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Old 04-16-2019, 09:13 AM   #1
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Driving Tips

We have a 2019 Tommy Bahama and are using a 2016 Toyota Sequoia to tow it. Any thoughts or suggestions on driving on the highways and biways. We're picking it up on the 24th. So excited.
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Old 04-16-2019, 09:28 AM   #2
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Hello again...

Take your time, let everything sink in.
Don't be intimidated, let 'em pass you.

When we got our first AS, I put a handwritten sign in the back window....
"I'm sorry, I just got the Airstream"
The "Frantic Banana"😂

Bob
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Old 04-16-2019, 09:40 AM   #3
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Airstreams tow beautifully, so after about 5 miles, you'll enjoy it.
I try to keep right, it seems semi's would rather pass you on the left. For a while I let then pass on the right, but they would give me a toot of the horn. I thought I was doing them a favor, but maybe not.
It's always difficult to judge cars merging from an on ramp. I move over for them, and often they don't return the courtesy, they just drive alongside me for miles like they don't know I'm there. My pet peeve.

Swing wide into gas stations, and go slow, keep glancing at your mirrors to be sure you clear the pipes guarding the pumps. I much prefer pump islands that parallel the store over the one's having you face the store. Someone will park in front of the store and make your exit different than what you planned. Sometimes you just have to wait on people to move. (then I don't feel bad when I block two pumps.)

Overhead clearance is usually not a problem, but double check before pulling into strange places. (Like when I took that shortcut and found myself in a MacDonald's drive through with 8' clearance, and had to back up 100'!)

Know your limits. When you're in a big empty parking lot, turn tightly, stop midway and look at how close the propane tanks come to your bumper. (I stop an put it in reverse so I can look at the BU camera.) You can turn tighter than you think, but there's a limit before things crunch.

Making a U-turn is tough. I've driven out of my way to find a safe place to turn around.

Arrive early. (One tip I can't seem to do myself)

When backing into your campsite, and a neighbor offers to help, say "YES!". Fellow campers like to help, and it might just save you from backing into that tree limb.
First, get out and plan your parking.
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Old 04-16-2019, 09:43 AM   #4
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On my first trip out I thought I would take expressways slow in the right lane. But then I realized I’d have to scoot over every time there were vehicles on an on-ramp, because slowing down or speeding up is not always practical or possible. This led to the realization that many people don’t like letting you change lanes in front of them.

So when I’m in an area where there are a lot of on ramps (generally near cities) and there are more than two lanes I drive in the middle lane. A lot less lane changing for me and cars and trucks can get on the expressway unimpeded.

If there are only two lanes I watch the on ramps pretty vigilantly ahead of time and adjust my speed or change lanes accordingly so folks (and I) have plenty of time and space. Nothing worse than having to do something at the last second. It will happen, of course, but I try to keep it to a minimum.

Also helps to know where in the reverse driving camera a car or truck needs to be in order to scoot in front of them safely.

I found towing the Airstream a lot easier than I had expected it to be and I’m sure you will too. So in general, relax and take your time. Don’t arrive at your destination a nervous wreck!
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Old 04-16-2019, 09:53 AM   #5
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Hopefully, your dealer will get you set-up properly , and ready to roll. Remember that you are towing a trailer that weighs more than your tow vehicle. Conduct yourself accordingly. Your acceleration and braking responses will be different than you are used to. You will need to be more aware than ever before. There should be no multi-tasking. If there is something else that you need to do, pull off the road and do it.

Best wishes on your maiden voyage. Enjoy the ride and please keep us posted on your progress.

Brian
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Old 04-16-2019, 10:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mollysdad View Post

Overhead clearance is usually not a problem, but double check before pulling into strange places. (Like when I took that shortcut and found myself in a MacDonald's drive through with 8' clearance, and had to back up 100'!)
Who takes their 26' Airstream thru the McDonalds drive thru!!! (I know, it was a mistake)

Don't do that Docbutch!!!
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:30 AM   #7
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The best advice is not to be in a hurry. Anything bad* that has happened to us was when we were in a hurry. Fueling can be stressful. If it looks a little tight and you are not confident, move on to the next place. I've started using the Flying J stops when I can. I really like the RV lanes.

