Tip of the Month

RV Tip of the Month May 2016

Tip of the Month

For New RV Owners

We have had so many calls this year that start off with, “My husband/wife/driving partner just hit a (you name it) and I think we need some training”.  When you analyze what the problem is, it is SO simple I can't believe it, people try to driver their RV’s the same way they drive their cars!

When you take RV Boot Camp training, the first thing you will learn about is the difference between your car and your RV, the RV is MUCH bigger!  Most Class A RV’s are 8 ½ feet wide, at least 12 ½ feet bus diagramtall, have 18 to 24 feet between the front wheels and the back wheels and have a distance of 12 to 15 feet behind the back wheels, which can create lots of problems for the RV driver when leaving a curb or maneuvering in traffic.  Think of your RV’s Foot Print. 

Next we will show you how to do a Pre-Trip inspection, checking the Engine, the Lights and doing a Safety Check.  Speaking of the Pre-trip, this past week I had a new driver check the oil on the RV and the dip stick was dry!  He had a quart of oil in his car so we added it to the engine and still no reading on the dip stick.  It required two more quarts of oil before we had a reading!  Other deficiencies on this vehicle included no License plate light, an out of date Tag and clearance lights out, just to name but a few of the items.  (You can download a FREE Pre-Trip check list from our website. This is a PDF File, you may have to right click save link as to download to your computer.)

bus mirror

To drive a large vehicle safely, the driver MUST have the mirrors set properly and just as important, they need to know how to use them.  One in five large vehicle accidents are Mirror Related.  We show you what you need to be looking for and how to set the mirrors just for you.  There is no “looking over your shoulder” when driving an RV.

When the above are mastered, we teach you how to do the four basic driving skills that every commercial driver in North America MUST be able to do to obtain a CDL.  These include straight-line backing, tight turns, RV park backing and parallel parking.  When you know how to do the four basic driving skills your comfort level will sky rocket and you will know where your back wheels are and how to make turns safely and with confidence.  No more striking objects alongside your RV!

As the result of working with thousands of first-time RVers we have seen that there are five reasons new drivers have problems.

bus accident

  1. The Driver did NOT do a Pre-Trip inspection before moving their RV
  2. The Driver did NOT check or set their Mirrors before moving their RV
  3. The Driver did NOT understand Tail/Swing or Off/Track
  4. The Driver, when backing did not GOAL  (Get Out And Look)
  5. The Driver was Distracted, cell phone use, music too loud etc.

When someone tells you that driving an RV is just like driving your car, DON’T BELIEVE THEM, it’s just like driving a BUS!  The good news, it’s easy!!


The damage to the vehicles pictured below is why these drivers needed Boot Camp driver training before they got behind the wheel!

boot camp required

reason new rv drivers need boot camp 1


Gary Lewis - The RV Guy


RV Headsets are a Safety Tool

why you need rvheadssetsAnother reason you NEED RV Headsets!

Working with RVer’s around the country, one gets to see almost every type of parking space you could possible imagine and recently I saw it all; the tightest RV storage space in the whole world!

This 34’ Palazzo found a parking space in what was once a recreation room of this residence. The owner was very thoughtful when making his purchase in choosing an RV that was not too long for his storage space, one that had air-bags so the coach could be lowered upon entry and then ordering RV Headsets so he could have full communication with his partner when bring the coach in and out of the garage.

RV Headsets are the greatest asset any RVer can ever have! Check out these high quality RV Headsets!

The Non-Commercial Class B License Experience

tip non commercial 2016So you’ve purchased the 43 foot motor home of your dreams and now you find out you are required to get a new driver’s license, something called a non-commercial Class B license. To confuse things even more, here in California we call it a Housecar license. What to do? Call RV Basic Training LLC!

In California if your motor home is over 40 feet, you must have a Housecar license. The caveat being that your vehicle is used strictly for recreational and other non-commercial functions. In other States the threshold is the weight of the vehicle, which is any vehicle, or combination of vehicles over 26,000 lbs.

Commercial Driver's Licenses are administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

FMCSA defines minimum requirements that all states must meet when issuing CDL's States are free to define more stringent CDL rules FMCSA regulations only address commercial motor vehicles (CMV) RV's used strictly for recreational and other non-commercial functions do not meet the FMCSA definition of a CMV

FMCSA defines several CDL classes based on vehicle weight, type, and cargo. While most states do not require a CDL for driving large RV's, some do require special non-commercial licenses structured after the federal classification. The two classes applicable to RV's are A & B, which are defined below:

  • Class A: Any combination of vehicles with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Class B: Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds GVWR.

To find out the requirements in your State for either a motor home or combination truck and trailer, visit, http://changingears.com/rv-sec-state-rv-license.shtml. There are a number of commonalities all States share:

1. You will be required to write a knowledge test
2. You will be required to demonstrate competency of the four basic driving skills
3. If Air Brake equipped, you may be required to do an In-Cab Air Check, (COLA check)
4. You will be required to do a pre-trip inspection
5. You will be required to do the basic control skills test
6. You will be required to do a drive test

A failure on the pre-trip or basic control skills will result in you having to repeat the process on another day. You will not get out of the testing lot. Drive Test The major difference between a full Class A or B license and the non-commercial Class A or B is the pre-trip. For a full Class A or B, the pre-trip is VERY detailed and as many as 30% of new commercial drivers don’t even leave the test lot.

