driving truck campers in narrow roads

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nakamuru

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Joined
Feb 6, 2019
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46
So I currently drive a sub compact suv and when driving I feel there is margin of error to the left and right of me. Driving a truck alone seems to close the margin and then when you add a camper it seems like it will fill up the whole lane. Or worse those roads where it's like one car per ally and you go down the middle and realize you won't make it thru . Is this a big problem with truck campers? And is it all about planning ahead and just go the easy route where theres always room left and right of me?  It's my nightmare I'll be driving comfortably then hear some scratching sound where I bumped into someone on side. Insurace goes up, who knows what kind of person I hit will be. One of the reasons why truck camping I'm thinking of staying away from. I'm a great driver with my subcompact but truck seems like whole new game. Any new truck drivers that can attest it's not bad?
 
You get use to it if you drive it enough...The Sub compact gives you a lot of play room with the lanes and you get spoiled. But the lanes are wide enough for you RV. You just have to pay closer attention to your driving.

The only thing I watch for is low bridges. I'm running at 11 feet so anything less than 12 get my attention.
 
Your mirrors will be the first thing to scrape, so no point in worrying about the camper width
 
Driving a larger vehicle is an acquired skill. With practice, you?ll instinctively know exactly where you are in the lane and if you?ll have clearance issues. In the very unlikely event you get into a dead-end situation, simply back out. The truck isn?t any wider or longer going backwards than it is going forward. 
 
HappyWanderer said:
The truck isn?t any wider or longer going backwards than it is going forward.

Not exactly true. The further you have to back it, the wider it gets.  ;D ;D ;D
 
It can be a little bit unnerving initially, but you should be fine.  There just aren't that many narrow areas.  My worst case narrow area to drive, construction zone in PA,  I was driving a class A, 8.5' wide with mirrors and the sign said caution 9' wide lanes.  Pucker factor fine, but we made it OK.
 
IBTripping said:
Not exactly true. The further you have to back it, the wider it gets.

The longest I've had to back a truck was just over 3/4 of a mile. With three feet of snow on the ground, the highway department plowed the way for us on an emergency call. Of course when it was time to leave, I was blocking the plow with the fire engine. There was no way for him to maneuver around me, so backwards we went.
 
Gizmo100 said:
You get use to it if you drive it enough...The Sub compact gives you a lot of play room with the lanes and you get spoiled. But the lanes are wide enough for you RV. You just have to pay closer attention to your driving.

The only thing I watch for is low bridges. I'm running at 11 feet so anything less than 12 get my attention.

You drive usually just highways and freeways usually?

I think I'll start with hwys and freeways and when I exit never do any uturns or small residential areas lol
 
HappyWanderer said:
Driving a larger vehicle is an acquired skill. With practice, you?ll instinctively know exactly where you are in the lane and if you?ll have clearance issues. In the very unlikely event you get into a dead-end situation, simply back out. The truck isn?t any wider or longer going backwards than it is going forward.

Guess I think worse case scenario. Would suck if you had cars behind you then you realize you have to back up lol
 
HappyWanderer said:
The longest I've had to back a truck was just over 3/4 of a mile. With three feet of snow on the ground, the highway department plowed the way for us on an emergency call. Of course when it was time to leave, I was blocking the plow with the fire engine. There was no way for him to maneuver around me, so backwards we went.

Yes this is type of scenario I would freak out. In this situation is it possible to ask some driver to hop on and take over 、(with me in car of course) .. lol yes I've been living city life whole life.
 
The max width vehicle allowed on public roads w/o special permits is 8.5 feet (102") not counting awnings, mirrors. 

So any RV you buy will be very, very wide and LARGE compared to a sub compact car/SUV.  About the smallest width RV (travel trailer) which is large enough to walk into and stand up is at least 7.5' wide and most are 8'. 

Nakamuru, 
I assume that when you are driving your sub compact you "become the car".  That is as you drive you don't constantly think about where the corner of your bumpers are as you pull into a parking space, or drive near obstacles.  You KNOW that your bumper or side of your car will not hit the obstacle, just like when you walk you know (as long as you are paying attention) you know your body (shoulder/arm, etc) is not going to hit a post/wall/other person. 

Additionally, as you are driving your car, you have a very good idea where your tires are on the road so that most of the time you can aim your tires to miss a pot hole or a large rock in the road. 

So if/when you buy ANY RV you are going to have a learning curve to get to the point that you become the vehicle just like you are in the car. 

One of the things you will want to do, especially with a large vehicle, is to intentionally slowly drive to the right or left until your tires hit the lane markers in the road bed.  Only do this when there are no other vehicles around.  You want to practice to learn about when your tires are going to touch the lane markers.  You probably already know about when the tires in your car will touch the lane markers.  You just never have thought about the fact you learned this by just driving. 

