Because driving a motorhome cannot be improvised, you have to know the specifics, the potential risks and lots of little tips so that everything goes for the best! Even if the B license is sufficient and everyone can drive a motorhome, getting advice is always useful! Below are tips on how to properly drive a motorhome, as well as key things to know before you set off.
The key points for driving a motorhome
The B permit is enough!
To drive a motorhome weighing less than 3.5 tones, only the B (car) license is required. Knowing how to properly drive a motorhome, therefore, does not require a specific driving course. However, driving a motorhome is not the same as driving a car, there are all the same big differences, but don’t panic, we will detail the main ones in the following points:
A motorhome is on average 3 meters high! Keep this in mind when driving under tree branches, passing under a bridge or a toll gate, or entering a parking lot… This will avoid unpleasant surprises!
Motorhomes are more and more often equipped with radars and reversing cameras. It is a very useful accessory to help you in your maneuvers. However, keep in mind that the best reversing camera is your co-pilot!
Do not hesitate to ask your co-pilot by getting him out of the vehicle, to be guided during your maneuvers!
The weight of the camper is another element to keep in mind. The heavier the vehicle, the longer the braking time and distance. Anticipate obstacles, lift your foot and use the engine brake! In addition, you will consume less fuel …
Most motorhomes have a gross vehicle weight (GVWR) of 3.5 tonnes. This is the total weight of the vehicle not to be exceeded when driving (including passengers, luggage, full of diesel water, etc.). Beyond 3.5 tonnes, the vehicle falls into the heavy goods category. This weight is indicated in field F1 on the grey card.
The overhang of a vehicle refers to the parts of the body located between the centre line of an axle and the end of the vehicle in question. Each vehicle has a front overhang and a rear overhang. When changing the trajectory of the vehicle, the overhangs sweep on the side opposite to the change of direction by shifting.
When it comes to turning a 6, 7 or 8-meter motorhome, it’s not the same as turning a car, you have to take the overhang into account.
One piece of advice: take wide turns!
The catch in the wind
Who says height says catch in the wind! Be careful, this may surprise you at first. You may feel wobbling when the wind blows a little, when passing trucks, or entering and exiting tunnels for example. Control your speed and adapt to the conditions of the moment!
Use maps and special GPS for motorhomes
The maps and special GPS for motorhomes give you key information! They notify you in particular of narrow passages, height limitations, weight limitations.
Observe the safety distances
It is important to respect the safety distances and even more in a motorhome! On roads where your speed is greater than 90 km / h, do not hesitate to take a step back from the vehicle in front of you. Respect the safety distances will protect you in the event of sudden braking and will also allow you to avoid possible projections and thus limit the risk of glass breakage.
Installation behind the wheel
Just like driving a car, it is important to properly adjust your seat and mirrors.
To properly adjust your seat :
1. I sit in the back of the seat.
2. I adjust it so that I can fully depress the clutch pedal with my leg slightly bent. The underside of the thigh should be in contact with the seat.
3. By pressing a pedal, your heel should be able to stay in contact with the floor.
4. After adjusting the seat, make sure it is securely locked.
To properly adjust your exterior mirrors :
You should see the rear door handle in the lower right corner of the left mirror and the lower-left corner of the right mirror, without moving your body.
Checks to do before setting off
Before hitting the road, there are a few checks to do. Is the gas off? Are all windows closed? Is the tv antenna folded up?
You can reread our article our advice before hitting the road in a motorhome : complete checklist