Manoeuvring and Driver Training
You’d be amazed at the number of motorhome insurance claims we get for motorhomes and campervans that have been scratched or dented in the process of simple manoeuvres. The size of motorhomes unfortunately makes them tough to squeeze into small parking spaces or perform three point turns with. Unfortunately, due to many of the roads in the UK, manoeuvring is something your customers really need to be proficient at if they’re going to be able to get around safely. So, to make life easier in those tight spots, here’s our guide to motorhome manoeuvring.
Three point turns easily turn into four-or-more point turns and can be slow and ineffective. The key with a good three-point turn in a motorhome is to know your reversing limits and to go back as far as you possibly can. Of course, a reversing camera or, better still, a sensor will help your customers to make the most out of their turning circle.
Your customers should line themselves up as square as they can with the curb initially and make sure they turn back with the steering fully locked. Once they’re back as far as they can, lock the wheel the other way and move forwards. If your customers repeat the process until they come square, they should be able to turn around easily!
Another manoeuvre that’s usually considered tricky is the left reverse, but it’s an excellent way of making use of a cul-de-sac to turn a motorhome around. Your customers should never reverse onto a main road but it’s legal to do so on minor roads in smaller and quieter areas.
To engage in a proper left reverse, your customers should line their motorhome up close to the curb on their left-hand side. Once they have enough leeway to begin backing into the minor road, they should engage reverse and start backing in slowly. Get back about ten yards and they should have enough room to turn into the original road but facing the other direction. The key here is to keep your speed really minimal; a steady speed will help your customers make the small adjustments necessary.
Reversing in Lanes
One of the motorhome owner’s major fears is being faced with a reversing situation on a narrow country road and having to back up to the nearest passing place. Though usually car drivers are sympathetic to the difficulties of reversing a motorhome, it’s not always the case and your customers need to be proficient at backing up in the lanes.
The process starts before your customers even engage reverse; they should try to visualise their last passing place. Then, once they’ve engaged reverse, keep their eyes on the mirrors and take things slowly. They should keep in control and edge as close as they can to their left-hand side. If they’re reversing, they should expect anyone who comes up behind them to offer the same courtesy but if all else fails, verbal communication and a quick apology can really make a difference.
If your customers are new to driving large vehicles, it is recommended that they take advantage of driver training. It’s amazing what skills can be acquired and confidence that will be gained. It is possible for your customers to take a course to sharpen up their manoeuvring skills and if they’re someone who isn’t completely confident when in reverse gear it can be a really helpful exercise to go through. Memorising particular focus points on their motorhome and knowing their margins of error can come just through practice in a safe environment, so ensure your customers don’t rule out the possibility of some training.
Usually instructors are more than happy to address any specific concerns your customers have with manoeuvring, so ensure your customers let them know their difficulties. Reversing a motorhome under any circumstances is tough but especially so when you’re under pressure. Having some practice in a stress-free environment can really improve your customer’s abilities when it comes to the real thing.
The key for all motorhome manoeuvres is to take it really slow and to keep watching your mirrors. Your customers should make sure they’re well-adjusted before they travel and make sure any reversing aids they have are switched on and ready to go when they need them.
If all else fails then your customers should ask for help, usually a passenger or even a passing pedestrian will be more than happy to see them round a difficult corner or will guide them through a three-point turn.