Once the pre-trip and basic driving skills are completed, it is out on the road to show the examiner that you know how to make right turns, left turns, and lane changes. You will also drive on the freeway and in urban traffic.

For more information and sample testing forms, contact Gary.Lewis @ RVBasicTraining.com.

RV Tip of the Month January 2016

Driving in Extreme Weather Conditions

Winter is here and when it rains or the snow comes down, it changes how you drive any vehicle, especially a large one.

tip of month jan 2016Often times the weather can be fine when you start out but change for the worse once you are on the road. It is the driver’s responsibility to assess the risk of continuing down the road or pulling off the road into a safe place. 

The First Thing to Remember:


Large vehicles need to reduce their speed well below posted limits as speed limits are determined by dry roads and daylight hours.  Following distance should be increased from 4 seconds to 8 and down shifting can help reduce speed and slow momentum.  Stopping distance is increased when traction is decreased.  DO NOT use your Engine Brake in poor traction conditions, it can put your vehicle into a spin!


Snow and Ice are the most difficult roadway conditions for a driver.  Before starting, mentally go over your route and visualize areas of concern.

  • Areas of drifting snow
  • Places exposed to wind where black ice could form
  • Places where the daylight doesn’t reach to warm an icy spot
  • Bridges, over and under passes which could freeze quickly
  • Sections where snow could narrow roadway
  • Approaches to intersections that have been packed down by other vehicles causing them to be more slippery
  • Knowing the route you will take can help you avoid a potentially dangerous situation.  .


The more snow, the less friction your tires will have on the road surface and a greater breaking distance is required.

  • Keep your windshield, driver’s side window and mirrors clear.
  • Ice/frost and condensation will diminish visibility. 
  • Be sure windshield wipers are in good condition
  • When snow begins to pile up, drifts on the roads are common. Never plow through a snow drift, always avoid if possible.


When blowing snow creates limited visibility, reduce your speed as quickly as you can without locking up your wheels.

  • Activate your hazards and use your low–beam headlights and driving lights.  High beams reflect off the snow making it harder to see.
  • Be patient, avoid changing lanes.
  • Keep looking as far ahead as possible. Keep your windows and mirrors clean and use defrosters and wipers to maximize your vision.


With Black Ice, look for spots on the roadway which are darker than others or have a shine. Use caution on bridges, under and overpasses.

  • Drive slowly to avoid skidding out of control.  A slower speed will give you more time to detect and react to the black ice.
  • While it may be a natural instinct to slam on your brakes, DON’T.  It will only cause your vehicle to lose control. 
  • Reduce speed gradually by tapping on the brakes lightly and down shifting if necessary.
  • Increase your following distance.


Just because you have traction going up a snow covered hill doesn’t mean you will have it going down.

  • Do not power up a hill. Applying power to the wheels on snow covered roads will just start the wheels spinning. Apply power before you start up the hill. 
  • Try not to stop when travelling up a snow covered hill.  Traction will be hard to find and gravity will pull you down to the bottom of the hill.
  • As you reach the crest of the hill reduce your speed and proceed down the hill slowly.  Downshift before you begin to travel downhill.


Glare from the sun can reduce your visibility to near zero.

  • Remember sun glare changes from season to season. 
  • Sunrise and sunset are different in the winter months. 
  • Visibility can be a problem when the sun is low in the sky and in front of you or reflects off the road or other objects.
  • Just because you can see doesn’t mean the other driver can.
  • It is crucial to wear sunglasses and use your vehicle’s sun visors.


Light or infrequent rain may cause unsafe driving conditions. Visibility can be compromised by heavy rain. 

  • With rain comes a change in road conditions. At the beginning of a rainstorm, rain water mixes with oil on the road surface making it slick. 
  • Changes in humidity can cause the windows to fog. 
  • Water reflecting off oncoming headlights can cause momentary blindness.


Driver Training for Everyone!

rvboot camp price

Various Types of Boot Camp for Everyone!

  • Individual One on One Driver Training
  • Corporate Driver Training - Safety Training
  • Mobile Medical Driver Training
  • Fifth Wheel Driver Training
  • Trailer Towing Training
  • Housecar License Training 40+ Feet
  • Group Driver Training and Special Events

If you don't see the type of driver training you need in the list above please call us;

RV Driving Course Manual

rv motor home driving manual j

$30.00 USD

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Trailer Towing Training Manual

trailer towing manual
$30.00 USD

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Vehicle Pre-Trip Check List 2017

RV Basic Training Pre-Trip Check List
Download - PDF File

free download pre trip check list

Air Brake Test Explained 2018

 This download is a PDF File
Click Below

air brake test download

RV Headsets for Safety

New Headsets - Modern High Tech
New Stock -  New Model Available!

SPH10 Section4

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You receive a pair of RV Headsets for $359.90 One for the Driver and one for the Spotter!
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We are looking for Trainers

If you have a passion for RVing, have a CDL in good standing with a valid
instructors permit and would like to be part of our growing team.
Contact Gary today.

Contact Gary