RV Vacations: Avoid These Driving Obstacles At All Costs

By Kyle & Olivia Brady | Founders of Drivin' & Vibin' | We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

RV Vacations: Avoid These Driving Obstacles At All Costs

If you’re planning your first RV vacation this summer, here’s an article just for you!

RVing is a great way to connect with your family, explore the wonders of America and control your environment (important in our current times).

However, there are a few serious driving obstacles you must avoid. If you don’t, you’ll be butt-clinched and white-knuckled the whole trip!

We’re sharing this with you from a place of honest experience. My wife and I became full time RVers five years ago with absolutely no previous RV towing skills. We learned all of these challenges the hard way.

Let’s dive in.

Steep Mountain Passes

Whether you’re visiting the western rockies or the southern smokies, steep mountain passes will terrify the uninitiated.

There are two main issues to consider.

  • Does your truck have enough power? You’ll quickly figure out if your tow vehicle can handle the weight of your camper trailer. If you’re underpowered, a 15mph slog up the mountain can be embarrassing and stressful.
  • Do you know how to brake on the way down? Motorhomes and trucks-in-tow both have challenges braking on the way down a mountain. You must know when to brake with your transmission and brake with your actual brakes. Don’t end up on the feared runaway ramp!

Downtown Driving

The quickest way to receive honks (and get in a fender bender) is by driving your RV through downtown streets.

We’re not only talking about New York and San Francisco, we’re talking about Bisbee, Durango and Savannah. Any downtown, no matter how big or small, will be challenging to drive your RV though.

It’s easy to side-swipe parked cars or run into powerlines.

Never route your RV across the city center!

Low Hanging Bridges aka Can-Openers

You’ve probably seen picture of trucks who’ve unsuccessfully passed under a bridge.

This could be you in your RV!

Do you know the exact height of your rig? Do you trust the displayed height on the roadside sign (let’s hope they haven’t repaved recently).

We recommend keeping your exact height measurements on your dash just in case you forget.

Tunnels (Some Don’t Allow RV Traffic)

Believe it or not, some tunnels forbid RVs to enter. Here’s the reason – propane is heavier than air. If you carry propane (almost all RVs do) and get an in accident in a tunnel, it will be very hard to extract the escaped propane.

Not to mention, some RV drivers are simply scared to tow through a tunnel. It’s understandable. The lanes are narrow and its rather claustrophobic.

Tolls – In an RV, Fees Add Up Quickly

Tolls are an unpleasant part of any road trip vacation. In an RV, it’s even worse.

Many toll plazas charge per axel (let’s hope you don’t have a triple axel 5th wheel RV).

Sometimes you can’t avoid them, but many times you can!

How To Avoid All Of These RV Driving Obstacles?

The answer is simple – use the right tool! We use a program called RV Trip Wizard. It lets us input our unique RV specs and travel style. With that info, it routes us on an RV safe path (avoiding the previously stated obstacles).

You can also use a stand alone GPS unit (like a Garmin). However, those cost a couple hundred bucks. We’re cheap…I mean frugal. RV Trip Wizard costs well under $100.

Once You Become an RV Driving Pro – Take an Adventure Off Grid to Try Free Camping!

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy). You should give it a try!

Here’s our list of the 20 Best Free Campsites in the USA.

If you haven’t tried free camping before, also known as boondocking, take a look at our beginners guide to boondocking filled with everything you need to know to get started.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! Simply enter your email below.

2 comments

  1. The biggest one for me was don’t exceed my wife’s distance limitations even though I want to keep going. She wanted to stop about four or five in the afternoon. I wanted to keep going to midnight. If I didn’t stop and hit a campground before dinner, we had a problem, taking the word pleasant out of the trip. Since she passed away, of course it has become a different story, but one I remember very well!!

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