Defensive Driving

Most folks are taught defensive driving during Drivers Education classes in high school. Navigating an RV requires some of the same techniques that will help you avoid road collisions.

Practice Defensive Driving

Let's review! Defensive driving is taking precautionary measures to prevent accidents and ensure your passengers safety. As captain of your RV you should make a habit of always driving defensively. Some maneuvers may seem routine, but you should not let your guard down while navigating your RV.

Driving Tips

Defensive RV Driving
  • Learn to recognize and react to potential emergencies and driving hazards on the road.

  • Be prepared for anything. We once saw a truck hit a car resulting in bodies tossed from the vehicle right in front of us! We had to maneuver quickly in order not to run over these unfortunate people! Another time we witnessed a car flipping over after it had been speeding and dodging through traffic! In a large vehicle it takes more time to stop, so be prepared. The more time you spend on the road the more your likely you are to witness problems.

  • Practice driver safety. Don't count on other drivers to be safe - Some will, and some won't.

  • Scan your surroundings and use your mirrors.

  • Allow enough room to take action if something occurs.

  • Make a habit to plan your moves ahead. If trouble happens, don't hesitate to follow through with your plan.

Navigating Turns and Intersections

  • Knowing your vehicle is key to navigating turns and intersections.

  • Slow down and signal early as you approach your turn.

  • Know where your RV is in relation to other vehicles on the road.

  • When turning right; pull into the intersection before you begin to turn. Watch your right mirror for vehicles turning into your path.

  • For left turns keep your RV to the right side of your lane and begin turning once you're halfway past the center of the intersection. Again, watch your mirrors, and your left mirror to avoid other vehicles.

  • Move slowly! Excessive speed will not allow you to make adjustments in your turns decreasing vehicle safety.


  • Never assume the marked heights are correct. Road repairs can significantly reduce the clearance significantly.

  • Whenever possible avoid unmarked underpasses.

  • Approach slowly and turn on your flashers.

  • Watch for "bridging" where the road may slope on both sides. The clearance may be for the center of the underpass, while the sides have a reduced clearance.

Merging and Passing

  • Signal early and watch your mirrors.

  • Be aware of your blind spots.

  • Leave a 2-secong gap behind your trailer or RV when passing, and stay to the far left of your lane to avoid sideswiping other vehicles.

Defensive Driving Safety Tips!

Stay alert and be prepared to stop, learn to recognize hazards, and take appropriate action. Anticipate unsafe maneuvers of other driver's, keep checking your mirrors, give the right-of-way to others. Use headlights in rain, snow, fog and of course at night. Staying aware of your rig and your surroundings will keep you and your passengers safer on the road when trailer driving.

More Defensive Driving and Driving Safely Tips