*I have Mollysdad beat. 27ft through the McDonalds drivethru....the wrong way! Still can see the Wife waving to a rather startled cashier.
Never thought I would admit to it.
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Old 04-16-2019, 12:02 PM   #8
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Respectfully, my advice would be not to tow a 27' AS with a Toyota Sequoia. You will very easily surpass the limits of that vehicle. I tow a 25' with a 2017 Tundra and easily max it out.
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Old 04-16-2019, 04:29 PM   #9
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“It tows like it’s not even there!” It is. Wide turns, mirrors (and shadows if they’re available) when changing lanes, and as said above take it easy. I’ve found towing can actually be more relaxing than trying to make time.
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:13 PM   #10
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wow! you got a nice AS! Congrats!

I once towed a 3500 pound Skamper camper to Glacier NP and back with a Ford Ranger. It pulled it, but .. what a trip! In a head wind we were lucky to hit 55mph. I would get a running start going down one grade to make it up another.. Young and crazy I guess. But i digress....
Now.. never towed an AS with a vehicle smaller than current setup (Ram 2500), so I cannot help you there. But I remember having a death grip on the steering wheel for that trip! LOL

But I am sure you are gonna have a blast! Try it for a short trip and then decide what's best.
Good luck!

PS @Robert Cross - we need a like or LOL button on this site; thanks for the laugh about your note on the back of your AS.
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:16 PM   #11
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Just a reminder, if you're in the right lane, you have the right off way. Merging traffic from on ramps are to yield (except Ohio, no one seems to know that rule)
Changing lanes is a courtesy, especially to trucks, but cars can speed up or slow down and change lanes easier than a truck or RV. If your in front of a merging car, let them slow or speed up accordingly rather than a hurried lane change on your part.
Middle lane is usually best bet in cities.
-2 cents from a former truck driving instructor
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mollysdad View Post
...
Overhead clearance is usually not a problem, but double check before pulling into strange places. (Like when I took that shortcut and found myself in a MacDonald's drive through with 8' clearance, and had to back up 100'!)

...
that's great! you should post that in the 'non-rookie mistakes' thread. I mean, we all look back and laugh at our past mistakes... i think.
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:27 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by wizardglass View Post
Just a reminder, if you're in the right lane, you have the right off way. Merging traffic from on ramps are to yield (except Ohio, no one seems to know that rule)
Changing lanes is a courtesy, especially to trucks, but cars can speed up or slow down and change lanes easier than a truck or RV. If your in front of a merging car, let them slow or speed up accordingly rather than a hurried lane change on your part.
Middle lane is usually best bet in cities.
-2 cents from a former truck driving instructor
Law is no different in Ohio. They encourage “zipper” merging but merging traffic on a ramp must yield. Move over and you’ll get stuck in the fast lane with your RV.
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:32 PM   #14
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My advice would be to consider tow mirrors and make sure you have the right ones.
We have a Tundra, and use the McKesh tow mirrors. (You buy them on the Hensley Hitch website).

We have the mirrors, and the convex spot mirrors on both sides.

THIS is what allows you to see the merging vehicles in the on-ramp, or next to you changing lanes.

Once you figure them out it takes less than 2 minutes to attach them.
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:37 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by wizardglass View Post
Just a reminder, if you're in the right lane, you have the right of way. Merging traffic from on ramps are to yield

Note that SOME places this is not true any more. If there is not a YIELD SIGN, then there usually is a ZIPPER MERGE sign now.

In a zipper merge, there is no one vehicle with right of way. It's a "work it out" situation.

