Possible towing issues - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-16-2020, 12:47 PM   #1
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Name: Danny
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Question Possible towing issues

I like the concept of a fiberglass RV. It would be nice to have a bed to sleep in, a place to cook, and a real refrigerator instead of a cooler. However, I often wonder how difficult it would be to tow even a smaller RV such as a 16 foot model. I live in a medium sized city of 250,000 people. Even here merging can be a nightmare, especially into a right lane. From my experience just driving a car cross county, towing an RV through cities could be a difficult. How do you do it safely? Danny L.
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Old 03-16-2020, 12:58 PM   #2
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Maintain your lane, keep up with the flow of traffic, Create space between you and the vehicle ahead, know your route to be in the correct lane to exit when needed, use your turn signals, do not be an aggressive driver, pay close attention to the job at hand as in turn off the radio and disengage in conversation
and don’t eat or drink. Don’t look for hawks on the wires, keep your eyes on the road and check your mirrors frequently. Hit big cities between 10 AM and 2PM to minimize traffic load. Do that an you’ll be through Chicago without touching the brakes most days at 60 mph. There’s no good time on Saturdays, Sundays are easy, and any Friday before a three day weekend or a day before a holiday is not good at all. YMMV.
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Old 03-16-2020, 01:34 PM   #3
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I pulled my Casita across the Golden Date Bridge and through the streets of San Francisco. The beauty is many of these trailers is are the same width of the medium sized truck or SUV that you will likely use to tow them. Yes, before everyone jumps all over me, I know the that is a generalization. There are lots of variables.

The previous advice was good as far as lanes and attentivedriving. Have fun.
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Old 03-16-2020, 01:52 PM   #4
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my road trips so far, cities have not been the destination, so I'll mostly avoid them and take the routes around them. driven through the greater SF Bay Area numerous times, as well as places like reno, sacramento, etc, never really had any issues, and I'm towing a bigger rig than most FGRV's, a 21' foot escape towed by a 20' F250 longbed pickup.
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Old 03-16-2020, 02:13 PM   #5
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After a very little practice you will find that towing a small fiberglass trailer is not much more difficult than driving a vehicle alone.
When we go to Florida, we choose to drive right through downtown Nashville and Atlanta. Both require plenty of lane changes and merging.
We drive through the drive-up at the bank, and fast food without issues,
I have even parallel parked on main streets in towns around the country.
Also in most cases it is easy to park in parking lots where ever there are two spots front to back.
Most other drivers in traffic allow space for a vehicle towing a trailer.
Just check your mirrors more often and allow a little extra space, signal early and make smooth but decisive moves once you have space.
Other drivers need to clearly see your intentions.
Most rookies in towing find that backing up is more difficult than traffic.


The key is the same as learning how to get to Carnegie Hall...
Practice, Man, Practice!
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Old 03-16-2020, 02:28 PM   #6
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My wife (who does not share towing duties) always worries and frets and is besides herself about going through cities, across bridges etc.
Basically I just drive with the traffic and unless there is a wreck that stops traffic there is not that much of a problem.
Keep up, pay attention and be polite and RELAX as much as possible.
Connie (She Who Must Be Obeyed) worries for a longer time than it takes to get through most cities.
If you are going to stop near a big city, try to stop on the far side so leaving is easier in the morning.
As far as Atlanta, get int the middle lane and floor it and try not to screw up...
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Old 03-16-2020, 04:35 PM   #7
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Question PossibleTowing Issues

Thanks for all the responses so far .I do appreciate them.

I have two main concerns about towing if I were to purchase an RV The first is blind right hand merges. These merges are difficult even in a regular vehicle. I would imagine they would be even more difficult if I were towing an RV.

Secondly, I am an amateur astronomer. My hobby often involves driving through large cities when traveling to western observing cites in Oklahoma or New Mexico. For the past three years several cities have had major construction on their highways. Even with a GPS,navigating through the constructions zones in a car is a nightmare. How do you resolve issues driving through construction zones? Danny L
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Old 03-17-2020, 08:11 AM   #8
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i like ioaw daves method

We too have driven through big cities there are times to be avoided. Plan your starts to avoid the hassle but you will never avoid all of them be patient.

I have never had a problem entering a interstate highway. You will have a few drivers that wont let you in but you will get in people are people after all!

Maybe the first trip you will be apprehensive but after that you will be a pro!

Don't try to drive faster than you can handle situations. You have a lot of weight behind you just be aware if you have to stop or do something to avoid an accident!

you will be fine...

