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first time campervan drivers
  1. Campervan
30th November 2021

9 tips for first time campervan drivers

Car Insurance from just £125 per year

One thing that puts a lot of people off investing in a campervan or motorhome is concern about how they will get on driving it. Here, the experts at Sterling Insurance provide 9 tips to calm the nerves of first time campervan drivers.

1. Size matters for first time campervan drivers

Your new motorhome will be much bigger than the car you’re used to driving so familiarise yourself with its dimensions. Be aware of its height, width and length so you can negotiate low bridges, width restrictions and fit into parking spaces. 

From the driver’s seat identify some reference points around the vehicle, such as the distance from your sitting position to the van’s side door or window. These will help when you are making tricky manoeuvres. Use these reference points while practising bay parking and reversing around corners. 

first time campervan drivers

2. Be aware of your limits

Being a first time campervan driver you won’t want to commit any unnecessary motoring offences so it’s a smart idea to find out  if your van is subject to special laws. Depending on the unladen weight of your campervan, it may have different speed limits from regular vehicles. 

Motorhomes of up to 3.05 tonnes unladen weight are viewed more or less the same as cars and are restricted to 30mph in built up areas, 60mph on single carriageways, and 70mph on dual carriageways and motorways.

Motorhomes in excess of 3.05 tonnes unladen weight are restricted to 30mph in built up areas, 50mph on single carriageways, 60mph on dual carriageways and 70mph on motorways.

3. Invest in auxiliary mirrors

Campervan mirrors provide excellent visibility but there may still be blind spots. Consider investing in auxiliary mirrors which increase vision and eliminate blind spots, making driving safer for you, other motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. You’ll also find it easier to park and pull out of tight spaces.

4. First time campervan drivers should stick to the main drag

Your satnav will guide you through the quickest route for your destination but it may not necessarily be the best route for first time campervan drivers. 

Plot your route yourself avoiding low bridges and other hazards you may find difficult to negotiate. It might even be worth buying a satnav specifically for motorhomes and other large vehicles. The consumer magazine Which? has reviewed the best campervan satnavs on the market.

Use a bit of common sense when driving your motorhome or campervan. It’s simple stuff, like making sure to park facing outward so you don’t have to reverse out with limited visibility, or asking a passenger to get out of the vehicle to help direct you while manoeuvring. 

5. A little common sense will go a long way

As always, read the road well ahead, don’t accelerate or brake violently and don’t be rushed into making any rash decisions while you’re driving.

6. Take your time, enjoy the view

Unless you’ve shelled out for a brand new top of the range camper, the acceleration on your vehicle will probably not be what you are used to on your everyday car.

Use that to your advantage. Take your time on the trip so you and your passengers will be able to enjoy the view. 

7. Practice makes perfect for first time campervan drivers

Practice makes perfect, so first time campervan drivers should have a quiet test run before venturing out on a long journey. Choose good roads in good daylight and avoid rush hour. 

Practice manoeuvres in a quiet car park or a disused airfield, if you live near one, until you are confident you can perform them without error on the public highway.

first time campervan drivers

8. Stow your luggage safely for a worry-free journey

Driving is a serious business so you won’t want any distractions, especially for first time campervan drivers. For that reason, you should pack your luggage carefully. The last thing you want is crockery, food, luggage or other items tumbling from shelves or cupboards as you go round a corner. Read this blog to discover the ultimate road trip packing list.

9. Get the right insurance for your campervan

First time campervan drivers will be able to drive and explore the world with confidence if they have the right campervan insurance cover. For a quick no obligation quote contact the campervan experts at Sterling Insurance.

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