Owning a motorhome can be a wonderfully liberating experience but sometimes the prospect of driving such a large vehicle can be a worrying thought. While having motorhome insurance will help alleviate some of those concerns, there’s no substitute for getting behind the wheel and having some intense practice under the watchful eye of an expert.
The Camping and Caravanning Club runs a highly regarded motorhome manoeuvring course to help build the confidence of both old and new motorhomers.
What is the course?
The course provides a mixture of classroom presentations and practical sessions to teach you about the implications of driving such a large vehicle, how to reverse confidently and how to safely load your motorhome before setting off.
The course also includes a one-to-one driving session with a specialist driving instructor who’ll assess your driving and give you some invaluable practical advice on how you could improve.
You’ll need your own motorhome to take part as well as driving licence, insurance and MOT.
The one-day course usually takes place on the weekend and costs £150 for a club member and £175 for a non-member.
Why would you need it?
The course isn’t just designed for newcomers to motor homing but also for those looking to brush up on their skills, perhaps after a few years away from touring.
With driver tiredness such a factor in traffic accidents on UK roads, sharing the driving is an important part of keeping you and your travelling companions safe.
The course is a great way for a partner to gain the confidence to help share the driving duties on future holidays.
If you’re sharing the driving you’ll both need to be covered by motorhome insurance.
Tips for confident driving
As with driving any vehicle larger than the average car, manoeuvring a motorhome takes some extra care when turning, accelerating, breaking and parking.
Giving yourself sufficient time and space is crucial to driving safely.
When driving your motorhome, make sure to remember the following:
- Beware of taking corners too sharply – it’s easy for your long vehicle to clip kerbs or cut corners.
- Break early – your vehicle’s extra weight gives it a longer stopping distance than usual. You might lose control if you have to brake too sharply.
- Accelerate smoothly and slowly to keep control – it also helps fuel consumption and prevents wear and tear to the engine.
- Check the legal speed limits for your motorhome – an unladen motorhome exceeding 3050kg is subject to different speed limits than normal vehicles.
- If you’re causing a backlog of traffic, pulling over in a safe place is the best way to minimise accidents arising from impatient drivers.
- Take extra care when overtaking motorbikes, cyclists and horses, especially if your vehicle is high sided.
- Know your blind spots. Every motorhome will have them so be aware of yours. Use additional blind spot mirrors on wing mirrors to give you greater visibility of what’s behind.
- Look high as well as wide. Not only is your vehicle wide but it’s also tall, so you’ll encounter obstacles you wouldn’t normally consider. For example, often car parks have a height barrier, so know the height of your motorhome before entering. Perhaps have a windscreen sticker to remind you of your dimensions.
- Don’t forget fittings like bike racks or tow bars that may be outside your field of vision and create a hazard when manoeuvring.
- If you’ve fitted a camera to help with reversing, then site it in a location where it can’t get accidentally damaged. You also want to protect the lens from picking up any dirt and obscuring your view. Regular cleaning is important.
In addition to this advice, you need to take extra special care when reversing. Here are some specific tips for that eventuality.
- Don’t reverse – it may be easier said than done but the number one tip is to try and get into a situation where you don’t have to do any reversing at all. Not reversing is always the best option.
- Use your passengers – four eyes are better than two. If possible, get a passenger out to one side to keep a watchful eye as you reverse. Make sure you have an agreed set of hand gestures so they can guide you and let you know when to stop. Whatever happens, never allow a passenger to stand between the vehicle and another solid object (such as another vehicle or brick wall).
- Assess the situation – particularly if you’ve no one else to help you, there’s absolutely no harm in getting out and having a good look around before you attempt any reversing manoeuvres. Consider all the angles and options and if you need to recheck then do so. Remember, you aren’t in a race.
- Take it slow and steady – the slower you drive in reverse, the easier it becomes. Avoid serious damage to your motorhome and other vehicles by taking it easy.
- Get some gadgetry – invest in reversing cameras, parking sensors or add on mirrors if your motorhome has none fitted. However, technology is no substitute for common sense. Don’t rely on the latest gadget completely to solve your reversing conundrum.
Protect yourself with motorhome insurance
As well as getting it right on the manoeuvring, take the time to arrange that all-important part of the pre-trip puzzle: motorhome insurance.
By speaking to the dedicated team at Motorhome Protect you’ll find the ideal insurance policy to let you enjoy your special time together knowing you’re protected whatever you encounter.
With its wealth of experience in this specialist insurance market Motorhome Protect can provide a range of quotes on motorhome insurance that could include the following benefits:
- Unlimited cover across all the countries that are part of the European Union.
- Cover of camping personal effects for up to £3,000.
- Up to 6 months to complete a self-restoration.
- Cover for motorhomes with a value up to £150,000.
- Unlimited mileage cover.
- Consideration of all claims and convictions.
Call Motorhome Protect now to protect your home on wheels.