You’d be amazed at the number of motorhome insurance claims we get for motorhomes and campervans that have been scratched or dented in the process of simple manoeuvres. The size of motorhomes unfortunately does make them tough to squeeze into small parking spaces or perform three point turns with. Unfortunately, due to many of the roads in the UK, manoeuvring is something you really need to be proficient at if you’re going to be able to get around safely. So, to make life easier in those tight spots, here’s our guide to motorhome manoeuvring.
Three point turns easily turn into four-or-more point turns and can be slow and ineffective. The key with a good three point turn in a motorhome is to know your reversing limits and to go back as far as you possibly can. Of course, a reversing camera or, better still, a sensor will help you to make the most out of your turning circle.
Line yourself up as square as you can with the curb initially and make sure you turn back with the steering fully locked. Once you’re back as far as you can, lock the wheel the other way and move forwards. If you repeat the process until you come square, you should be able to turn round easily!
Another manoeuvre that’s usually considered tricky is the left reverse, but it’s an excellent way of making use of a cul-de-sac to turn your motorhome around. You should never reverse onto a main road but it’s legal to do so on minor roads in smaller and quieter areas.
To engage in a proper left reverse, line your motorhome up close to the curb on your left hand side. Once you have enough leeway to begin backing into the minor road you should engage reverse and start backing in slowly. Get back about ten yards and you should have enough room to turn into the original road but facing the other direction. The key here is to keep your speed really minimal; a steady speed will help you make the small adjustments necessary.
Reversing in Lanes
One of the motorhome owner’s major fears is being faced with a reversing situation on a narrow country road and having to back up to the nearest passing place. Though usually car drivers are sympathetic to the difficulties of reversing a motorhome, it’s not always the case and you do need to be proficient at backing up in the lanes.
The process starts before you even engage reverse; try to visualise your last passing place. Then, once you’ve engaged reverse keep your eyes in your mirrors and take things really slowly. Keep in control and edge as close as you can to your left hand side. If you’re reversing, you should expect anyone who comes up behind you to offer the same courtesy but if all else fails, verbal communication and a quick apology can really make a difference.
It is possible to take a course to sharpen up your manoeuvring skills and if you’re someone who isn’t completely confident when in reverse gear it can be a really helpful exercise to go through. Memorising particular focus points on your motorhome and knowing your margins of error can come just through practice in a safe environment, so don’t rule out the possibility of some training.
Usually instructors are more than happy to address any specific concerns you have with manoeuvring so make sure you let them know your difficulties. Reversing a motorhome under any circumstances is tough but especially so when you’re under pressure. Having some practice in a stress-free environment can really improve your abilities when it comes to the real thing.
The key for all motorhome manoeuvres is to take it really slow and to keep watching your mirrors. Make sure they’re well adjusted before you travel and make sure any reversing aids you have are switched on and ready to go when you need them.
If all else fails then just ask for help, usually a passenger or even a passing pedestrian will be more than happy to see you round a difficult corner or will guide you through a three point turn, so have confidence in your abilities and you’ll soon be manoeuvring with the best of them.