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Tips for Beginners Learning to Drive an RV

“The vast majority of people have no problem jumping into an RV and driving it with no issues whatsoever,” says Rick Lang, AMA’s manager of novice operations for driver education.

“The biggest challenge is that it’s a little wider, a lot taller and usually much longer. When you get into close proximity situations — like backing up in a campground—things can happen.”

An Alberta driver with a regular Class 5 licence is allowed to drive almost any size of RV, provided it’s not equipped with air brakes. AMA offers RV Smart, a four-hour course, during which the instructor rides along with the RV driver and passenger to teach them how to safely control this larger vehicle.

Instruction focuses on safety, towing, braking, parking, hazard awareness and accident prevention. Instructors show techniques for backing up and going around tight corners, as well as making more frequent mirror checks and looking farther ahead on the road.

“We can improve virtually anyone’s ability to drive,” Lang adds. Passengers also benefit from instruction: “Sooner or later, for whatever reason, a passenger may also be required to drive this thing. It’s better to do so in a controlled situation, with an instructor, rather than all of a sudden you’re out there by yourself and you have no clue.”