RVgeeks Driving School: Mirror Adjustment & Lane Control

TheRVgeeks Driving School 121 Comments

In our first episode of RVgeeks Driving School, we covered the finer points of Off-Tracking & Rear Overhang. Today we’re starting a brand new semester with a focus on mirrors. Specifically, how they differ from car mirrors, how to adjust them, and how to use them.

Because we’re not RV technicians, we’ve always included the disclaimer that “we’re not professionals” with our How-To videos. But as we mentioned last time, driving is one situation where no caveat is required, as I (Peter) am a retired professional motorcoach operator and bus driving instructor. Standing in the stairwell of an MCI while teaching many hundreds of brand new, inexperienced trainees over the years (in a major city, no less) would typically garner comments such as “You must have nerves of steel” or “You must have a death wish.” So far, teaching on video has earned me a lot less notice for my alleged bravery or potential suicidal tendencies. Come to think of it, it does seem a lot safer. wink

This time we’ve worked to demonstrate as vividly as possible how to adjust your mirrors, then use them for both situational awareness of surrounding traffic and establishing good lane position & control.

Once again, we’ve put our 3D Robotics Solo quadcopter to good use, giving us an aerial overview that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. We’ve also added some overhead GoPro shots from high up on the side of our RV, and synchronized the footage with a driver’s-eye view. We hope the result is so clear that even a brand new RV driver will totally get it, and be safer from day one behind the wheel.

Whether you’ve been driving large vehicles with multiple flat & convex mirrors for years… or you don’t even know what convex mirrors are… we hope you’ll find some useful information to help keep you safer on the road.

We have future driving videos planned, but we appreciate your patience as the work involved in planning, shooting and editing these time-intensive pieces is considerable. We promise to release more of them as our work and travel schedule allows us.

In the meantime, please leave us a comment or question below. Let us know what you think, or if anything is unclear. We’d be interested to know, especially from newer RVers, if you find this information enlightening, or if if you knew most or all of this already.

Thanks so much, and safe travels,
Peter & John


Related Videos:



We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

We sometimes receive products for evaluation at no cost, and The RVgeeks are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. But our opinions are our own, you won’t pay an extra penny, and we only link to products we personally use, love and can recommend to friends with complete confidence.


Comments 121

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks so much for your support, Mary! We’re so happy to have you here with us, and on Patreon, too. We’re hoping to make a new driving video or two this year, but they are by far the most challenging to create (at least to create well). Maybe we’ll cross paths on the road so I can give you a few pointers in person! Safe travels – Peter & John

  1. Great video. Your clear and concise presentation is easy to watch, and learn the points presented. The video quality is very professional. Look forward to more in this series.

    Joe

  2. Thank you so much for all the information, I just purchased a 1994 Fleetwood Southwind, I have never driven one before. All of your videos really have helped me. I wish I can purchase all of your videos. Thank you again. Darlene.

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks so much for your kind comments, Darlene, and congratulations on your new rig! It’s always so gratifying to hear that our videos have been helpful, so we really appreciate your taking the time to write. :)

  3. Fantastic videos! On the blind spot issue, the chap (Barney?) that used (still?) to do the driving classes at Lazy Days Tampa must have been responsible for sale of a zillion plastic lens thingies that magnified the area around the right front wheel. Walmart calls it a CIPA 60300 11″ x 14″ Wide Angle Lens. You stick it on the passenger window.

    I liked it but your mirror aiming tutorial obviates the need for it.

  4. Great videos. I’m just getting a 33 ft class A. My last RV was about 15 yrs ago, a 34 ft tagalong. I did learn a couple things from the videos, but just as important was refreshing some things that I would have neglected, esp with the turning.

    1. Post
      Author
  5. Thanks for your videos, they have been a huge benefit to us. I’m about to retire and the wife and I just purchased a 30 foot Thor Ace. We bought it in Texas and drove it back to Delaware. First RV I’v ever owned or driven and your videos made me feel more comfortable, after setting the mirrors and trying to remember your driving advice as I piloted our retirement getaway home for the first time. The wife and I would love to meet you guys sometime. Loved your video with your Mom when the Wynns popped up from under the comforter! Couldn’t adjust our mirrors quite like you showed though, it didn’t dawn on me till I got home that maybe I could actually turn the entire chrome mirror till I could see only a small portion of the side of the motorhome. That is possible without breaking the mirror isn’t it? Everything is new to me, but exciting. Keep up the good work. We’ve been purchasing some products you use to have in our RV as I trust your opinion.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Joe! Thanks for the nice note and congratulations on your new rig. Maybe we’ll cross paths on the road sometime.

