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

RVers Want Courtesy on the Road

But We Need to Earn It!

By Tom Gonser (Revised 10/2011)

How often have you found yourself chatting with other RVers about what appears to be a lack of courtesy by other drivers we encounter. It seems as if the drivers of those "little cars" have little or no understanding of the laws of gravity that dictate how fast a large RV can stop; or limit our ability to quickly swerve to avoid an accident. Those "little cars" just can't stand to be behind an RV. So they'll do just about anything to avoid being in that position. They'll cut into a fast flowing lane of traffic just ahead of an approaching RV, causing the RV to have to have to hit the brakes; or they'll pass an RV in under circumstances that are extremely dangerous.

A Good Sam survey of RV owners done a couple of years ago found numerous comments about the need to enlighten the public about the special circumstances/needs of larger RVs. In fact many suggested that state drivers license information and testing include questions that would provide a greater awareness safe driving in the context of large RVs encountered on the roadways.

While we all can relate to this special need, it's also appropriate to make sure that our own "houses" are in order. Could it be that some of the driving habits, or the lack of appreciation of some of the issues we create on the road, are among the factors that motivate drivers of those "little cars" to act irrationally when they're around moving RVs?

We've frequently drive between our primary residence in Bend, OR, and a small second home in Florence, OR. We almost always make this trip in our "little car". Portions of the road through the mountains, and some winding portions as you approach the coast, are easily and quickly done in a car. But heavier RVs need to drive more slowly -- especially on steep grades and some stretches that are very curvy. Most of the road is two lane -- with a number of short stretches set aside to provide a passing lane. Sometimes these passing lanes are quite short. And many take advantage of longer, flat straight away spaces where extra lanes for passing could be constructed.

We have been amazed to see the number of thoughless RV drivers on these roadways. Frequently an RV, traveling as it must at a slower speed than many cars, soon creates a long "tail" of cars anxious for the chance to get past. No doubt they are a bit frustrated by being delayed. However what really causes ill will is when a chance to pass finally arrives, and instead of pulling over and slowing a bit to purposely let the trailing cars go by, the RV driver sees a welcome stretch of flat, straight pavement ahead and accelerates to take advantage of that one bit of friendly road ahead. Since most of these passing lanes are only a quarter to a half mile in length, few (if any) of the trailing cars are able to get by. This is incredibly thoughtless on the part of the offending RV driver, and undoubtedly leads to the very conduct among "little car" drivers that we RVers are complaining about.

One can only speculate about how all of this might relate to the need for special licensing of RV drivers. But wouldn't it be so much better if RV drivers would simply drive in a manner that was more considerate of others on the roads we share? Before we complain about what we perceive as the lack of courtesy among drivers of those "little cars", let's redouble our efforts to make sure that we're part of the solution, instead of part of the problem.