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6 things to know before you hit the road

Driving an RV is no harder than driving a car if you follow these easy tips. (And it doesn't hurt to practice before taking off on a long road trip!)

If you can drive a car, you can drive a recreational vehicle. The ease of handling even the biggest of RVs has led to the increasing popularity of traveling with your home-on-wheels. Before taking your RV out for a spin, however, review these six safe-handling tips very RV driver should know.

1. Get help parking. Have someone direct you into parking spots. If you have to handle it alone, walk around the RV before backing it into a spot. Look for pull-through parking when available!

2. Brake early It takes longer for a large vehicle such as an RV to come to a stop than it does a car or a truck. Follow at greater distances than you normally would. And watch for those who are going to pass you and cut in front. You might want to get a rear camera for your RV so you can keep better track of the traffic behind you. Don't ride the brakes either. They could get hot and stop working.

3. Watch for the wind Always keep a good grip on the wheel, especially when driving an RV with which you are not yet familiar. The wind is going to affect your driving, but it's different for each vehicle, depending on size, shape and weight distribution. Be sure to slow down in high winds.

4. Turn wide corners You are going to need a wide radius to turn. Too sharp, and you'll jump a curb or cut off a lawn. Pull farther into the intersection before starting your turn. And take it slow, watching for traffic on both sides.

5. Check height restrictions Be sure the route you choose doesn't have any low bridges or overpasses that could stop you in your tracks. Use a road atlas or a map program designed for RV travel.

6. Watch your speed An RV is much heavier than a car and will pick up speed faster on a downward slope. Watch that lead foot when doing downhill! Keeping your tires inflated to the recommended pressure will help the vehicle handle better on the road. Check tire pressure at least once a week.

Perhaps the best advice is to practice driving your RV before taking off on a big trip. Get the feel behind the wheel for more confidence — and safety — on the open road.

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