Special License For Rv Drivers

Discussion in 'General Community Discussions' started by fpullanosr, May 5, 2013.

  1. EastPAcamper

    EastPAcamper
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    QUOTE(spartancaver @ Jun 22 2013, 06:57 AM) [snapback]33867[/snapback]

    If bus drivers need their own license, I do not see why Big Rig drivers should be exempt just because they are private individuals. As has been stated before, I too have seen drivers exit their Big Rig using a walker, taking 10 minutes to walk the length of their RV.



    Sorry, but just because someone has a walker and walks slow, does not mean they cannot operate an RV in a safe manner. My Pops is 73 and can tow just about anything, not to mention could go through a coned course backing a trailer all the way through.
    Remember that a bus driver is an occupation in which the operator is responsible for the passengers on the bus, therefore they need some sort of credentials to show that he/she is able to perform his/her job the safest way he/she can. IMO, it's a big difference from an big rig operator. just sayin...................
     
  2. susseandchris

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    I am anticipating purchasing a fifth wheel and truck in the next few months. I do not have experience driving such heavy vehicles and I am very concerned about the people out there who do not possess the skills to drive these rigs safely. I very much want to find a way to train in safe big rig driving. In Ontario I would need to upgrade to an 'A restricted' licence since the vehicles I anticipate buying are well over the 23,500 pound weight which is the upper limit for using your regular licence. My question is: where does one find driver training for big rigs? You can go to tractor-trailer school here, but it costs approximately $9,000 to take the course! I would sure welcome some ideas here!
     
  3. Galli

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    QUOTE(susseandchris @ Aug 28 2013, 11:31 AM) [snapback]34581[/snapback]

    I am anticipating purchasing a fifth wheel and truck in the next few months. I do not have experience driving such heavy vehicles and I am very concerned about the people out there who do not possess the skills to drive these rigs safely. I very much want to find a way to train in safe big rig driving. In Ontario I would need to upgrade to an 'A restricted' licence since the vehicles I anticipate buying are well over the 23,500 pound weight which is the upper limit for using your regular licence. My question is: where does one find driver training for big rigs? You can go to tractor-trailer school here, but it costs approximately $9,000 to take the course! I would sure welcome some ideas here!


    Good question and concern, when I bought my truck and 5th W. I contracted with the dealer that he/she should give me some practical lessons in driving with all equipment. other suggestion would be to befriend a person with a similar equipment and ask him/her to help you.
    According to my own experience and if you are a reasonable person , it is not difficult, the main concern is, keep low speed until you feel familiar with the system, also remember, the truck and trailer DO NOT break at the same SPEED as a car, YOU NEED more space and when you are passing an other vehicle, keep on the left as long as you can and then keep the directional light working on the right that will show that you are planning to go back to the right side, most likely, if you pass a truck, they will flash their lights to let you know that the time for you to go back on the right.
    Furthermore, remember to monitor the maximum weight that you are allow to carry versus what you put into the unit; most likely you will find the specification closed to the door of the camper/RV/M.H…etc. you will find the unit weight and the maximum wait you will be allowed to have.
    I apology if you felt that I was explaining obvious things to you, it was not my intent. GOOD LUCK
     
  4. EastPAcamper

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    QUOTE(susseandchris @ Aug 28 2013, 02:31 PM) [snapback]34581[/snapback]

    I am anticipating purchasing a fifth wheel and truck in the next few months. I do not have experience driving such heavy vehicles and I am very concerned about the people out there who do not possess the skills to drive these rigs safely. I very much want to find a way to train in safe big rig driving. In Ontario I would need to upgrade to an 'A restricted' licence since the vehicles I anticipate buying are well over the 23,500 pound weight which is the upper limit for using your regular licence. My question is: where does one find driver training for big rigs? You can go to tractor-trailer school here, but it costs approximately $9,000 to take the course! I would sure welcome some ideas here!