I will not try to convince you that "I" feel as comfortable driving my 36' Class A RV (think of a city bus is size) as I do a regular sized car or the mid sized pick up we have.  Because I don't feel as comfortable.  Also when I first drove my then 40' Class A RV, 12 years ago, it was really intimidating.  I felt it took me about 1000 miles of driving before I felt like I "became the vehicle" and not constantly wondering where the sides and corners of the vehicle are. 

I have about 200,000 miles of driving RV's from pickup campers, travel trailers, 5th wheels, motor homes.  A lot of those miles are on 2 lane roads, in mountains, on flat lands on city streets, even single lane roads in National Forests.
 
AStravelers said:
The max width vehicle allowed on public roads w/o special permits is 8.5 feet (102") not counting awnings, mirrors. 

So any RV you buy will be very, very wide and LARGE compared to a sub compact car/SUV.  About the smallest width RV (travel trailer) which is large enough to walk into and stand up is at least 7.5' wide and most are 8'. 

Nakamuru, 
I assume that when you are driving your sub compact you "become the car".  That is as you drive you don't constantly think about where the corner of your bumpers are as you pull into a parking space, or drive near obstacles.  You KNOW that your bumper or side of your car will not hit the obstacle, just like when you walk you know (as long as you are paying attention) you know your body (shoulder/arm, etc) is not going to hit a post/wall/other person. 

Additionally, as you are driving your car, you have a very good idea where your tires are on the road so that most of the time you can aim your tires to miss a pot hole or a large rock in the road. 

So if/when you buy ANY RV you are going to have a learning curve to get to the point that you become the vehicle just like you are in the car. 

One of the things you will want to do, especially with a large vehicle, is to intentionally slowly drive to the right or left until your tires hit the lane markers in the road bed.  Only do this when there are no other vehicles around.  You want to practice to learn about when your tires are going to touch the lane markers.  You probably already know about when the tires in your car will touch the lane markers.  You just never have thought about the fact you learned this by just driving. 

I will not try to convince you that "I" feel as comfortable driving my 36' Class A RV (think of a city bus is size) as I do a regular sized car or the mid sized pick up we have.  Because I don't feel as comfortable.  Also when I first drove my then 40' Class A RV, 12 years ago, it was really intimidating.  I felt it took me about 1000 miles of driving before I felt like I "became the vehicle" and not constantly wondering where the sides and corners of the vehicle are. 

I have about 200,000 miles of driving RV's from pickup campers, travel trailers, 5th wheels, motor homes.  A lot of those miles are on 2 lane roads, in mountains, on flat lands on city streets, even single lane roads in National Forests.

That's quite amazing and inspiring.. thank you! Seems it really takes practice. But on the road one slip up can cost you big . You can be a bus or truck driver for work if your hauling that bug rig  :)
 
nakamuru said:
You drive usually just highways and freeways usually?

I think I'll start with hwys and freeways and when I exit never do any uturns or small residential areas lol

The closest interstate is 50 miles away. So I have to drive on state highways and county roads to get there.....OH but wait ....That route is in the wrong direction...So make that closer to 80 miles.

Also when we go to Arkansas it's pretty much the same story...The MIL live just past the middle of nowhere...We could take state highways to get there...But that would add hours to the trip. So the back roads are the route we take....Trust us you get use to handling it just pay close attention until you do.
 
nakamuru said:
That's quite amazing and inspiring.. thank you! Seems it really takes practice. But on the road one slip up can cost you big . You can be a bus or truck driver for work if your hauling that bug rig  :)
What I don't understand is, when I am driving on a narrow or winding road, going slow and careful, is why would I have a slip up?
  On these roads I am much more aware of my surroundings, and I am going slower than if I was on a wider, straighter road.

IMO 99% or more at fault accidents are because the driver is not concentrating on what they are doing.  No matter what the size of the rig. 

There are several million people driving or towing RV's, many of them over 30 feet long, some at 42-45 feet long.  These big ones are just like a very large city bus or Greyhound buses.  I believe, but can't point to statistics, that people in these large vehicles cause fewer accidents per mile driven than people in passenger cars and trucks.

Certainly anyone uncomfortable driving these larger vehicles or even a large sized pick up truck, should not feel like they have to drive one.  They would just be part of the population who doesn't want to go RV'ing.

However to feel that just because someone is driving one of these large vehicles is going to side swipe something, or easily get into a situation where you have to back up several hundred yards or some miles is just not supported by the experience of the vast majority of RV'ers. 
 

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