      The side view mirrors almost certainly are adjustable in two additional places that we didn’t cover in the video: 1) Where the arm meets the motorhome should be able to rotate forward or backward, allowing you to set it so the inside edge of the mirror lines up perfectly with the side of the RV, and 2) The mirror head itself, which should be able to rotate and adjust up and down. Both of these adjustments usually require a tool of some sort.. possibly an Allen wrench.

  6. For starters, I want to say that I’ve learned a lot from your videos! Keep up the good work – I’m sure a whole lot of RVers have benefited from them, as I have. Now my question: I drive solo mostly, so I don’t usually have a spotter. Do you have any videos about backing a rig solo? I’m getting better at it, but I’m sure I could benefit from some expert advice.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hey JD! Thanks for the nice comment. It’s always great to hear that our videos have been helpful, especially the driving videos, since that’s so near and dear to me, having been so involved in the safety & training side of the motorcoach industry for so long. I’m going to assume that you drive a motorhome? So I’m making the following points strictly with that in mind. If you’re driving an articulated vehicle (5th wheel or travel trailer) there will be some additional considerations that I’m not addressing here.

      You’ve brought up a big difference between driving a bus and driving an RV that many people probably don’t usually think about. And that’s the fact that RVing very often (most often for many of us) involves 2 people on board, who can work together as a team when needed. For bus drivers, that situation is virtually non-existent, as it’s a solo job.

      Like many professional drivers, over the years I drove a combination of local transit and commuter routes, along with multi-day tours. Not only was I totally alone to drive the coach, but also navigate (long before the days of GPS and back-up cameras). And of course the lives of the 40 or 50 passengers on board with me were my sole responsibility as well.

      Every bus driver I ever taught was being trained to operate their vehicle alone 100% of the time. So here’s the steps I recommend for solo drivers, particularly when it comes to backing up, which is of course the most vulnerable situation, due to lack of visibility from the driver’s seat.

      By the way, at my first bus driving job, in college, we were absolutely forbidden from putting buses into reverse without first obtaining permission over the radio from a supervisor. The transit routes we drove were set up so that backing up was never needed, and they knew that backing adds so much additional risk, just by its very nature, that it was prohibited. A fellow driver was spotted backing his bus down a campus street without calling in and was suspended for a week! ;-)

      Try using these techniques:

      1) Take a “mental picture” of the area you’re about to back into. As you’re driving forward to position yourself to back into a site, for example, slow or stop, and look into the site, making note of any and all obstacles. Don’t forget that you’re tall, so think in three dimensions, looking for trees, poles, etc. If necessary, stop the RV and get out to walk the site, again taking note of everything that might be an obstacle. Also, know how to pace off your rig’s length. I know that I pace EXACTLY 14 steps plus one foot to equal the length of our motorhome. I can walk into a campground and walk into any site and know if we’ll fit, even before bringing the rig in. If you’re unsure about anything, get out and look before backing, take that mental picture of everything there, and pace off the site if you’re not sure it’s long enough.

      2) Use EVERY tool at your disposal: All mirrors, both flat and convex, the back-up camera, and if things are really tight, ask someone to spot for you if possible… or consider another site. Just be very careful when it comes to a possible spotter. A “helpful” stranger who you don’t have a good rapport and understanding with can back you into something, then walk away to leave you to deal with the damage.

      3) Never let pressure, nerves, or anyone else drive your RV for you. That means that if you’re trying to maneuver in a tight spot and you’re not 100% sure that you’re clear of that power pedestal or tree or picnic table, don’t continue maneuvering just because stopping and getting out to look will block the campground roadway…. or make other campers think you don’t know what you’re doing (they’re strangers anyway, so who cares what they think of your driving ability). I’ve seen more accidents where drivers were embarrassed to simply stop, get out and evaluate the situation because people were watching them.

      When I was a brand new tractor-trailer driver (yup, I drove those, too), I misjudged a tight right turn badly, turning too soon. As I got in deeper and deeper, I realized that I was about to clip a telephone pole about 2 feet in front of the right rear trailer axles, and had a parked car in front preventing me from swinging wider. I was stuck with the entire intersection blocked up… both streets. Cars were honking, pressuring me to get out of their way. I stayed calm and took my time to back completely out of the intersection, realizing that embarrassment (and a little flop sweat LOL) would be forgotten in short order, but I would never forget an accident. So now I’m telling you this story with a chuckle and a lesson learned the easy way, instead of shame for damaging my employers truck (and my driving record).

