Regardless of where your RV travel plans lead you, at some point you will likely encounter heavy traffic or congestion. Here are seven tips and tricks that can make it just a little easier … and safer!
1. Thoroughly research your route in advance. Use an RV-specific app like RV Trip Wizard with navigational capabilities. Plan your arrival into big-city areas for late morning or early afternoon, when traffic may be lighter. Day of travel, check Google Maps or Waze for road construction or closures, and live traffic conditions.
2. Have a good navigator in the passenger seat. The navigator is as important to a safe and calm journey as is the driver. The best navigator simply shares observations, instead of bossing the driver. Instead of saying “watch out for that tree!” they say “I see low branches ahead.” Instead of saying “go now!” they say “the coast is clear from this side.”
3. The right lane is not necessarily the best lane. Plodding along in the farthest right lane is not necessarily the best way to travel in bigger cities, where the right lane is likely to be more of a transition lane, with right-entrance on-ramps and freeways merging. Consider staying one lane over from the far right, where the traffic pattern is more consistent.
4. Gas up before or after the big cities. You may pay a little more per gallon, but stations are likely to be a little more spread out, offering easier navigation. Switch Google Maps to satellite mode for a birds-eye view of the station layout, so you are aware of the entry and exit points, as well as which way the pumps are oriented.
5. Expect the worst from drivers around you. People who have never driven an RV may not understand the limitations of maneuvering and quickly stopping an RV, so they may try to dart around you, or stop suddenly in front of you. In many cases, the best course of action may simply be to pause and wait for others to move around you before proceeding, if it is safe to do so.
6. Consider improving your rig’s equipment. Enhanced equipment like a tire pressure monitoring system, steering stabilizer, or sway bars can greatly improve your RV handling and performance, making you a safer driver in tough traffic situations. An EZ-Pass toll transponder on the windshield lets you fly through designated lanes at toll stations without stopping to fumble for payment.
7. Embrace the challenge of “practice makes perfect!” Experience is the best teacher, and every round of driving in tough traffic conditions will give you greater confidence and skills. Mitigate your risks, minimize your stress, and confidently leave those traffic woes in your RV rear-view mirror with these tips!
About the Authors: Tessa and Philip Miller have been RV’ing since 2013 and have visited 42 states in their Fleetwood Southwind RV. Blog: www.charmingrvadventures.com or Instagram: @charmingrvadventures