Top Motorhome Driving Tips for First Timers

Top Motorhome Driving Tips for First Timers

If you are new to driving a motorhome or have never driven a large vehicle before, it may feel slightly daunting.

However, our motorhome driving tips should help to prepare you, so you know what to expect, and it can end up being a really fun and exciting experience.

 

  • Check the route is suitable for a motorhome before you set off, including any low bridges or width-restricted roads. If you drive on any roads that are deemed unsuitable for a motorhome, your insurance will be void, and you will be liable for any damages incurred or rescue required.
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  • There are several very steep and narrow passes in the Lake District, and also in Scotland (including on the NC500), where motorhomes are not allowed, and there are no turning spaces for a large vehicle, so do your homework first.
Bailey Alliance 70-6 exterior 3
  • Get to know where all of your cab controls are before you start, so that you’re not caught out whilst driving;
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  • Go through your Driver’s Checklist before you leave, to ensure everything is turned onto the correct settings, your cupboards are all secured and anything loose has been put away safely;
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  • Know your speed limits – for our motorhomes they speed limits are as follows:
  • Built-up areas – 30mphSingle carriageways – 50mph
  • Dual carriageways – 60mph
  • Motorways – 70mph

 

  • We recommend you give yourself some time to get used to driving the motorhome, and how it handles on major roads, before attempting anything more challenging – fortunately Cumbria Motorhome Hire is directly on the A590, just 25 minutes from junction 36 of the M6, so you have plenty of opportunity to develop your confidence;
  • Cumbria Motorhome Hire Auto Trail F74
    • As the motorhome is much longer, wider and higher than a normal car, you need to read the road much further ahead than usual, to watch out for low obstructions, overhanging trees/buildings/signs, low bridges, tight spaces or sharp turns;
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    • As a long vehicle, you also need to allow yourself a much wider space to turn as the back will swing out, and the longer the overhang at the back, the more space you need to allow when turning right or left, otherwise you risk hitting something with the rear of the motorhome. Always be aware of what your rear end is doing!
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    • When turning right, you are advised to stay in the centre of your lane, to give you enough room to swing out and to prevent other traffic from trying to squeeze past you on the left;
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    • As a heavy vehicle, it will take you much longer to brake than usual, especially in wet weather, so pre-empt that by starting to brake earlier;
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    • If another vehicle is approaching on a narrow section of road, slow to a stop. If the other vehicle hits you it is their fault if you are stationary;
    • Slow right down to 10mph or less for sleeping policemen or speed bumps;
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    • As a large vehicle, you will get buffeted by the wind, especially on open roads. If you are passing another large vehicle, such as a lorry, you may get sucked in towards the other vehicle, and you may also experience a ‘wobble’ as you pass by the vehicle which can throw you slightly off course, so take it slow, hold the steering wheel firmly and give them as wide a berth as you are able;
    • Even though you have a reversing camera, these can be deceptive, and won’t always show what is low down or higher up. So if you have a passenger, it is worth them getting out to guide you, as they can keep an eye out for low/high obstacles that you might hit without realising, which can do a lot of damage to the motorhome;
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    • Parking for long vehicles can be very limited in villages, towns and busy tourist areas, and they often have very narrow roads with vehicles parked on both sides, so where possible we recommend you find somewhere safe to park up on the outskirts (such as a park n ride), then either walk, cycle or use public transport to access the main areas.
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    • The Lake District has an excellent network of buses, including an open-top double decker in high season, which gives you a fantastic view. You can also take a boat on some of the larger lakes. This is a much more environmentally friendly option too.

    We hope you found our tips helpful, but essentially it’s all about relaxing and enjoying the ride.

    Have a fantastic trip!

