get you started safely and comfortably:

1. Size Matters

Know the height, width and length of your motorhome. I would suggest having at least the height and width written down inside the cab somewhere (in metric and imperial) in case you come up against any unexpected road width or bridge height restrictions.

2. Mirrors

Before you start driving, make sure your wing mirrors are correctly adjusted and use them frequently. Not having a central rear view mirror can be a shock but you soon get used to it – modern van mirrors provide excellent visibility.

Note: Although many vans have blind-spot mirrors, not all do. Make sure you understand what you can (and can’t) see in your mirrors; you may have a blind spot just behind the cab door on each side of the van.

3. Plan Ahead and Look Up!

When driving, don’t try and rush. Take it easy and look well ahead. Remember to be aware of overhanging trees, cliffs and other height restrictions and take care to position yourself centrally within your lane when driving.

The speed limits for motorhomes in the UK are the same as for cars for motorhomes with an unladen weight of no more than 3,050kg. Click here for more details.

4. Cornering Technique

Cornering is a motorhome (especially a larger, coachbuilt or A-class motorhomes) requires a little more care than in a car:

  • Slow down well in advance of corners and be brake more gently than you might do in a car.
  • Aim to finish braking before you enter the corner and use the accelerator to maintain a constant speed through the turn.
  • This will ensure that your motorhome is balanced and settled as you drive through the corner, improving comfort and tyre grip.
  • Taking this approach will also make it easier to stop or make last minute adjustments to your road position if something unexpected happens.

5. Reversing a Motorhome

When reversing, proceed very slowly, especially if you are doing it blind (without a reversing camera or a second person to see you back).

Although your wing mirrors will give you good visibility, always remember the blind spot behind the back of your vehicle. If in doubt, get out and look.

Reversing cameras can be a great help and safety aid, especially if you drive on your own a lot.

6. Try Before You Buy

If you’re thinking of buying a motorhome and want to find out what they are really like to drive, one thing you could do is hire a van for the weekend – rent a luton van if you are thinking of buying a coachbuilt motorhome – they have are the same size and shape.

This could potentially be much more useful than a motorhome dealer test drive, as you will be able to spend some time experimenting with manoeuvres and driving on different types of road.

3 thoughts on “Driving a Motorhome

  • November 27, 2010 at 7:05 pm
    Permalink

    no comment here about the way longer vehicles with a large overhang behind the rear wheels ‘swing out’ when turning. In tight spaces it is easy to clip something with the back of the truck having cleared everything with the front!

    Reply
    • November 28, 2010 at 2:26 pm
      Permalink

      That’s a good point and one I missed out. For anyone who has only ever driven a car, rear overhang can be a bit of a surprise and can catch people out in tight places.

      Cheers, Roland

      Reply
  • March 11, 2016 at 2:13 pm
    Permalink

    White van man has a reputation, but he also has experience. If not one yourself, talk to someone who is. I have driven pretty much every kind of van on the road everyday for over 16 years, so my first drive in our spectacular motorhome was ‘like duck to water’. Keyword here is experience. The suggestion of hiring a Luton van is an excellent one, and don’t forget the tail-swing. Forget this and it would be quite easy to ruin somebody’s day. Thank you and see you on the road!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.