      4) Beware of something called “Reverse Off-Tracking.” Assuming you saw our first driving video about Off-Tracking and Rear Overhang, there’s a seldom-discussed related danger when backing up around a corner. When backing up with the wheel turned to the right, the front left side of the RV sweeps to the left. Even though you’re sitting right there, it’s easy to forget about that sweep, allowing you to strike obstacles with your left side, right down below the driver’s seat, unless you remember to monitor in the convex mirror and out the left window. When backing with the wheel turned to the LEFT, it’s even more insidious, because now your RIGHT side (which is, by definition, your weak side) is sweeping to the right, basically moving sideways, as you back up. Taking that mental picture in advance will allow you to know that there’s a picnic table down there, and of course monitoring the right convex is key, but not an absolute, since it can’t see everything. When I’m backing up around a tight turn to the left, with my right side reverse-off-tracking to my weak right side, I ask my spotter (if available) to watch my right front corner, near the entrance door….. sometimes even more important than having them behind me. I can see behind me pretty well in the back-up camera, but I’m blind down along the entrance door, and that picnic table is lurking, waiting to dent my right side!

      5) When possible, back to the left. That means positioning yourself with the spot you’ll be backing into on the left side of your RV. That’s because the left side is your strong side (because you sit over there, allowing greater visibility). As a result, it’s always easier to back the the left than the right. Of course the campsite you’re pulling into may only be accessible from one side (one-way street through the campground for example), but when you have the option, back to the left.

      6) When backing up, align yourself as straight with your intended final position as much as you can while still rolling forward. Unless the roadway you’re on is very wide, this of course will not always be possible. But the straighter you back up (in other words the straighter you aligned yourself with the site while still rolling forward), the less maneuvering you’ll need to do while backing. The most common difficulty newer drivers have is steering while backing, with sawing back and forth too much or too far a common challenge to overcome. Backing straighter is easier, so straighten out with the site before backing as much as possible, doing more of the positioning of your angle in forward gear rather than in reverse.

      7) Lastly, unrelated to backing, is right quarter vision. You may have noticed that if you pull up to a stop where the cross street is angled about 30-60 degrees from your position (with the left turn being shallow and the right turn being sharp), you can’t see down the road to the right. That’s because your RV doesn’t have a row of continuous window down the right side, like a car does. This is a common occurrence when exiting a parking lot for example. When we’re in that situation, I ask John if I’m all clear back to the right, since I can’t see it out the window in the entrance door (I can only see about 90 degrees straight out), or in the mirrors (right flat mirror only sees into the distance back along the length of the RV and even the convex only sees a modest angle out from the side of the rig…. and not very far into the distance.

      Lacking the luxury of a co-pilot’s extra set of eyes in this case, the best thing you can do to prevent having your right quarter vision obstructed by your own RV is to position yourself perpendicular to the roadway that you’ll be entering whenever possible, especially when you’ll be turning left. That means exiting parking lots by making sure to drive straight up to the exit, not at an angle (if you’re turning right, you can be angled to the right, since you can see out the left side for oncoming traffic regardless of your angle).

      Hope these tips help a bit. Guess I’ll have to add “backing” to our list of driving videos. :)

      Safe Travels,
      Peter

  7. I just completed my first trip in our 30ft Class A motorhome and I found the driving videos to be extremely helpful. This is the first time I have driven a big vehicle like this and because I watched the information given I was able to get the mirrors set correctly, etc. It also really helped me understand the cut-in and kick-out of the motorhome. Thank you very much for publishing this information in an easy to understand way.

    -^-Norm-^-

    1. Post
      Author

      Congratulations on your new RV, Norman! And thank you so much for taking the time to share such a nice comment. Since we make these videos to share our experience with fellow RVers, hearing things like this really makes our day. Thanks so much, and safe travels.

  8. Your videos are amazing! Love the Trona Pinnacles view from above. We are stopping through there in a few weeks. Had originally planned a month in Arizona but those temperatures are a little too high, so we’re off to one of our most favorite areas,
    Alabama Hills / Eastern Sierras.
    This driving school video is so thorough. We used to live full-time in a Class A motorhome, and now travel part-time with a truck and trailer. Still working on the whole backing up thing and figuring out where best to place myself to help Michael. Next will be getting behind the wheel myself and I know that you’ve taught me some very handy tips.
    thanks – Imkelina

  9. Thank you for the excellent video.
    After more than thirty years driving I realised that my rearview mirrors were set all wrong!
    And I’m talking about the car!

