Why Women Should Know How to Drive an RV

It’s a general observation that almost every big motorhome or truck pulling a big camper is being driven by men while their female travel partner is sitting in the passenger seat. Are traditional roles still holding women back from driving their RV? Or, are women to intimidated with driving or pulling their campers? Regardless of the reasons why women don’t drive their RV, we need to change it up; including the mindset. Here’s a handful of viable reasons why women should know how to drive their RV and share the driving.

Women Should Drive Their RV - Always On Liberty

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I get it. Driving an RV can be intimidating; especially a big rig RV. Except for solo women RVers, guys are seemingly the ones always behind the wheel of their RV. 

Whether it’s driving a big 40′ motorhome, towing a 42′ fifth wheel or travel trailer, taking on the responsibility of driving or towing something so large, towing or driving a big vehicle can play on the psyche.

In a recent conversation over cocktails with some close friends who also RV, the female counterpart of the couple was adamant in saying she felt more comfortable letting him drive.

And putting this out there, it wasn’t about her abilities to drive her RV at all. My friend had no problem getting behind the wheel. But only if and when she had to drive her RV.

I asked her why. Her answer wasn’t really a big surprise. In fact, I actually commiserated her same regards. She just had her own reservations of ‘what ifs’ as do, even I.

Especially for full-time RVers, if something happens to our RVs, we instantly lose our home. And certainly, women (like me) don’t want to be the blame or be made to feel guilty for a mishap that takes away our home or our livelihood. 

Heck, if something happened to our RV, I’d have immeasurable guilt that I may be the cause of it.

So, to avoid this self-confrontation, a lot of women just don’t want to be put in the position of blame should something go horribly wrong on the road.

And, while unpopular to say this, some men aren’t quite the best passengers. Some guys tend to minimize our abilities, are too critical of their wives’ or female companions’ RV driving abilities.

For what it’s worth, women generally are the peacemakers per se and would just rather avoid it all together and just leave the driving to him.

But, it really shouldn’t be that way. It can’t be that way. Because there’s a plethora of reasons why it’s so important for women to drive their RV.

Even if they don’t want to, it’s equally important to know how to drive their RV. There will be times of certain circumstances when women will need to get behind the wheel.

In our decade of full-time RVing, there’s been a handful of times where I had to buck up, put my big girl panties on and jump in the driver’s seat. Of course, this isn’t an issue with me, but I digress.

And that’s what we are going to highlight here. We’re going drive home the point of why it’s so important that women not be afraid to drive their RVs.

How I learned how to tow our fifth wheel RV

Lisa Driving Ram 3500 Towing Fifth Wheel - Always On Liberty
Photo by Always On Liberty©

Towing a big rig RV actually came easy for me, even the very first time I pulled our big rig fifth wheel. I guess maybe you could say I have a no-fear mentality.

After all, I’ve driven many big, mean and sometimes scary vehicles in my life from Search and Rescue boats in bad weather to big V-twin motorcycles in places that would raise the hair on the back of some of the toughest dude’s necks.

So that whole ‘size matters’ thing has absolutely no bearing on me. Because I always looked at it as a job that needs done. And that same mentality applies to our full-time RV lifestyle. 

When we hit the road to begin our RV adventures in 2014, we agreed that we’d both share the driving. That whole ‘there’s no “I” in the word team‘ thing.

So, before we threw off the bow lines, I had to jump in the driver’s seat of our big 7000 pound dual rear wheel Ram 3500, to pull our 19,500 pound, 44′ monstrous fifth wheel toy hauler with two V-twin Harley’s in the back garage.

And, I can honestly say without bragging, I learned to tow a big rig with confidence and finesse; turning the “I can’t” to “Oh YES I can!”.

But here’s the thing. Really, anyone can just drive and keep it between the lines. It’s not just about pulling that big ole honkin’ thing. It’s also about PARKING it.

But, learning to drive an RV didn’t happen by accident. And it certainly didn’t happen over night. There was no magic wand that waved or sign of the cross over my head.