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Old 03-17-2020, 08:28 AM   #9
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1) have a copilot with you
2) don't buy more than you need (size wise)
3) aftermarket mirror mounted cameras are available that come on when your turn signal is put on, and show you a wide angle view form that side
4) enjoy, you will like it

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Old 03-17-2020, 08:42 AM   #10
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something funny

We have been to Italy several times and we tent out. In doing the Rome thing with our rental car we drove around the main round drive 3 times looking for a street our gps was not finding.

At the 3rd street we got stopped by their army patrol they have all kinds of police over there. Anyway an alert guard noticed we were in a rental car so she checked our papers over.

I asked her how she knew and she pointed out our special plates put on rental cars.

My point is in any situation don't get worked up, excited or worried things will work out as you travel and learn tugging! Make sure you have the correct tug for your trailer and remember you have a lot of weight behind you so I also suggest a gps to help you navigate it will save the day for you.

I have driven rental cars all over the world yes including the UK and made it so will you!


good luck

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Old 03-17-2020, 10:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowa Dave View Post
Maintain your lane, keep up with the flow of traffic, Create space between you and the vehicle ahead, know your route to be in the correct lane to exit when needed, use your turn signals, do not be an aggressive driver, pay close attention to the job at hand as in turn off the radio and disengage in conversation
and donít eat or drink. Donít look for hawks on the wires, keep your eyes on the road and check your mirrors frequently. Hit big cities between 10 AM and 2PM to minimize traffic load. Do that an youíll be through Chicago without touching the brakes most days at 60 mph. Thereís no good time on Saturdays, Sundays are easy, and any Friday before a three day weekend or a day before a holiday is not good at all. YMMV.
That's Beautiful. It's the remedial drivers ed course we all need to take.
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Old 03-17-2020, 10:26 AM   #12
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Perhaps you should rent a U-hall Trailer about the size of the RV you want, then drive it around and through cities for a day or two. Also, just and if not more important, practice backing up. Tow it to a gas station and fill up. Use your mirrors when pulling out so you don't hit the gas pump or the pump guards.

You may decide you don't want the hassle of towing and go with a van conversion. By that I mean purchase a utility van, put in floors and walls, a bed, and maybe even a small refrigerator, like this on Amazon: Dometic CFX35W 12v Electric Powered Cooler, Fridge Freezer. I did this conversion years ago in the parking lot of my girl friends apartment building. I cleaned up the area and put my tools away each night and management never objected. Then drove around the USA. Much better than pulling a trailer for a newby. Unless, of course, if you just want to learn a new skill.

Or buy a truck and a slide in camper. Pulling a trailer can be a real hassle. I am experienced and am doing it now. I probably should have gotten a motorhome...nah, I like buying a new truck now and then.
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Old 03-17-2020, 10:46 AM   #13
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Extra Side mirrors

If you are worried about blind spots, get a set of side mirrors that straps onto your existing ones. They will give you peace if mind as well as increased visibility on what is pulling up behind you. We added them on our Nissan Frontier for our Escape and have found them useful, especially in cities. Easy on and off.
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Old 03-17-2020, 12:19 PM   #14
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Talking A newbie's perspective

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny L View Post
Thanks for all the responses so far .I do appreciate them.

I have two main concerns about towing... The first is blind right hand merges... Secondly, ... several cities have had major construction on their highways... How do you resolve issues driving through construction zones? Danny L
I purchased my first ever trailer just a month ago, a 17' Casita. I don't have the benefit of a co-pilot. Rented a U-Haul trailer for practice, as suggested, and am glad I did. BUT, an empty U-Haul is very bouncy and rattly compared to a travel trailer (TT). Kept it for two days and drove it on interstates, narrow windy roads. My Casita follows along like a dream compared to that rental! Watch YouTube videos about towing and reversing.

2nd recommendation: get the strap-on tow mirrors before anything else. I drove from metro-Boston to southern coastal VA to pick up my TT. Driving it home (and past the DC area) without tow mirrors had a couple scary moments and I still did ok. I have been WOWed at the difference the mirrors make. There are no more blind merges.

3rd recommendation: manage your expectations. Using the advise in replies above you can minimize problems but not eliminate them altogether. There will always be road construction. There will always be unexpected traffic problems and inconsiderate drivers. All of us will be dealing with them too. You have to drive a little slower when you're towing and that's just fine. It takes longer to brake safely so leave extra space between you and the vehicle ahead. Being so new I find that a challenge. You've conquered road challenges getting to your astronomy sites. It will be the same with a TT if you take the plunge.