    1. Post
      Author
  10. That was a great video. I have been driving RVs for a number of years now so I figured out most of the techniques on my own. I wish I had a video like that when I bought my first one.

    Thank you so much for creating the videos. I am always looking for how to improve my driving skills. Keep them coming!

    Jim Minisce

  11. Pingback: RV Mirror Adjustment & Use + Lane Position & Control | DutchEagle.com/RV

  12. I just watched your mirror video. It looks like it was filmed on the 10 going East towards Indio. We live in the Banning Pass, so I’m familiar with this area. Nikki Wynn’s video was filmed in the same area during a recant rain storm. It’s kind of strange seeing these videos of our area.

    1. Post
      Author

      Yes indeed, Stephen! Much of that video was indeed filmed on I-10 heading east from Palm Springs toward Indio. Coincidentally, Nikki shot her video within 24 hours of ours, as we were all en route to the same spot near Joshua tree National Park to boondock together right after all that rain. :)

  13. Another great driving school video. I like the combined view of the in sync video’s it gives you the feeling of really driving your coach around. (I don’t think you guys would let me hahahaha)

    Do you also use the back camera to scan the traffic or is the toad covering to much to see anything?

    1. Post
      Author

      We can indeed see traffic in the back-up camera, but it’s of somewhat limited use due to the small area covered by the camera. But every piece of information helps, and we always keeps it on.

  14. Hello! I am enjoying and learning from your generous sharing videos! Thank you for those! Would you please share soon how you control moisture and moisture build-up in your home? My husband and I are having our 1976 GMC Motorhome renovated, and I really need to keep it from molding/mildewing when we get it from the shop that is doing the renovations. I have come to respect your experience and opinions and would love to hear from you around this subject. Thanks, Nancy White

    1. Post
      Author
    2. Thanks! I watched it and there was very good information and products. Is there anything else that should be done in the summer in humid climates? I have no idea where we are going to be at anytime of year so I would like to know everything I can about moisture control for all seasons and areas. There is a good chance we will be in the east coast southern states during the sweltering months… your thoughts? Thanks, Nancy

      1. Post
        Author

        If you’re going to be in hot, humid climates… we assume you’ll also be using your air conditioning… a lot! ;) With that running, it should remove a lot of the moisture from the inside of the RV, helping to keep it cool and free of mold/mildew.

        If that’s not the case, you’re still probably OK… the issue with moisture in the RV is mostly due to condensation. In the winter/cold climates, the cold outside penetrates into the walls… and when it encounters warm, moist air from the interior, the moisture condenses. If that happens inside your walls/floors/ceilings, it can lead to mold/mildew/rot. So venting out moisture with a roof vent, allowing some cold (and dry) air in from outside, using the driest possible sources of heat (heat pumps or electric space heaters) and keeping an eye out for signs of condensation (usually around your window frames or any single pane glass like a windshield) are your best bets. If those don’t work, you could plug in an electric dehumidifier (if you have the power available) or use those small-space dehumidifiers that use desiccating pellets to help cut down.

        Hope this helps!

  15. Great video. We have never driven an RV but hope to be full timers soon (baptism by fire). Had no idea how the mirrors worked, so this was very insightful.

    1. John, see my comment below. Being a newbie you’ll want to get off on the right track from the start. Also, I recommend building up driving skill by taking your future coach out in the regions around your neighborhood, as being good driving practice since you know those roads the best. I did this early on when I was training myself and building confidence. Late mornings to early afternoons on week days are best, before school buses and rush hour traffic are on the roadways. I did this just about daily for a week or two, and was well prepared for secondary road driving before our first trip. I found expressway driving easier than on secondary roadways.
      Good luck to you, I hope you get the coach of your dreams. Find my comment below.

  16. I have watched all your videos and some more then once. This was outstanding and very professionally done!

    Where is the beautiful bridge in the very beginning of the video?

    1. Post
      Author
  17. Great video! I’m looking forward to your next driving video. I drive a pickup and your tips can also be used to improve my driving habits in it.

  18. Another great video. Thank you.
    Lane control was maddening for me as I always used the method you described. While effective, it was just too much work load. I’ve found a much easier method by keeping the center gauge in the dash, aligned with the left wheel track of the road way. In other words, align the center gauge where the left wheels of the cars ahead are riding and have created a visible track of wear on the roadway. One can check the accuracy of this in their particular coach by using the method you describe in the video.

