RVs are massive vehicles and can be a little intimidating when you first start out. Learning to drive an RV is similar to learning the basics of driving all over again.
We've created this checklist so you can feel confident driving your first time around.
1) How tall are you?
Measure your RV before you head out for the first time. You never want to be in a situation where a sign warns of a low bridge and you have no clue if you're going to make it or not.
When we measured our RV we rounded up to the nearest foot to make sure we would never chance hitting something shorter than us. Make sure to include your AC or rooftop carrier if you have one!
2) Put your steps up.
Those steps are a lot handier when they're still attached to your RV. Make sure to always double check your steps.
We have a bungee cord that holds up our steps or else they tend to slide down while we're driving. If you're unsure about your steps, take the necessary safety precautions to prevent accidents before they happen.
3) Check your exterior lights.
Before hopping in your RV for the first time be sure to check all of your exterior lights. Have someone (or yourself) watch the outside of the RV as you try your headlights, brights, blinkers (front and back), and brake lights.
These lights are super important and can reduce your chance of accidents.
4) Know your gas tank size.
Knowing the size of your gas tank is handy information to have, especially when you're running low on gas. This can typically be found in the manual of your RV, or Google is always a helpful tool.
Always check to make sure your source of gas in your RV is turned off before driving.
Our propane tank and valve are on the passenger side of our RV. Know where your's is before heading out.
6) Know your weight.
In most small towns there's a road or two that has a weight limit. Knowing your weight can save you from an "uhhhhh" moment when you come across a sign with a weight limit.
Your title should put you in a specific weight class but,you can also take your RV to weigh stations at Pilot and Flying J truck stops.
7) Lock your door.
The last thing you want while driving down the highway is for your backdoor to come flying open. Not only could that damage your door, you could also lose the precious cargo inside your RV. While I don't expect your door to open while on the road, its always better to be safe than sorry.
Also check your exterior storage doors to make sure they're fastened tightly, we've had our panel open up while driving and we didn't notice until the next time we filled up with gas.
8) Secure the inside.
Before taking off take a good look inside your RV to make sure all the items in closets and cupboards are all secured. Most cupboards will have latches that they fasten into.
The kitchen is usually the place I direct most my attention to. We have glass bottles and cups that need to be secured so they don't slam into each other. We often put miscellaneous items in our kitchen and bathroom sink so that they don't roll around.
9) Adjust your seat and mirrors.
This is a pretty basic driving rule in general. No one likes to start a drive in an uncomfortable seat or with mirrors you can't see out of.
Some RV mirrors are bolted in, depending on the age of your RV, so be sure to adjust these before you set out as you won't be able to do it as your get moving.
If you have an EZ Pass make sure you have the correct corresponder for the weight of your RV. If you know you'll be driving on highways its always a good idea to carry some cash on you. There's a chance that the toll road you're on could charge more than you're used to due to the weight or number of axles on your vehicle.
Knowing all these things before you hop in your RV for the first time will help your drive run smoothly. We always take one lap around the exterior of our RV to make sure everything is secured and ready to go!
As you get used to driving your RV you'll develop a checklist of your own. Remember to always be on the lookout and be aware of your surroundings