As the weather warms, more and more RVs can be seen rolling along the highways. Driving next to such large vehicles can be intimidating, so treat RVs the same as you would a semi-truck (some RVs are nearly as large, and have similar mirror set-ups and handling abilities).
When driving near an RV, keep these five tips in mind, and practice the same precautions when you’re on the road with any large vehicle.
1. Stay out of their blind spots
The rule often seen on semi-truck bumper stickers applies here as well: If you can’t see an RV’s mirrors, the driver can’t see you. Avoid driving in an RV’s side blind spots for longer than a few seconds. The driver may try to change lanes without realizing you’re there.
2. Don’t follow too closely
The same principle applies to following too closely. If you’re right behind an RV, chances are you’re out of the driver’s line of sight. Use the 3 or 4 second rule to determine a safe driving distance.
3. Watch for right turns
Long vehicles, like trucks, buses and RVs, often have to swing into an intersection to make a wide right turn. Watch for these turns, and keep your distance until the RV has safely maneuvered through the intersection.
4. Don’t cut them off
RVs have a longer stopping distance than most cars. If passing or merging in front of a large vehicle, leave plenty of room between the RV and the space you’re moving into.
5. Let them into traffic
It’s common driving courtesy to let merging drivers onto the highway, so don’t forget to extend that courtesy to RVs. Larger vehicles have a harder time merging since they require a wider traffic opening. If an RV is trying to merge into your lane, move to an adjacent lane, or make room whenever possible.
RV safety extends to the RV drivers as well. If you own an RV, check out this list of RV safety tips from the U.S. Department of Transportation. And don’t forget to read our other posts on RV travel this month.