    1. Post
      Author

      That’s great, Nick. I’m a big fan of whatever works for an individual driver. I’ve heard several takes on the same lane control method (one popular one is to visually align your right foot on the accelerator with the dark grease spot down the middle of the lane, for example).

      The reason I don’t teach those methods is because I don’t like practices that cast the eyes downward more than needed, as a key defensive driving technique focuses on gathering information far into the distance as part of your early warning system. That means consciously practicing keeping your eyes up. And since the mirrors should get scanned every 5-8 seconds anyway, I like that method for gathering lane position information, too. I definitely agree that in the beginning, the workload for a new driver is very high, and there’s only so much they can pay attention to. But as they gain proficiency and confidence, more and more mental bandwidth is freed up for other driving tasks as more things become automatic.

      That said… whatever works well for you is great!

  19. Hey guys another great video….as usual. I wanted to add that when I bought my rig the previous owner had added a convex movable plastic tab about the size of a place mate . It can be moved to any window but I keep it mounted in the passenger side window. I can see anyone “hiding” in the invisible area you mentioned in the video. I don’t know how much one of these cost but can’t be more than five bucks. Just another way of adding some extra safety. You’re correct about the right side being the dangerous side of the rig.
    On an additional note. I noticed in the video that your upper mirror doesn’t rattle/shake. I have the same type of mirrors and that large upper section vibrates and rattles alot. Any ideas how to stop it??
    Thanks

    vin

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks Vin. The added convex sounds like a useful additional tool, but of course don’t let your scanning down! Not sure how to stop rattling in the mirror, as we’ve been fortunate to have never had to deal with that. If yours is like ours, it’s quite a big, enclosed assembly, so not sure how to start looking for places to tighten things up. I don’t even know how they’d get the glass out of there if it needed to be replaced. Sorry not of more help on that one.

  20. Thanks for all the thought and execution that went into this. All the angles you provided produced a must-see video for my wife and me as I transition into retirement later this year and hit the road full time with our Newmar Ventana. Thanks again.

    1. Post
      Author
  21. I was happy to see I’ve adopted good habits on setting and scanning the mirrors. But I was very surprised I had not noticed the blind spot at the front right corner of my RV, if it wasn’t for constant scanning I might have had in incident by now. Great video, thank you very much!

  22. I enjoy reading your blog’s for the content and valuable tips you choose to share. Each blog begins with the disclaimer that you’re not professionals. You are sharing your experiences as RV owners and passing along the day to day operations and maintenance of your personal RV.

    If you have been doing this for 12+ years, was previously a professional coach operator and trainer, then I personally feel your disclaimer is incorrect. You are professionals. You’re highly skilled with all your videos and valuable information that is passed along to your readers. If you’re not professionals, then what constitutes a professional? It’s a combination of passion, trial and error, and experience.

    There’s probably no degree in RVing nor any certifications that could be earned but who says you cannot be a professional. I say you are and I will continue to read your blogs and watch videos because I appreciate your professional guidance.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Roger! Thanks so much for your kind comments. We really appreciate your supportive thoughts. Since we make so many videos about things that are commonly handled by professionally trained RV technicians, we just like to make it clear that we have no official training of that sort at all. As far as being “professional RVers”… we’ll take it!

  23. I am just learning to be my husband’s back up driver and this video was extremely helpful. It must have taken quite a bit of time to think how you would film this. Thank you for putting to video what my husband was telling me as this reinforcement said in a different way helps the learning process.

    1. Post
      Author
  24. Another amazing video! Your videos confirm that our mirrors were adjusted properly but I didn’t realize that small vehicles can actually disappear from any view. We have a small window in our entrance door that is some help. I liked your advice to run in the right hand lane as much as possible. Thank you from all of us in our RV family. Hope you have a great and well deserved vacation.
    Best Wishes!
    R&A

  25. Excellent video (as was the turning radius one), and while watching it I kept imagining how long it must have taken to set up and capture all those different shots. THANKS! We’ve been full-timing in a class A for two years and one thing we were nervous about when getting started was knowing when we could safely change lanes (i.e. in the mirrors, where is the back of our tow car relative to the cars in the next lane). I’d love to see you guys cover that at some point, maybe as a follow-on to the mirror adjustment video, or even just a short write-up to build on the learning from this video. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge in such a professional and clear way!