For 6 months prior to launching into full-time RV travel mode, we took our huge toy hauler fifth wheel out every two weeks to practice pulling, pushing, and parking our RV.

I learned to pull that beast on the backroads of Kentucky where shoulders are nonexistent and turns were sharp.

After much practice, I learned how to master how backing that big sucker into places even long-time professional truckers would scratch their heads at.

When it came time to pull out of the campground one last time to start our full-time RV travel, we both were proficient with towing our fifth wheel.

Though my story may differ from yours, ladies, the point is I made myself available and committed myself to the task at hand. I didn’t want to be that damsel in distress in case something happened to my husband and travel partner.

Hopefully my story and the reasons why women should know how to drive an RV will collectively win hearts and minds.

So, let’s jump in the driver’s seat and take a look at some  scenarios of why women should drive their RVs. Or, at least learn to drive and become proficient at driving them. Because it’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when us girls need to take the helm.

Why Women Should Know How to Drive the RV

Lisa Driving Truck Towing Fifth Wheel RV - Always On Liberty
Photo by Always On Liberty©

Take an RV driving course

“My wife took the driving course at Winnebago rally.  It was taught by women and only for women.  She enjoyed the class; both lecture and actual driving in town. Now, she drives around campgrounds, parks, and backs it into our site.  My wife puts it in and takes it out of the garage.  She has driven it on the Interstate and back country roads.”

First things first! The above is the perfect testimonial of exactly why women (and men) should take an RV driving course. 

Unlike regular driving courses where you learn to drive a single smaller automobile, an RV Driver’s Course is much more focused on driving, maneuvering and/or towing an RV.

The great thing is, sometimes being in a class of big burley men can be somewhat intimidating.

But, there are some RV driving schools do offer women-only classes and online-instruction so you get a more personal, patient and positive way to learn how to drive your RV.

Women should drive their RV because: Travel partner’s inabilities

“I see quite a few women driving as we travel around this country.  Some are by themselves and some are driving because their spouse can or will not drive.  I met one husband and wife team, the wife drove because the husband is blind.”

This is the perfect scenario of why women should know how to drive their RV. This couple still wanted to experience the RV lifestyle. But to do this, the roles were reversed in having her drive the RV.

Whether it’s a physical or even mental handicap or incapability, that shouldn’t preclude both of you going on the travel adventure of your life. The freedom to go shouldn’t be determined by gender.

Women should drive their RV because: Give other driver a break

Lisa with Winnebago View RV - Class C motorhome - Always On Liberty
Photo by Always On Liberty©

It’s important for all adults who are traveling in your RV to learn how to drive or pull it. Because, driving for long periods of time can be very taxing and fatiguing on one driver.

Even when the sole the driver gets occasional breaks, they still to concentrate totally on driving. Which means once you get to your destination, they’re not really going to want to do anything after setting up the RV.

So, share the responsibility so you both can be ready to step out and go exploring!

✰ READ MORE Do you have what it takes to travel in an RV with your husband or wife?  How to Survive Full-Time RV Life with Your Spouse or Partner

Women should drive their RV because:  Mechanical Breakdown

“Unfortunately due to several back surgeries her legs go numb after driving for an hour.  However, she has the confidence and ability to drive our RV safely off the road if necessary.”

On the road, you and your travel partner may be faced with a mechanical breakdown and/or equipment failure on the road. It may mean having to unhook your toad and drive separately.

But, it may require you both to go separate ways. You may have to drive the motorhome to the campground while your other half drives the toad to fetch parts.

So, ladies learning to drive your RV, you’ll be ultimately ready for those just-in-case moments or breakdowns.

✰ READ MORE Be PREPARED on the ROAD! Check out our Roadside Safety Gear for RV Breakdowns or Emergency

Women should drive their RV because:  Women are better drivers?

Sneer all you want, guys, but it’s true. Whether you may want to admit it or not, women are statistically better drivers. So, get over the stigma of *scoff* ‘women drivers’.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, statistics show men are responsible for 6.1 million accidents each year. Whereas women cause only 4.4 million.