    Places to Visit in the Lake District

    Places to Visit in the Lake District

    Popular Places to Visit in the Lake District

    Coniston Water

    Coniston Water

    Coniston Water is the third largest water in the Lake District at around 5 miles long by half a mile wide, situated half a mile from the village of Coniston and beneath the towering mountain of Coniston Old Man it really is the perfect place to enjoy any number of outdoor activities both on land and water. Boats and Bikes can be hired from Coniston Boating Centre, situated in the village, which also boasts some very nice pubs, shops and eateries.  Other attractions that may be of interest in the Coniston area are Brantwood, the residence of artist John Ruskin with its’ fabulous gardens and views to enjoy, with many exhibitions detailing the history of Coniston the Ruskin Museum is also a very interesting place to visit.

    Coniston – Useful Links
    Coniston Boating Centre Tel – 015394 41366
    Brantwood – The World of John Ruskin Tel – 015394 41396
    Ruskin Museum Tel – 01539 441164

    Windermere

    Lake Windermere

    Lake Windermere is a ribbon lake, situated just over a mile from the town of Windermere and is the largest natural lake in England at around 11 miles long and 219 feet deep. A large range of water sports are enjoyed on the lake including waterskiing, sailing, canoeing and kayaking and many more, for a perhaps more relaxing experience you can take a cruise of the lake with Windermere Lake Cruises who offer a number of fantastic packages. The town of Windermere although quite small is a busy place with  a variety of local shops as well as a Booths supermarket.

    Windermere – Useful Links
    Windermere Lake Cruises Tel – 015394 43360
    Places to Stay
    Park Cliffe Holiday Park Tel – 015395 31344

    Keswick

    Keswick

    The market town of Keswick is an award winning destination, featured as the ninth best destination in the Travelers Choice awards. Keswick is surrounded by six lakes including the island studded, mile wide Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake, which is famous for being the only actual lake in The Lake District. Also home to a number of peaceful and picturesque valleys such as Borrowdale that boast an array of beautiful scenery with a mixture of vast green expanses, woodland and traditional style villages, hamlets and buildings, which make it the perfect place for hiking and landscape photography. Some of the most breathtaking mountains can also be found in Keswick and the North Lakes area, which include The Scafells, Helvellyn and Skiddaw. There are many routes to walk in Keswick and some guided walks are available organised by the Lake District National Park

    Keswick – Useful Links
    Walking Routes in and around Keswick Tel – 017687 75738
    Events and guided walks calendar
    Places to Stay
    Castlerigg Caravan and Camping Park Tel – 017687 74499

    Ullswater

    Ullswater

    Ullswater is the second largest lake in the Lake District being approximately 9 miles long and 0.75 miles wide with a depth of 197 feet, the narrow ribbon lake is recognised by many as being the most beautiful lake in the Lake District. There are many attractions and things to do around Ullswater, which is located near the market town of Penrith, some  places to visit are Askham Hall Gardens & Cafe where you can enjoy some of the finest local produce prepared by head chef Richard Swale, Also The Alpaca Centre Shop where you can view the Alpacas in their paddocks and purchase some of the garments created using their wool. Of course you can get closer to the lake itself by climbing aboard an Ullswater Steamer for a fantastic cruise of the lake.

    Ullswater – Useful Links
    Askham Hall Gardens & Cafe Tel – 01931 712350
    Alpaca Centre Shop Tel – 01768 891440
    Ullswater Steamers Lake Cruises Tel – 01768 482229
    Places to Stay
    The Quiet Site Tel – 07768 727016

    Hawkshead village

    Hawkshead

    Hawkshead is a village situated in the South Lakeland area, west of Lake Windermere, a charming village to be explored on foot due to its’ car-free village centre (there is a car park on the outskirts). Hawkshead is steeped in history and has strong connections to William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, in fact one of the main attractions is the The Beatrix Potter gallery, which features original artwork exhibitions plus information about her life outside of writing, such as her work as a farmer and conservationist and her legacy that lives on today. With the cobbled streets, archways and alleyways Hawkshead is a fantastic example of a traditional Lake District village and there are many inns, tearooms and gift shops to enjoy also.

    Hawkshead – Useful Links
    Beatrix Potter Gallery

    Useful Websites

    english-lakes.com – Some fantastic information and photography covering all areas of the Lake District

    Places to Visit in The Lake DistrictPlaces to Visit | Places to Stay in The Lake DistrictPlaces to Stay