Renting Travel Tips

Tips for First-time RV Drivers

Written by Rachel Simpson

As automotive technology improves, driving larger vehicles safely on most roads becomes easier every year. That being said, driving an RV for the first time still requires some practice and a little study in advance. It doesn’t matter if you are buying an RV or just renting one, preparation and practice matter. To make your first time driving an RV a positive experience, here are some tips for first time RV drivers:

Always Take a Practice Drive

Hop into the cab or driver’s seat of your RV. Get comfy. Adjust the mirrors, seat belt height, lumbar support, and armrests. Make sure you can easily turn your head to see in all directions. Check your view in the mirrors. Then start up the RV and take it for a drive around a big parking lot. Practice backing up, turning in both directions, braking, and parking in a space. All of these activities are going to look, feel, and happen differently than in a car, minivan, or SUV. Then try a drive on the highway or road. If you want to be in full control of your RV before your trip, definitely take that practice drive under controlled conditions.

Familiarize Yourself With Your RV’s Height

Generally, the average height of a Class A RV is 10-14 feet, which is 2 feet shorter than the average overpass height. Here’s the tricky part: fast food drive-thrus, bank drive-thrus, and most other businesses have only 10 foot clearance. There are also some railroad bridges and traffic bridges that have 10 foot clearance as well. Find out the exact height of your RV and tape it to the dash in numbers large enough to see clearly while driving. This little trick may just save your RV from a very expensive and dangerous accident.

Plan Out Your Fuel Stops Carefully

Stopping off for fuel at a regular gas station is generally a bad idea when driving an RV. It is far too easy to cause or be involved in a dangerous accident, and maneuvering in the tight spaces of a small gas station can be challenging even for experienced RV drivers. As you plan your trip, locate truck stops and larger interstate refueling stations that can accommodate your RV. Chains such as Love’s, TA Travel Centers, and Pilot Travel Centers in the United States are all known for their spacious refueling layouts and ease of access for anyone driving a larger vehicle. It’s also a good idea to have someone outside the RV guiding you as you pull up to the pump too for safety’s sake.

Choose Your Route To Minimize Stress

Driving is half the battle when it comes to making your first trip in an RV. The actual execution of a travel plan on a timeline can be nerve wracking if you’ve never done it before. Prepare in advance to keep yourself from stressing out or panicking along the way. First, always reserve spots in RV parks where you plan to make your stops. Reservations day to day can fill up fast, and if you’ve been driving all day and you don’t want to be “boondocking” in a Walmart parking lot with no RV hookups, you need to make sure your space is saved where you stop for the day. Book online from your smartphone, and make sure that when you stop for the night that you can rest easy with all of your RV amenities available.


Your first time in an RV can be smooth and easy if you practice and prepare in advance. Follow the tips above to get yourself ready, and get the most out of your first RV adventure. And when you’re ready to go, rent an RV with Mighway, and let the journey unfold!

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