Now, realizing all of those accidents aren’t all RV related, it does show that women tend to be more attentive and careful behind the wheel.

That in itself, should lend confidence for women to want to take the helm and help with driving the RV.

✰ READ MORE  When you hit the road, set down some road rules such as How the RV 3-3-3 Rule Can Save Your Life on the Road

Women should drive their RV because:  Men are better navigators?

We’ve all heard it, women suck at giving directions. Women are wired differently than men.

In an article from Women’s Brain Health Initiative, a scientific study was done to back up this assumptive claim.

“An MRI scanner was used to determine if there were differences in the brain activities of men and women. The men were able to solve 50 percent more tasks than women, showing that they have a better sense of direction than women, researchers said.”

So, this does pretty much means men are better navigators than women. What does that mean? That we, women, should listen to our husbands more? Well, that’s always up for debate, I guess.

But only when he’s telling us better verbiage on how to get to our destinations safely. Which is a great reason why women need to drive their RV more instead of barking orders on where to go! Because as mentioned above, we women, suck at giving directions.

Women should drive their RV because:   Fresh set of eyes

Driving a motorhome or pulling a travel trailer, especially those big rigs, requires total, undivided attention. But, driving for long periods of time and fatigue can play tricks on the eyes. Sun glare and seasonal allergies can also affect vision.

So, to relieve those vision issues, it’s better to split the driving load. A fresh set of eyes can mean the difference in getting to your destination in one piece.

But also, usually in every couple, there’s one who has better vision than the other. And if that’s the female better half, let her do the driving.

Women should drive their RV because:   Driver fatigue or illness

“My wife does most of the driving, parking etc.  I am perfectly capable of doing it but she prefers to drive. And, to be honest long hours at the wheel bother my hands, arthritis.  She drives when we head south in the winter on the snow and ice, if present, with no problems.”

There’s going to come a time when the man of the house on wheels is going to fall ill or just be so tired that he can’t keep driving. Especially the Boomer crowd, several women who were  the perpetual passengers 

Even in our 9 years on the road as full-time RVers, there have been several times where Dan was too ill to drive our RV. I had to step in to take the helm to get us to our next destination.

Our most recent time is when we were up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

One of Dan’s back molars got an infection that got into his jaw. He was in so much pain that we had to get him to a hospital. We transformed the dinette into a bed for him to sleep.

That meant I had to drive our RV with our toad to the hospital as he was writhing in pain on the couch in the back of our motorhome.

After driving him 200 miles to the ER, I then parked the motorhome and toad (in tow) in the crowded parking lot…by myself.

Now sure, our motorhome is only 25′ but adding in the tow bar and Jeep, our full load was about 35′. And considering I can’t back our our RV with toad in tow (mechanical reasons), it was bit of a challenge.

But, had I not known how to drive our RV, we would have been in a totally different scenario.

Once he was released from the ER, he was so doped up on medication, there was no possibility of him driving. I got back in the driver’s seat of our motorhome and drove to a campground another 200 miles away where he could get some quality rest and heal.

My point is, this is just one example of why women should drive their motorhome, or at least know how to drive their RV.

Especially if you’re going to RV full-time, there’s bound to be at least a time or two when you need to get in the driver’s seat of your motorhome or truck.

✰ READ MORE   Long haul driving can be taxing on the mind and body which is good reason why you should check out our Safe RV Driving Tips: Staying Alert and Healthy on the Road

Women should drive their RV because:   Drive more miles in a day

Lisa Driving Winnebago View Class C Motorhome - Always On Liberty
Photo by Always On Liberty©

When trying to get from point A to point B, some may want to go the extra distance in their motorhome or truck pulling a trailer.

Which means, traveling more miles on any given day, one driver can get pretty fatigued by traffic, construction zones and other factors on the road.

But, by sharing the drive with your spouse or travel partner, you can make more miles to get to your destination quicker.

