Board Member Jane McKay is happy to help with the RVW Driving School. She knows firsthand how helpful it can be for drivers of all types of RVs.
“I arrived at the Driving School having never driven an RV before,” she said. Friends who live close to the school let her borrow their 36-foot Class A. “I literally learned everything about how to drive, back up and park a Class A,” she added. The class prepared her well for her future. Since that time, she has driven Class A and Class C rigs some 35,000 miles.
RVing Women has been holding their annual (sometimes twice a year) driving school for years. With a small class size (it’s limited to 14 RVs and drivers), both the classroom sessions and hands-on learning are thorough and helpful.
Margaret King took the course about three years ago. Even though her father was a truck driver and she had learned a lot from him, any time she has a chance to do better and learn more she does.
She said the class is worth every penny, and the cost versus what you learn makes it an excellent bargain.
“You don’t know when you will need some of what you learn, but when you do, boom! It’s there,” she said.
The inside classwork teaches you many things you never think about, like special permits that might be needed if you tow a car. “The actual driving on the course was really good practice,” she said. “I had never parallel parked my rig, and we did that several times.”
The Driving School is not just for those who drive motorhomes. Tana Shively said backing her 19-foot travel trailer was so frustrating that she was given a coffee mug that was printed with, “I’m sorry for what I said when I tried to park the trailer.”
After taking the recent driving school, Tana said she has more confidence and feels safer handling her rig.
“I learned the minor adjustments needed to back my trailer easily, and I was even complimented when I backed in at the 2018 convention in Shawnee!”
“The driving range is set up with orange cones so you can’t wreck anything,” Tana said. “There was a mock gas pump practice, straight backing, cornering, and pulling forward enough to miss hitting an object by identifying the rig’s pivot point.”
In addition to one-on-one assistance with specific issues the drivers have, Tana noted that the instructors go above and beyond. “The instructors were knowledgeable, helpful and so very patient. One instructor, who noticed the hitch set-up for an attendee’s travel trailer was not correct, helped her get the correct hitch and load levelers installed.”
Tana is happy to report that the mug is now just a conversation piece. Is the driving school worth the cost? “You bet,” she said, “especially if you are new to RVing!”
When Holly Bridwell was preparing for an 8,700-mile roundtrip to Alaska, she wanted to make sure her driving skills were “as safe and proficient as possible.”
“The RVW Driving School was everything I expected it to be, and more,” Holly said. “I’m not familiar with any other driving schools, but I cannot imagine learning how to safely drive your RV in a more friendly environment, nor come away more confident and satisfied with your decision to attend.”
While many groups offer driving courses, RVW’s is an exceptional value. FMCA recently offered a two-day course for their members for $425; a separate one-day backing/ parking class was an additional $199.
Gail Duckworth found the course so helpful that she plans to take it again to refresh her skills. “Even though I had driven RVs for many years, I learned so much,” she said.
Recent Driving School attendees were from South Dakota, California, Kansas, Oklahoma, Washington and Alabama. They found that time spent in the classroom was balanced out with hands-on driving course instruction.
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