    There is some information in the form of video and text on the web, there are even some books out that give a general run down on how to operate a large travel trailer. Like the last person said, the RV dealer should offer you a quick course, and it will be quick. Large empty parking lots are a good place to practice backing up, using the stalls to back into. When I was 13, and old timer taught me this trick for backing up with a trailer. Place your hand at 6 o'clock on the steering wheel, which ever way you want the trailer to go, more your hand(and the wheel) to that direction. Eventually it becomes second nature. Again, like the other person said, keep a safe following distance, you have two to three times the weight behind you, not to mention the momentum. Paying attention to the mirrors at all times is also key, some people will be trying to weave around you on the road, always and frequently watch the outside mirrors. I drive 60-65 on the interstate with my MH, don't care if the speed limit is 75, I stay right and signal all lane changes. On long trips , I do a walk around and inspection of lights, tires, etc, usually during fuel stops sometimes a little more frequent. Most of my trips are usually less than 4 hours of driving. I do on occasion get some trips that are longer, but not near as many as I'd like.......
     
  5. Galli

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    QUOTE(EastPAcamper @ Sep 2 2013, 07:45 AM) [snapback]34631[/snapback]

    There is some information in the form of video and text on the web, there are even some books out that give a general run down on how to operate a large travel trailer. Like the last person said, the RV dealer should offer you a quick course, and it will be quick. Large empty parking lots are a good place to practice backing up, using the stalls to back into. When I was 13, and old timer taught me this trick for backing up with a trailer. Place your hand at 6 o'clock on the steering wheel, which ever way you want the trailer to go, more your hand(and the wheel) to that direction. Eventually it becomes second nature. Again, like the other person said, keep a safe following distance, you have two to three times the weight behind you, not to mention the momentum. Paying attention to the mirrors at all times is also key, some people will be trying to weave around you on the road, always and frequently watch the outside mirrors. I drive 60-65 on the interstate with my MH, don't care if the speed limit is 75, I stay right and signal all lane changes. On long trips , I do a walk around and inspection of lights, tires, etc, usually during fuel stops sometimes a little more frequent. Most of my trips are usually less than 4 hours of driving. I do on occasion get some trips that are longer, but not near as many as I'd like.......


    EastPAcamper', you are talking like a printed book, I could not explain the issue better. and as safety feature, every time you stop for gas, make a tour around the unit and see if anything looks awkward
     
  6. EastPAcamper

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    QUOTE(Galli @ Sep 2 2013, 11:39 AM) [snapback]34633[/snapback]

    EastPAcamper', you are talking like a printed book, I could not explain the issue better. and as safety feature, every time you stop for gas, make a tour around the unit and see if anything looks awkward



    Sorry if I sound like a book, a printed one at that........ :lol:
    Just trying to help where I can, recently, I've seen two too many RV people with flipped rigs on the interstate. I can only guess it was due to negligence or operator error, since they were both single vehicle incidents.
     
  7. Fours

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    I have a Class A gasser. Not the biggest on the road but big enough. As it currently stands, I have to have no additional endorsements than I would need to drive a Pinto. Now I am a good driver and tend to learn quickly but these vehicles are very different than your standard automobile and require a deft touch and good judgments much more often than your basic car. So in short, yes, when you start hauling huge 5th wheels, or driving bus sized vehicles, it only makes sense that some additional training be required. A pain in the neck yes, but when these things go wrong, they can go really wrong! There are far too many "trust to luck" types out there to leave it unregulated.
     
  8. BankShot

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    I see that this thread is over 3 years old now and in that time I can also say that from what everyone has said so far, nothing much has changed with regards to certain RVers having the common sense of a brick. There hasn't been a single trip for us to date where we haven't run into some idiot either towing a large trailer/5ver or driving a large Class A that under no circumstances should they be doing so. It's odd that when you buy a motorcycle you have to take a test and pass it to get your driver's license stamped with an "M1" rating and yet you can walk into an RV dealer, sign the papers, and drive out in your brand new 35' Class A motorhome without so much as maybe a few "words of wisdom" from the salesperson who sold it to you. Thankfully when we bought ours we had a guy take us out into a huge empty parking lot and I drove it around, making left and right turns between cement posts and the like, as well as stopping and starting and in general getting some idea of what I had just gotten myself into. And when we went to pick it up a few days later, that same guy took us out onto the open road (I-80...!!!) and I put about a hour on it driving it under his guidance. Once I had the feel for what I had behind me along with the fact I could see this thing was not going to stop quickly and how it handled, etc., I felt a bit more at ease. And then I was thrown to the dogs as my significant other climbed into the car and said, "I'll see you when you get it home honey". And that was it, I had to make that 75 mile drive on I-80 all by my lonesome, and my knuckles were white the entire drive home. I stayed in the right lane and also watched carefully for vehicles entering the freeway. I kept my eyes centered in my lane while also watching the white lines in each mirror to make sure I was "fairly centered" in my lane. The first big semi that came by me on the left was really nerve wracking and after he passed me I breathed a big sigh of relief. I had survived that encounter. Next thing I knew I had to move into the middle lane as there were some slow moving utility vehicles in the right lane ahead. I decided to stay in that lane for a few miles just to get used to having vehicles on both sides of me. Well I got my wish, next thing I knew I had a semi passing me on the right at the same time one behind me decided to pass me on the left. Good thing my SO drove home in the car or she would have witnessed a grown man crap in his pants.......:eek:

    I agree we all live with way too many "laws" but at the same time I feel that there should be some kind of course that anyone buying a large RV should have to take and pass before they are allowed to drive it. I would have gladly taken it had there been one. We've seen it all out there on the highways and byways and there is a saying that "You can't cure stupid". It amazes me some of the things that "stupid" people pull when operating an RV, that could and sometimes does, end up badly injuring or killing themselves and others they involve by their stupidity. I just wish some of them would READ all these posts on this thread BEFORE venturing out onto the road to create their havoc and destruction they are so very capable of doing, stupid or not......o_O

    This is my two cents worth on the subject and I'm stickin' to it.............

    Regards, BankShot............(aka Terry)
     
  9. Pete_by_the_river

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    My first RV was a 43' Wanderlodge (purchased used). I had some previous big rig driving experience -- in the U.S. Army more than 30 years before I got the RV. In the interim I'd driven a rental truck less than half the length of my RV on a few occasions.

    In California, RVs over 40' require a "non-commercial Class B" driver's license. (This is sometimes referred to as a "firetruck driver's license.") In view of a required driving test, I first arranged to take a 2-day lesson with an RV driving school. The trainer had been driving big rigs (trucks) for most of his working career and had also been a certified trainer with a large motor carrier. He also had significant experience driving a large RV (at the time I took the training, he had a converted Eagle bus as an RV).

    After the training, I made an appointment with the DMV for a driving test (I'd already completed the written test and other paperwork involved). Unfortunately, the DMV only gives "commercial level" driving tests at a limited number of locations. The most reasonable DMV office was located near the Oakland (CA) Coliseum (on the shore of San Francisco Bay). One of the requirements was to "show competency" driving in hilly terrain. To reach "the hills" -- I had to cross downtown Oakland to reach some hilly streets. That was not a realization at the time I made the DMV appointment. I will say that driving through narrow streets and busy downtown traffic was quite an experience. I passed with only a few points lost (I botched the "back in to campsite" test, losing a couple of points.)

    The discomforting reality that had I purchased a 40' rig, I would not have had to take the driving test ... and I would have had no incentive to take the driver training course. While the driving test was somewhat lame (and hardly realistic, based on my experiences on the road), the training course was of great value. I recommend taking such a course to any inexperienced RV driver.

    I note that the first year of ownership I had several incidents (mostly just embarrassing) that reflected my inexperience -- and I recall taking several roads (side roads) that truly terrified me in those first months of ownership. I note that when I negotiated one of those "terrifying" roads after a couple years of ownership, I actually wondered why I was so concerned! (Amazing what experience does for you...)

    The one thing that the "non-commercial class B" license required was a physical exam and sign off by a physician every other year. This was an awkward requirement that never 'matched up" with my regular physicals -- and the medical system required a payment of $50 to fill out the form. California does offer "self health certification" in some other license categories (no doctor signature required).

    I have now moved to Washington state ... and was shocked when I researched driver's license requirements ... and found that RVs had no specific requirement beyond the base driver's license regardless of size, weight, or any other factor.

    I would guess that the number of RV-involved traffic accidents (along with political pressures) are such that the legislature (of most states) has avoided making additional regulation in this area.

    FWIW, I now drive a Class B RV, based on a Sprinter Van. It is SO much easier to drive than the 43' monster. But these days, I'm not traveling as far or as long as I did with the big rig RV.
     
  10. Geppetto

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    New regulation should resolve an existing problem.
    I do not recall seeing one instance of major disaster caused by campers, trailers or motor-homes on the 6:00PM news.
    We see a recurrence of usual problems on the 6:00PM news that in my opinion beg for priority solution.
    In an ideal world everyone would be trained and certified but regulations must be balanced and designed to achieve a common good greater than the negative impact.
     