✰ READ MORE   When you hit the road, set down some road rules such as How the RV 3-3-3 Rule Can Save Your Life on the Road

Women should drive their RV because:  Emergency Separation

There have been a handful of times when Dan and I had to separate during our RV travels. Not because of marital problems, but because of scenarios when he or I had to fly home for an emergency.

On two occasions, Dan needed to vacate the RV by either flying out or driving our toad (Jeep) home to take care of family matters.

But interim, I had to move the fifth wheel to another campground. And most recently, when we couldn’t get a reservation at a campground to wait for his return, I just hit up some Harvest Hosts. Actually, it was a blessing in disguise. It became a mini adventure vacation for me.

And because I learned to proficiently drive our RV, he had no worries of leaving me behind to do just that.

So, especially for full-timers or even longer term part-timers, there may come a time where women need to know how to drive their RV in time of desperate need.

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Women should drive their RV because:  Loss of travel companion

In our many years as full-time RVers, we’ve heard heartbreaking stories of wives losing their husbands while RVing on the road.

And here’s what happens to most when that happens. Not only did they lose their spouse, but they lost their travel partner and the primary RV driver.

This means the spouse ends up stranded in an unfamiliar location. They also end up shucking out tons of money to hire someone to get the RV back home or even just to a safe place.

This is precisely why it’s important for all adults who RV, including travel companions, to learn how to drive the motorhome or pull the big fifth wheel.

Because sadly, if the unfortunate does happen, at least you can get your RV off the road into a safe campground or RV park.

Ladies, don’t be afraid to DRIVE YOUR RV!

If and when you do get in the driver’s seat, don’t be afraid of it. Show your RV who’s boss and who’s in control – YOU!

Realizing some mishaps beyond your control may happen. Don’t take it personally. By knowing how to drive your RV proficiently, you’ll begin to relax and actually enjoy being behind the wheel.

So, take turns driving. Prove to yourself that you have the confidence and can slay that fear factor of driving your RV!

✰ READ MORE  It’s apparent that fuel prices aren’t going to return to what hey used to. But, our RV Fuel Saving Tips will help save RVers money at the pump

Wrapping up why women should drive their RV

Rear View of Always On Liberty Winnebago View Class C Motorhome - Always On Liberty
Photo by Always On Liberty©

Ladies, we have to bend the mindset that we should leave the driving to the guys. Because, gone are the days of thinking women are the weaker sex; especially when it comes to driving an RV.

If you’re still on the fence about driving your RV or if you’re just too uncomfortable to give up the passenger seat, that’s okay. These should give you reason why women like you, should at least know how to drive your RV.

Splitting the driving responsibility will enhance your your RV lifestyle making you both more rested to take on your adventuress once parked.

My hope is that women break the stigma of men being the only ones allowed to drive their big motorhome or truck towing their camper.

It’s refreshing to see women of all ages are getting behind the wheel, not just because we can but, because we should. There may come a day when women may be forced to drive your RVs.

So Ladies, don’t be afraid to get behind the wheel and drive your RV! Don’t let your apprehensions, insecurities or even your better half prevent you from sharing the driving responsibility.

While it may be a tad bit intimidating to get behind the wheel of a big Class A motorhome or big honkin’ dually truck pulling a monstrous fifth wheel, it’s really more of a mind over matter.

If your husband or male travel companion denies you, kindly show him this article.

Several women are literally left stranded because they didn’t know how to drive their motorhome or tow their travel trailer. Or simply, they lack the confidence to get their RV to the campground or even to home space. Don’t let this happen to you!

And to the guys who are driving your Miss Daisy, please have patience in teaching your better half or travel companion how to drive the RV.

Don’t be overly critical, yell, scream or lose your patience. Some things like learning to drive an RV takes considerable concentration and encouraging instruction.

So, be gentle with your teaching and guidance. Realize that she may do things a little differently than you but get the same result. Just as long as she’s driving the RV safely, relax, take a nap and enjoy your journey together.

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Women Should Know How to Drive Their RV - Always On Liberty

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