Final words: it's FUN dragging my Casita behind me. I feel like a 63 year old kid pulling a toy on a string.
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Old 03-17-2020, 12:26 PM   #15
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Milenco Grand Aero mirrors are highly recommended. They are fastened to the mirror housing with thumb screws so they can be adjusted independently of the tow vehicle mirrors.
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Old 03-17-2020, 12:48 PM   #16
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With a little help from your friends.

Love the idea of renting a UHaul - that's inspired! With a UHAUL in mind, do you have anyone in your circle of friends or relations that would spend an hour or two with you driving around town? Nothing wrong with 'training wheels' for your first run!
Good for you for having the guts to ask for help!
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Old 03-18-2020, 11:01 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny L View Post

I have two main concerns about towing if I were to purchase an RV The first is blind right hand merges. These merges are difficult even in a regular vehicle.
If you are making blind right hand merges, STOP! Review the visibility in your car, and get whatever additional items you need to have proper visibility for merging.

My father used to do blind merges, BOTH directions. Riding with him was SCARY, and he was always getting honked at. I advised him to be sure to look first, but he was not going to take advice from me, or anyone else...

Semi trucks pulling LONG trailers merge to the left and right all the time. Do you think they are doing it blind? If so, we would be having an epidemic of merging crashes. Realize its not unusual for a pro truck driver to drive 100,000 miles a year, or more. Thats a lot of merging. Obviously, they can't make eye contact through the long trailers they are towing, and most have less visibility out of their tractors with enclosed sleepers, etc., and few windows. They rely heavily on MIRRORS. Look at a truck sometime, and count the mirrors.

I use real tow mirrors on my truck, not the stock mirrors. These mirrors have two sections. A large upper section that gives you the typical view out the side of your vehicle, but with a blind spot for anyone beside you. The lower section mirror, probably adjusted, covers what I can't see in the upper mirrors, and what I can't see looking out the side windows. The back window of my truck is obscured by a camper top. So looking out the back at best just gives me a view of the front of the trailer.


Towing makes driving down the road harder. Just like professional truck drivers have to up their game, people towing trailers need to up their game. Planning, leaving more room (no tailgating), not pulling into a parking lot without knowing your exit route, no last minute changes, etc.

If you are not ready to do this extra work, and it is extra, then towing is probably a BAD idea.
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Old 03-25-2020, 11:58 AM   #18
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I too was nervous when I first started towing. The first experience was with a 13' Scamp and a fairly new Subaru Outback 4-cylinder. I got big mirrors to attach to the regular outside mirrors and made sure that they were always adjusted properly. I check the brake and signal lights at least twice a day and carry spare bulbs. I always use my signals.

Early on, I made one mistake when going through a drive-through (for coffee of all things) an I sideswiped a steel post because I didn't swing out widely enough. No big damage but lesson learned.

As we live in the west and go over high passes often I realized that more power/torque would be of great value in making us more nimble on the road so I got an Outback with the H-6 engine. It has made a huge difference. High passes are no longer an issue. If I need to accellerate I can, no problem. Towing feels more safe and sure.
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Old 03-25-2020, 01:37 PM   #19
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To merge safely you have to first match the speed of the traffic on the highway, then just pull over into the space that will be there (if there's a psycho who won't let you in, just slow down for a second and get in behind them). Once you can do that comfortably in your car, then make sure your tow vehicle is able to get you and your trailer up to speed just as quickly.

On the road, everybody expects trailers and RV's to move a little slower. That's why nobody (else) wants to drive the coast highway in the summer. Take your time, relax, and be positive about where you're going. If you have to be on an Interstate, get behind that chicken truck driving slow in the right lane (but not too close ). People who are in a hurry can go around you.
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Old 03-25-2020, 02:19 PM   #20
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Possible towing issues

I wonder what the OP actually meant by a "blind merge". Any vehicle with ordinary side mirrors will have at least some visibility on that side. It is still more difficult to merge right because most vehicles have a convex mirror on that side that distorts distances, but it's not "blind."

Most states have some version of this rule when towing: you must have a clear view of the roadway to the rear of the combination of vehicles on both sides. The distance varies by state, but it basically means you have to be able to see in a straight line along the side of the trailer and so many yards behind it as shown in this diagram.
Click image for larger version

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Bottom line, if the trailer is wider than your vehicle (check manufacturer specs) you should have towing mirrors. Using them to merge right, or using the regular vehicle mirrors if they provide sufficient coverage, still takes some getting used to with a towed combination. Get some experience in uncongested conditions before tackling rush hour!
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