<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Editorial: RVer Highway Courtesy
Little Log


by Tom Gonser (04/11)

Sometimes it seems we need to be driving a car to fully understand some of the reasons many drivers will do anything possible to avoid being in traffic behind an RV. Sometimes the urge is so great that motorists will take almost any risk to avoid being in that position.

There’s of course the issue of RV size, which prevents the motorists immediately behind from having a clear view of the road ahead. There’s not much we can do about that one. However the most serious problem derives from the fact that most RVers realize that they require more time to stop; need to approach corners with a bit more caution; and in some cases lack sufficient power to climb hills at highway speeds. In general, RVs therefore tend to be a bit slower on the highways. Other motorists know this, and that’s why they will too frequently take unnecessary risks to get past the RV that’s just in front of them -- often heading a line of several cars just waiting for the opportunity to get past, and back to what for them might be a more normal highway speed.

We drive frequently between our primary residence in Bend, Oregon, and our small second home on the central Oregon coast in Florence. It’s really a beautiful drive of about four hours. But the highway is not an Interstate; and for the most part it’s two lanes. There are a number of places where the highway is designed to provide drivers with an opportunity to keep traffic flowing at a reasonable speed. These are “passing lanes” -- a stretch of perhaps only a few hundred yards to as much as a half mile where there are two lanes going forward -- the perfect time to get past that RV, occasional piece of farm equipment, or slow moving truck.

Unfortunately what happens here too often reflects poorly on us as RVers. Thoughtless RV drivers often see that comparatively straight stretch of roadway ahead and tend to speed up at that point. As a consequence perhaps only one or two cars in what has now become a long line of waiting cars is able to get by before the sign appears saying “Passing Lane Ends”. Perhaps one or two more cars race to squeeze by as the two lanes merge back into one, often creating yet another unnecessary and dangerous situation. With the safe passing opportunity now gone, the RV seems to slow again as the road becomes narrower and with more curves ahead. Probably this RV driver is not intentionally trying to see how many cars can be trapped behind an RV on a mostly two-lane road. More likely this RVer is simply thoughtless and terribly inconsiderate of others traveling in the same direction. But whoever it is surely is giving all RVers a bad name -- and we need to stop it.

We've driven our own RV on this same roadway many times. And even though we’re usually traveling close to the speed limit, and have ample power to pull the hills with the four-wheelers, we’re extremely aware of traffic that builds up behind us. Whenever we reach one of those passing lanes, or see a long stretch of straight roadway ahead that will permit passing, we SLOW DOWN to permit the cars that wish to drive faster go by safely. Not just some of them -- all of them. It never “costs us” more than a few seconds, and clearly it is greatly appreciated by the drivers behind us.

The bottom line here is a simple one. Let’s all be more thoughtful about those potential passing situations when we’re driving our RVs. Most RVers truly are careful and cautious drivers. But too often we are not thoughtful about the image we create for all RVers when we fail to take advantage of such easy opportunities to be good citizens of the roadways...