Be aware of this, and that even if you do have right of way that many drivers no longer have enough training or abstract thinking skills to understand this and yield.

Be defensive, which means be looking all the time, and assume the other driver is clueless.
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:48 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Countryboy59 View Post
Law is no different in Ohio. They encourage “zipper” merging but merging traffic on a ramp must yield. Move over and you’ll get stuck in the fast lane with your RV.
I was kidding about Ohio, hope I didn't offend any safe Ohio drivers...
10 years of driving a semi up and down Ohio on i75 has made me a bit biased
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:59 PM   #17
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Take three or four shake down trips. Try the Interstate, try two lanes, try mountains, try cities, try pull throughs, try back-ins, try your driveway.

Get the sales person's cell phone number. Use them to solve system problems when they come up.

Practice hooking up the rig. Practice backing in an open parking lot where you can't hit anything. Practice GOAL - get out and look. Stop, slow down or leave when you feel unsafe. Use a spotter. Stop when they tell you to stop. Do not move if you can't see them in your mirror. They are your eyes, not your driving instructor. If you don't know how to back up, use a pull through until you have practiced enough to back up safely. Do it all in small stages. You will get better over time.

Plan your trip, so you are not making route decisions on the fly. Have two or three sites located to stay each night so you are not hunting and driving.

Both driver and navigator should be active participants. Two sets of eyes see more than one set. No sleeping in either position. Constant attentive focus on driving and navigtion. Stop to do your sight seeing.

Yield - back-off - slow down - stay away from bunches of traffic. Do not let a schedule force you into a bad situation. Skip it, move on, do it tomorrow and stay cool, calm and collected.

Towing is not the same as solo driving. It is not a two fingers on the wheel exercise with the brain thinking about the fishing to come. It should not be a white knuckle driving experience either. Get your head into driving with full attention and both hands on the wheel.

Transit major cities before or after rush hour. Start early and stop early. Enjoy the awning time. Roll up the awning before you go to bed. Do the walk around twice before you leave. Use a check list. Adjust the mirrors before you leave.

Do not pull into a place that you can not see an exit path. If you are caught and need to back out, get your spotter out to help. Go slow. Others have done it. You can too.

Watch road transitions. A fuel stop drive can be deep enough that the rig will drag. Look for drives with less difference in road surface. Pot holes and ruts as well as road surface drop offs can be similar hazards. Smooth roads are great. When you are experienced you can learn how to transit problems with blocks or the I ain't gonna stop here approach.

Always look up and down for hazards. Tree limbs, house eves, signs, low bridges ..... look up, down, all around. Those concrete tire blocks can ruin your sewer connections if you hit them. Some parks use tree logs for same function and they are even taller.

When following a truck, you can not see very far in front. Back off 5-6 seconds to get a better view. Tire treds do damage to your TV and coach. Do your very best to not hit them. If you are boxed in by traffic, you have no where to go. Back off and give yourself an out. Worst case, if you hit something it can be repaired. Rolling the rig just ruins the whole day. Drive defensively. You have to drive for the idiot behind you too. If you stop short and he is not looking, you will collect him on the trailer. His insurance pays, but your trip is toast. Leave lots of room to stop and pay attention.

Practice hard braking stops in a safe location before you need to do one in an emergency. Set up the brake controller each day when you start out.

Suggestion - when approaching a rough section of driving conditions, stop and have a comfort break. Thinking about needing to stop for a bathroom is the last thing you want to be doing when merging with a long line of traffic or traveling at speed through a construction zone.

Most important - have fun. If you are not having fun, stop, have a rest and then try again. Stay safe out there. Chase those smiles. Pat
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Old 04-17-2019, 02:11 PM   #18
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except Ohio, no one seems to know that rule
Hey.....I'm originally from Ohio. Growing up, we used to make fun of how Michaganders drive. I see the feeling is mutual!
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Old 04-17-2019, 02:59 PM   #19
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