Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Driver's ED 102- Rally Day 3

Got all those numbers straight? I don't! It reminds me of my old college schedules when signing up for classes. But it's the second driving class for Sparky. (One wasn't enough, E. explains.) And again, Dennis Hill, of the RV Driving School, was the instructor. This class was SPECIFICALLY for women. Dennis had a LOT to say about THAT. (I'll bet he did! laughs Eldo.) Not what you think, honey. Dennis has a lot of respect for women drivers. He says women can back up better than men. Hm-m-m-m, aren't you guys just dying to know why? No? Well, I'll tell you any way! BECAUSE WOMEN FOLLOW DIRECTIONS FROM THE DIRECTION GIVER WHO'S PARKING THEM BETTER THAN MEN!  And that's coming straight from the horse's mouth!
horse in training at Mercer County Fairgrounds, home of Nick's rally
If the woman is parking her man, she's telling the guy what direction to turn, and after a bit, he'll decide, no, that's not right and do something different than what he's told. When a more inexperienced driver (usually the woman) gets behind the wheel, she's going to do exactly what she's told because she's afraid she's going to mess up!

So-o-o-o-o, here's what Sparky learned today...a lot of repeats from yesterday's general driver's ed. class, but here are some more tips for the gals:

1. Practice in a BIG empty lot...get some cheap cones with vented holes (more like little orange domes) from the Dollar Store or Dollar General. Get boxes from Walmart or another store. Put them in rectangle configurations, in curves and practice for a couple of hours with the hubby OUTSIDE the rig and OUT OF THE WAY! Or in the way, if you are mad at him!  Practice backing up, turning corners, etc.

2. SL-O-O-O-W is the name of the game....the slower the better, the more you are in control on turns, on backing up, etc. Keep your foot on the brake. Slow is the speed of a "tired, old person walking". Dennis said "tired baby crawl", but I don't know any babies who crawl that slow even when they are tired! He demonstrated by walking very very slowly around the room.

3. Mirrors are set right if the other non-driver walks along both sides of the rig with arms held out to the sides. The driver should be able to see the person the entire length of the coach as they walk towards the back, first on the driver's side, then on the passenger side. The driver shouldn't have to crane his neck to see the outside person at all. You've really got to learn to trust your mirrors! You can't do that unless they are set right.

4. Backing up straight---Pick an object far far away that you see in the driver mirror--like a telephone pole or a mountain top. Try to keep the distance from the rear and alongside the RV to the object in the mirror the same while backing up. (Hunh?) In other words, you are watching this object in the mirror, and trying to keep the driver's side and rear in line with the object as you are backing up. Dennis says that you won't be able to just steer straight, you'll have to turn the wheel a bit and turn back, it's not possible to just keep the wheel straight and back up.

5. Always know where your tail end is....If you hit something, you weren't looking for it.

6. The person giving directions should be telling the driver the directions for where the tail end is to go, NOT how to turn the steering wheel. (We got that right, says E. proudly. Sparky does a good job of parking me.) Well, I guess he forgot about that curved pull through we tried to get into and had to leave after all the neighbors started watching.  Speaking of watching...ever notice how people in 5th wheels get out their lawn chairs and sit down to watch others come in and park? And the people in motorhomes peek out their windows thru the shades to watch others park their rigs? Or they might even get out binoculars to watch? (Eldo is humming and looking around to see who that might be....)

7. Most accidents happen in campgrounds and gas stations! BE aware!

8. Both of you should walk the site before parking the rig. Two sets of eyes better than one to spot possible branches, and other obstacles high and/or low.

OK, end of lesson! Good job of paying attention, everyone! If you read all the way to the end of the blog today, you get an A! And Eldy gets an A+ just because he's my main driver. (You mean the ONLY driver! he clarifies.) Yup! For now.....Dennis's RV Driving School offers lessons that are about 400.00 for two, four hour lessons. You learn all kinds of stuff. And if 400.00 is not in your budget, then there are mini lessons for half that offered at various locations around the country, the mini courses are just at rallies. I'm saving up for that, too, besides a kayak....Tonight is the Buckeye Beauty Contest--five guys dress up as women and we vote for the best beauty. Always a hilarious time! See you later!


  1. Thanks for sharing; keep the tips coming.

  2. Relying on the mirrors is the hardest part for me. I tend to just hang out the window looking back instead. :(

  3. Thanks again for the tips. Good advice. Maybe we could take the $400 class together and get a 2 for 1 discount!

    I also have lots of troubles relying on side mirrors. I haven't mastered the use of the camera instead of a rear view mirror.

  4. I got some success with utilizing the mirrors while parking, but still found rear view camera handy and simple to use.