  11. Fours

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    With respect, it isn't hard to find instances of where driver's of big rigs or rigs with trailers have gotten themselves into trouble. Just search youtube. The truth is that even drivers of regular vehicles could do with a refresher once in awhile. We don't let professional truckers on the roads without some additional certification, so why would we let someone drive the equivalent of a Greyhound Bus without having to do some additional training is beyond me. It won't prevent everything but it sure would help. Somehow, a weekend worth of driver training doesn't seem too onerous a price to pay.
     
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  12. Florida Native

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    Some states require an air brake endorsement. Here it takes a half day course.
     
  13. Tallboy

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    When we were going to go full time RVing with our truck and trailer I asked three truck driver friends for advice. Got a lot of great answers. I don't have a special license. After almost twelve years of driving the truck pulling the trailer that if I have to get a special license that is fine with me, but I think there are a lot of car and pickup drivers that need a refresher course on driving. I have more problems on the road with idiots in pickups and cars then with RVers doing something stupid.
     
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  14. BankShot

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    [QUOTE="Tallboy, post: 50371, member: 1847" I have more problems on the road with idiots in pickups and cars then with RVers doing something stupid.[/QUOTE]

    Ditto that......!!! In our years of RVing we have yet to encounter a problem with another RVer out on the road. But I can't even begin to count the number of stupid drivers in cars and pickup trucks that have caused us to almost swervie off the road a couple of times. And of course my pet peeve with them is when they come down a freeway or interstate on ramp and "try miserably" to merge with traffic. I recently installed an air horn on our coach and I just know that on our next trip it is going to get used, although I am hoping I never have to use it. Yeah, fat chance of that................ :rolleyes:

    Bankshot............(aka Terry)
     
  15. Tallboy

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    Our truck has an air horn. I quit using it years ago. Just use it when kids and some adults do the tug the arm thing. Will pull it then if there isn't much traffic around.

    Reasons I don't use the air horn..
    1. Drivers ignore it anyway.
    2. Get flipped off a lot.
    3. Been brake checked.
    4. Lots of drivers with mental problems. Never know what they might do.

    I just drive like I'm invisible. Got that from riding motorcycles for thirty years. Although I think car and pickup drivers are worse when I'm driving our truck pulling the trailer then it ever has been riding a motorcycle.

    Hope you have better luck with your air horn. :)
     
  16. BankShot

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    I have no plans to use it other than for situations where I deem it necessary to be heard for us to be seen. I installed it so it can be used alone or along with the stock horn on the coach, which is actually pretty loud itself. The frequencies of both horns together produce a sound much like that of a diesel locomotive and are right up there on the decibel level also. I agree about there being a bunch of wingnuts out there that would rather shoot at you than flip you off so I did make my significant other a promise that I would only use it when there was a real need for it to be used and I plan on keeping that promise. Although I might be really tempted to use it if a little old guy wearing a hat and driving a Nash Rambler were to pull in front of us and then slow down to 35 mph on the interstate....... :D

    Regards, BankShot...........(aka Terry)
     
  17. Fours

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    In my neck of the woods, you need an air endorsement on your license. That means 16 hours of theory, a pre-trip inspection test and a written knowledge test. From beginning to end, it took me a total of 5 days, one weekend of theory, and a couple of days before I took the written test. Now that might not make me a better driver but it sure makes me a more knowledgeable one. Never having had anything to do with air brakes previously and not really knowing anyone who drives for a living with air, there is no other way I could have done it. I can tell you, knowing how an air system works, how to check for proper adjustment, how the compressor and governor work, what are normative levels of pressure for such a system etc, etc, is a big help. I feel much more confident now about moving up to a bigger rig. They also include information on proper use of a compression brake, safety systems for air loss and detailed explanations of the parking brakes and how they function.
     
  18. mikel

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    Bus or Monster RV maybe. But people are people license on not. How about more teaching to the smart car or sports car that zips in front of you before a red light or turn. I approach the situations slow and at a distance already, but stopping 40' of motorhome towing a jeep don't happen on the dime.
     
  19. Frank & Mary

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    After reading many of the responses, I tend to agree that a license "Can't Fix Stupid".
     
  20. JGockel

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    Yes they should at least take a class and probably should get a special license. Some drivers I have seen are not physically able to handle big rigs. It's scary to see them exit hardly able to walk and needing a cane or walker
     

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