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Old 04-28-2017, 09:24 AM   #1
Siriustoo
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Driving lessons

How many of you have taken driving lessons for your Montana?
Did you find it helpful?
I found an instructor who has expertise in fifth wheel RV training and has logged over 4 million miles. He mentioned a couple of techniques to deal with difficult situations like cross winds over the phone. For $50 an hour it seems like a great investment.
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Old 04-28-2017, 09:59 AM   #2
vipermanden
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I just practiced around where I live and in empty parking lots. I did buy some on line videos to watch, and they were helpful. I have been driving in some pretty good crosswinds the last few days. What did he tell you?
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Old 04-28-2017, 10:56 AM   #3
Siriustoo
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Something about driving closer to the crown on the road. I'll post a few more tips after my first lesson. You have a dually which helps. If it wasn't for keeping my diesel in the garage at 20 below I would go that route and feel better about things. My first trip will be to the scales. I have one of the last 3710's built with the new steps and front windshield and I am sure it is a lot more than the posted sticker. Since most of our camping is 2 hours away I may make two trips to keep the cargo way down.
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Old 04-28-2017, 09:22 PM   #4
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Two years ago at the national rally in Goshen, the wife took the ladies towing class. She learned several things that made her a better driver while towing. The biggest thing was that she learned why you shouldn't tow at over 65MPH (trailer tires are only rated for 65MPH). That is what finally got her to slow down! Before the class, when I wasn't looking, she would tow at 70+ .

Based on your level of experience, getting some pointers from an experienced professional at $50/hr sounds like a good investment of a Franklin and a couple of hours.

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Old 04-29-2017, 06:26 AM   #5
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I would be a little suspect if anyone claimed to have logged over 4 million miles pulling an actual 5th wheel, excluding commercial semi driving. Someone would have to tow around a 5th wheel for 40 years, doing 100,000 miles a year to accomplish that.

But if someone if not 100% comfortable operating a PU pulling a large fiver than $50 an hour would be a pretty cheap price to pay for a couple hours of instruction I guess. I've heard that Lazy Days in Tampa have such classes for folks buying their first large Class A motorhomes, not sure what would be offered by some of these large dealers for fivers though.
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Old 04-29-2017, 06:51 AM   #6
Siriustoo
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Not all of those miles were with a fifth wheel. He did say most of them were with a semi, I should have been more clear. He is the retired head instructor of a truck school and does this to keep occupied.
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Old 04-29-2017, 06:53 AM   #7
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We took a trailer seminar at Lazy Days in Tampa last year. The instructor had some hints for driving the rig, and also a method of parking it using dots on the unit for reference points. One of the things he he said that if you are making a left hand turn, when your hip (that is the driver's hip) crosses the line you want to stay to the right of, then you can turn your steering wheel to the left. Until then, you drive straight. I hope this makes sense.

Lazy Days does offer the Class A lessons. Since we pull a 5er, we arranged to meet the instructor for some one on one. The method he uses for backing in uses more road width than we normally have available. I devised a method of backing into a site (or driveway) where you use minimum roadway. You basically jack knife it in. First you have to determine how far past the edge of the driveway the back end of your trailer needs to be (with our previous trailer this was about 20 feet) before you crank the steering wheel and back it in. You start out parallel to and about 3 feet from the edge of the road.

The way to figure out your distance is to take it to a big empty parking lot, mark your starting point, back it into an imaginary site, and measure the distance between where the back of your trailer was at the start and where the edge of the imaginary driveway is. If you back in at home, then position your truck and trailer to start, then find a reference point for next time.

The instructor did give us one very important tip which I had a bit of trouble getting my head around at first, but eventually I go it. If your trailer is in a good position, but your truck is not (as in at an angle to your trailer), then any movement of your truck is going to screw up your trailer position. What you do about that it go backwards or forward, steering hard to get the truck straight while moving your trailer only a minimum amount, like maybe a couple of inches. It works.

The instructor did this all for free (we were out about an hour and a half) but of course we gave him some money.
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Old 04-29-2017, 07:56 AM   #8
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Take the class.
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Old 04-29-2017, 08:28 AM   #9
Siriustoo
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I will be taking the class. Booked two hours to start. My daughter is getting her license and taught me a few things about the importance of reference points when parallel parking. Once you figure out the right reference points (like the hip example and backup example above) driving becomes a lot easier.
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