During my last trip I had to drive through Minneapolis twice, Des Moines twice, Kansas City twice, Albuquerque twice, Phoenix and Oklahoma City. Is there an effective strategy for dealing with big city traffic in a RV?
If there are more than two lanes, I try to stay in lane 2 considering the very right hand lane as lane 1. I do this to avoid traffic attempting to merge and have no idea what they are doing. Most big cities have at least three lanes.
Bob and Becky Barbee
2008 Seneca 34SS
2006 Colorado Crew Cab 4x4
Take it slow and always know who is around you. Try and hit the cities during non-rush-hours. I try and stay in the slow lane and let those around me do what they must. Have a good idea of where you are going and plan what lane to be in to hit your exits so you're not trying to make sudden lane changes.
First, we avoid major cities if at all possible even if it's a bit longer route. We prefer US highways.
We just went through Houston. yikes! We made sure it was mid morning, stayed in the center lane, knew our exit numbers and both kept our eyes open for traffic backups, cars merging, etc. Other than my finger prints permanently embedded in the "oh _ _ _ _" bar, we went through just fine.
Lonny & Diane
2004 Country Coach Allure 33' "Big Blue"
Towing 2008 Chev Colorado 4x4
Drive a little slower, than what the speed limit is, and keep more space, between the vehicle in front of you, so that you can stop in time, also be prepared, to have the desperados, that have to dive in to the space you have, they do not care, that they do not fit.
The other one, is on side streets, keep an eye out for low branches, a lot of damage, can be done by low flying greenery.
Then you have the idiot, that gets real upset, because they can not get, between your RV, and the toad you are pulling, that happened to me, while I was trying to merge, into a left lane, to latter enter, a left turn lane.
If you are retired, start a little latter, and if someone tells you, that you are number one, with the middle finger, thank them, I do, feels good, to de number one to the idiots.
We don't travel in big cities often, however when we do, I don't find it all that difficult. Parking is another issue.
First of all, as said by bbarbee, I move out of the first lane, the 'merge lane' as it is referred to by some or the 'slow lane' as it is sometimes referred to by others. If there are three lanes--I am found right in the middle. Then I don't have to worry about all those drivers that don't know how to merge to begin with, AND all those drivers that suddenly remember this is their exit approaching and need to get into the exit lane, so thus are now 'merging' from the left also!
I have my backup camera on all the time in high traffic situations and, I am aware of where the vehicles around me are.
Also, while we all must exercise all caution, defensive driving and courteous driving (I always feel I represent all RV'ers when I'm out there), I know that I am MUCH BIGGER then most of those vehicles around and find that when given sufficient notice (blinkers, slight turn of the wheel) they don't challenge an RV like they do other vehicles their own size. People are for the most part, very courteous and probably sympathetic to some extent to motorhomes.
Simply drive carefully, but confidently.
09 Fleetwood Jamboree 31M - 'Summerhouse'
Ford 6.8 L Triton V10 5spd
“Light hearted I take to the open road… Healthy, free, the world before me… The long brown path before me leading me wherever I choose.” - Walt Whitman
Drive defensively and assume that the other drivers hate you because you are big and slow. Assume that everyone on an entrance ramp will attempt to get ahead of you. When I got my CDL training, a good deal of the course dealt with these sorts of issues.
Once you get these ideas ingrained in your thinking you start to drive differently; for example, you slow down to let cars enter rather than asserting your right to maintain speed. I do sometimes have to use the air horn to wake up an idiot, but not very often.
After having driven our 40 footer 20,000 miles over the past 15 months I feel I can drive it pretty much anywhere. On an absolute scale the cities you list are small; there are far worse ones: Houston, Wilmington DE, and St. Louis were on our list this past year to name a few. Don't give up, just keep driving; the more you do the easier it gets.
Sandie & Joel
2000 40' Beaver Patriot Thunder Princeton--425 HP/1550 ft-lbs CAT C-12
2009 Chevy Malibu LTZ with ReadyBrute tow bar/braking system
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Actually driving at rush hour is sometimes easier because the traffic is at snails pace. Thirty some years driving Chicago xways daily gives some perspective stay in the middle lane and move with traffic and/or the speed limit, or stay in the right hand and go slow and deal with entrance and exit traffic. I prefer the middle lane and being part of the flow. I do however take a bypass or relief Rt if one is available.
9-11 WE WILL NEVER FORGET!
04 HitchHiker DA LS 33.5 RLTG
09 F350 CC DRW 4X4
“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” Lao Tzu
Agree with the lane suggestions above. Sometimes you have to go faster than you really like, in order to avoid causing more snarls. The old "I'll go my own speed" plan is not always the best.
But the main problem I see is that half the freeways in the country are under construction. And either the orange cones or the concrete barricades are placed a bit into your lane. I-15 through Salt Lake seems always that way, and yesterday was no exception!