Congratulations on buying your first RV! Hopefully, this is the start of an adventurous lifestyle that will see you visiting everywhere you’ve always wanted to visit and see everything you’ve always wanted to see.
However, before you hit the road for your first adventure in your own RV, you need to familiarize yourself with driving an RV. After all, most RVs are bigger and much heavier than standard cars. You also need to understand how to operate RV systems.
The best way to familiarize yourself with driving an RV and to learn how to operate RV systems is to take lessons at an RV driving school.
In this post, I will answer the question – Is an RV driving school worth it? I will also share with you everything you need to know about RV driving schools.
Is an RV Driving School Worth It?
Absolutely! Attending an RV driving school is totally worth it. This is because by attending a good RV driving school you will learn skills that will make your long RV trips safer and more enjoyable.
Most RV driving schools have RV driving courses that teach learners how to inspect a recreational vehicle to make sure it is ready and safe for a long drive. RV driving schools also have RV driving courses that teach learners how to maneuver recreational vehicles in different difficult circumstances.
More specifically, RV driving schools will teach you how to drive an RV downhill, how to drive an RV on a narrow highway, and how to drive an RV in heavy traffic. Almost all RV driving schools also teach learners who take their courses about how to park in both pull-through and back-in campsites. In other words, if you attend a good RV driving school and you learn as much as you can, you will be much better prepared to take your RV on a long trip than if you don’t.
If you do not attend an RV driving school, you will not know what to expect on the road and you will not be prepared for driving in difficult/ challenging situations. This could be frustrating or even dangerous for you and the people you are traveling with.
For example, if you attend a good RV driving school, you will be taught how to drive slowly when going downhill while towing a heavy camper. If you don’t you could end up driving at a high-speed downhill and the trailer behind you could gain so much mass resulting in it breaking the hitch and causing a bad accident.
So instead of just embarking on an adventure straight after buying an RV, you should take RV driving classes to educate yourself on how to drive or tow big RVs and to prepare yourself for difficult situations on the road or when parking or exiting campgrounds.
Do You Really Need RV Driving Lessons?
In my opinion, only those who are experienced long bus or truck drivers can be excused from taking RV driving lessons. This is because such drivers have experience maneuvering and controlling heavy/ long vehicles in different situations. Everyone else needs RV driving lessons.
The reason why I say everyone else needs RV driving lessons is that driving/ maneuvering an RV is much different from driving a normal car. Furthermore, there are many different types of recreational vehicles on the market and they all have their own challenges when one is driving them. Therefore, every new RV owner needs to learn how to maneuver RVs in general, and how to drive the specific type of RV they have purchased or acquired. And the best way to do this is by taking RV driving lessons.
If you want to be safer while on the road, to avoid accidents, and to protect your RV from damage while parking or exiting a smallish RV campsite, you also need RV driving lessons. This is because most RV driving lessons are practical lessons meant to teach you how to maneuver an RV out of difficult situations and how to stay safe while driving a big rig.
You also need to RV driving lessons if you do not like getting embarrassed. Damaging your RV while exiting a campground is embarrassing. Jack-knifing your RV is embarrassing. Maneuvering your RV in such a way that you look like an amateur driver is also embarrassing. To avoid getting embarrassed you need to learn how to drive an RV like a pro and you can only do this by going to RV driving classes.
Is Attending An RV Driving School Necessary For Obtaining an RV License?
Generally, you do not even need an RV license to drive an RV. This is because most states across the United States do not require a special driving license for those towing campers under 10,000 pounds in weight or motorhomes below 26,000 pounds in weight. So if you RV is a camper and it is below 10,000 pounds in weight, you do not have to worry about a driving license. If you own a motorhome that is not too heavy, you also do not need to worry about a driving license.
However, if your camper exceeds 10,000 pounds in weight or your motorhome exceeds 26,000 pounds in weight, you need a special RV driving license in many states across the country. And attending an RV driving school makes it easier for you to obtain such a license. Therefore, if you have a heavy camper or motorhome, you should attend an RV driving school to make it easier for yourself to obtain a driving license to travel across any state you want to travel or visit.
Which States Require a Special Driving License?
Many states require individuals to have a special driving license to drive an RV on their roads. As of 2018, the states include Wyoming, Texas, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Michigan, Maryland, California, Wisconsin, Washington D.C., New Mexico, Kansas, Hawaii, Connecticut, and Arkansas. The states that do not require a special driving license for RV drivers include West Virginia, Washington, Virginia. Vermont, Utah, Tennessee, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Oregon, Oklahoma, Ohio, North Dakota, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Montana, Missouri, Mississippi, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Maine, Louisiana, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Delaware, Alaska, and Alabama.
Therefore, when planning the route of your RV trip (something that you will also learn in any good RV school), you should know what routes to take or how to make sure you are always on the right side of the law.
Which Are The Best RV Driving Schools?
The best RV Driving Schools are those that teach RV driving in person. So if you are looking for an RV driving school, make sure you go for a local one that will provide you with hands-on training on how to drive and maneuver RVs like yours.
The very best RV driving schools have camps where they take learners to and teach them how to drive. Some RV driving schools send professional instructors to instruct learners on how to drive their new RVs. I also know of RV driving schools that take learners to out-of-state camping trips to teach them everything about driving, maneuvering, parking, and maintaining RVs on the highway and in a real campground.
While driving schools that teach RV driving in person are the best, they are also somewhat pricey when compared to RV driving schools that teach RV driving on video. On video driving schools usually require learners to download and watch several hours of videos on how to drive RVs.
They are great especially during these recent times when all states are urging people to practice social distancing. However, for those who want great training and who want to drive like RV veterans after graduating from RV driving schools, the best RV driving schools are those that offer hands-on training.
How Much Does It Cost To Attend An RV Driving School?
RV driving schools that offer hands-on training frequently charge approximately $400 for group lessons and $650 for private lessons. Short courses usually cost much less to attend (around $200), while long courses with comprehensive RV driving curriculums can charge up to $800.
Some of the things you can expect to learn if you choose to attend long RV driving courses include defensive driving, how to negotiate tight corners, interstate driving, how to drive downhill, GPS navigation, lane management, turning radius, backing into a campsite, braking and use of towing mirrors or backup cameras.
The Final Thoughts
Regardless of your driving experience, if you can afford to attend an RV driving school, you should do so because you will learn a lot of information that will help you to drive and operate your new or used RV safely and properly.