RV Driving Techniques   – Caravan & Camping SA

RV Driving Techniques

Embarking on the journey of towing, especially if you’re new to the experience or accustomed to towing smaller vehicles, can undoubtedly trigger a sense of apprehension.  

Before you set out, it’s paramount to ensure your vehicle is equipped with the right towing capacity and gear to match the load of your RV, distributed evenly for optimal balance. 

Remember, nailing the correct setup is just the first step. Once you’re on the road, here’s some helpful insights to keep in mind: 

Adjusting Acceleration 

Towing inevitably curbs your acceleration potential. Consider extending your time in each gear (for manual transmissions) or utilising the selector lever judiciously to manage gear changes, particularly when tackling inclines (for automatic transmissions). 

Cruise Control Caution 

At higher speeds, exercising caution with cruise control is advised. The added length and weight of the RV can make handling more intricate. 

Space for Safety 

To ensure safe passage for others, maintain a substantial 60-meter distance from the vehicle ahead. This ensures overtaking vehicles have the room they need. 

Vigilant Monitoring 

Keep a watchful eye on your rear-view mirror to detect swifter vehicles. If it’s a truck or bus seeking to pass, ensure it’s done smoothly and promptly. When conditions allow, veer left to facilitate overtaking, gently easing off the accelerator for a safer pass. 

Strategic Overtaking 

When overtaking, factor in the extended length of your setup. The reduced acceleration while towing requires a longer gap before merging back into the left lane. Always be vigilant about faster vehicles approaching from behind before executing an overtaking manoeuvre. 

Savvy Hill Approaches 

When approaching an incline, consider subtly increasing your speed prior to reaching the uphill section. This eases the uphill climb. If your speed dips noticeably, downshift early to alleviate engine strain. 

Downhill Management 

As you approach the crest of a hill, decelerate and shift into a lower gear in anticipation of the downhill stretch, especially on steeper slopes. This minimises the requirement for excessive braking, preventing an unstable situation. Never attempt to overtake when descending. 

Mind Speed Limits 

Be mindful that in some states, speed limits might be lower when towing an RV, even if not indicated by signs. 

Fuel-Efficient Driving Techniques: 

Gentle Acceleration 

Smooth, gradual acceleration trumps rapid, forceful inputs. 

Anticipate Traffic Flow 

Stay alert to traffic movements ahead, reducing the need for frequent braking. 

Regular Maintenance 

Maintain your vehicle through regular servicing. 

Engine Stress Reduction 

Tailor your speed to your vehicle’s capacity while towing, alleviating engine strain. 

Towing, with its nuances, presents a learning curve. Driver training courses, especially if you are new to towing, will help you to tackle the road with increased confidence.