So you want to hire a motorhome, but are feeling a little apprehensive about driving one? It’s understandable to be nervous, especially if it is something completely new to you. There’s no need to let fear win though! We’ve put together some tips for driving a motorhome to help you navigate the roads behind the wheels. The good thing is, Camptoo has a huge selection, with plenty of different models to choose from, so you can build your confidence over time. But before you begin your journey, we have listed our top 5 tips for driving a motorhome or campervan for the first time.
Here are our top motorhome tips for beginners
1. Choose a motorhome you are comfortable with!
If you have never driven a larger vehicle before, you might want to start with smaller models just to get used to it. You may even want to hire a campervan first just to test the waters! Find plenty of easy-to-drive campervans here. Then, you can slowly start to build up to a larger 3 berth, or even a 5 berth model. As you build your confidence, you might find that you feel ready to drive one of our 6 berth selections! It’s like anything, it gets easier the more you try. There’s no need to dive into the deep end unless that’s your style, there are plenty of steps that can help you on your way.
2. Learn the limits
Different speed limits apply to each vehicle. The weight of the vehicle determines how fast the vehicle is allowed to go and each road type will have a different rule too. You can check all of the rules on the Gov website here. When you hire a motorhome, the weight and the type of the vehicle are listed on the extra details. Plus, you have direct contact with the vehicle owner if there’s anything you are unsure of. Regardless of the restrictions to it’s important to drive within your own means. Providing it’s safe, go at a speed that you feel comfortable with – and take extra precautions around the corners! This also applies to the vehicle size and height too. It’s important to know what barriers you do/don’t fit under, what spaces you can fit into and where you could potentially get stuck. A bigger vehicle also means it’s a larger braking distance.
3. Be wary of width
On average, a motorhome is one meter wider than a car. At first, this might feel a little strange, but all it means is that you will just have to spend some time getting used to it. It’s a good idea to consider driving a little closer to the pavement than you would in the car. It’s also helpful to adjust the wing mirrors so you can see where the vehicle sits on the road. You may also find that you need to take corners differently. Unlike in a car, just because the front of the vehicle is through, doesn’t mean the back will be! It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the back of the motorhome and keep straightening the wheel, before turning again, to ensure the rear wheels don’t fit a curb and cause loss of balance.
4. Ask for support (while parking)
The van life community is a very friendly one! People will be willing to help see you into a space, offer support when there are things you don’t understand and just generally give tips along the way. Don’t be afraid to ask for support when you need it. There are also many forums online that you can be a part of. Here is one you can join on Facebook to ask any questions and receive support from people with real-life experience. There are also plenty of groups that share the best places to stop. You can find ones here and here.
Parking your vehicle is likely one of the most challenging things in the beginning. Here the same principle applies. Ask your travel companion or someone else around to assist you in parking the vehicle to prevent damages.
5. Prepare the vehicle before driving
A motorhome is literally a home on wheels, meaning it’s filled with kitchen accessories, clothing and all other items you bring on a trip. All these items will start to slide around while driving. So it’s important to clean up the vehicle and close all drawers or cabinets to prevent things from breaking. Additionally, it’s very important that all windows and roof hatches are properly shut before driving off to your next destionation. We suggest to do a check-up in and outside the vehicle every time.
6. Take it slow
The whole joy of van living is to live a slower life. The joy is in the journey, so remember not to rush. Use the slower lanes, go at a pace you feel comfortable with and take time adjusting to the size of the vehicle. Parking is going to be a lot different too! So take it steady and don’t be afraid to give it multiple takes. Yes, you might find yourself amongst impatient drivers, but that’s just fine. Rushing will only make the experience more stressful, which will increase the likelihood of mistakes. The slower you go, the easier it will be to navigate.
Ready to hire a motorhome?
See, we told you it wasn’t as daunting as it sounds! All it takes is a little adjustment, practice and confidence to drive a motorhome. If you feel ready to give it a try, choose from our extensive selection to find one that feels comfortable for you. Or, if you want to build your confidence, begin with hiring a campervan. As mentioned, you have direct contact with the owner for any questions. Plus, everything is insured with your booking too.