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks Mike! I’ll let you in on a little secret… even the most talented, experienced driver in the world can’t tell precisely how far back a car is by looking in the mirrors. They just won’t tell you right where they are. That said, they will give you a good idea, based on how small they’ve become in the flat mirror, and how far up the glass (by the time you’re far enough past to change lanes, they’ve shrunk to a speck in the convex, so that mirror is useless for this purpose).

      So here’s what I suggest for practice… use the back-up camera in the following way:

      Just like side-view cameras, the back-up camera is a tool that provides additional feedback (but does not replace other primary feedback, in this case mirrors). I never had any cameras in all the years I drove motor coaches, and I have to say I love having it now. I keep it on 100% of the time, and include it in my scan (even when not towing… but of course it’s great for monitoring the toad too). The camera’s high mounting point allows you to judge the exact location of that car you’re just about to finish passing far better than the mirrors, because of the angle looking downward.

      The reason it doesn’t do the whole job of letting you know when you can move over is because of its limited range (at least in our case). By the time the car is far enough behind that you won’t be cutting it off when you change lanes, the car has already been beyond the camera’s view for a pretty good bit. So use the camera this way… without staring (always glance, don’t stare), compare the view in the mirrors with the view in the camera as you slowly pass a car, somewhat similar to what we did with the GoPro mounted high up in the video. When you can see the car about to disappear from the camera view (it will probably be alongside, or just falling behind, your toad around that time, depending on your rig), note the view in the flat mirror. What does the car look like and where is it positioned in the mirror glass (larger and lower down = closer).

      Since you want to allow LOTS of space anyway (since we all want to avoid being one of those guys who passes, then cuts right in front of people), let the car continue to fall behind as you scan the mirror, again noting the apparent size and mirror position of the car (smaller and further up the glass = further away). It will take a long time to develop the confidence that you can now move over. It was one of the things that took me longest, and honestly, to this day I’m sure I still allow more space than needed… which is probably a really good habit.

      Wish I could give you a simple trick, but this question doesn’t have on of those, other than to leave plenty of space as you do it again and again and again, for years. As time goes by, you won’t think about it any more, and that will only be due to practice, experience and confidence. It’s just one of those things.

  26. You all produce very helpful videos. Please don’t ever think that because Jason and Nikki, for instance, created a video on a particular subject that you should not. Most of us need to hear/see things multiple times before we understand. It’s frequently helpful to get thsee lessons from different perspectives. Technomadia may approach the same subject a bit differenty. It’s all helpful. Thank you all.

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks Elizabeth! We’re good with some duplication for that very reason, but since we have so many crossover followers, we’ll be mentioning their video so nobody thinks we didn’t know they just made one! And because it’s great info too. ;-)

  27. Hi guys, great learning video w great production! My partner of 20+ yrs has no big vehicle experience and as we are going FT this summer I need him to be my back up, so I will have him watching your videos before we start his lessons! I drove large (49 passenger, non synchromesh) buses back in my college days (dating myself!) and certain people seem to do what you explain more naturally than others as I also taught new drivers. The combination of scanning, knowing when to start a turn and double clutching was just too much for some! As a side note we are using your info in the New Orleans video and the ferry one for a section of our travels. Thanks for such great info that you present so well! Kudos to both of you!

    1. Post
      Author

      Hey Ron & Mike! Thanks for the nice comment. You certainly have my respect, as the two bus companies I was with both had almost exclusively automatic transmissions. The “old timers” were the few driving the non-snycho manual transmissions (GM deck-and-a-half “Buffalos”), and the few times they took me out for lessons, I sure gained a healthy respect for it! And don’t worry about dating yourself. The first buses I drove (also in college) were 1950’s era GM “Old Looks” like Ralph Kramden drove on the Honeymooners! We’re excited for you going full-time this summer. We remember what a thrill it was to reach escape velocity. And if I heard correctly, the ferry in NOLA is no longer free… but still a great way to go. Safe travels.

      1. After some research, the Algiers (NOLA) ferry is $2 for pedestrians and bikes (exact change only!). Staying at Bayou Segnette like you guys over Labor Day (Southern Decadence… Whoopie!) and our concern is the last Ferry back is around 9:30 unless they extend the hours over the holiday weekend. We are both in our early 60’s but can party like 30 somethings if motivated! BTW I drove buses in the early 70’s for a company that was contracted by the Long Island Railroad from Babylon to Montauk Pt going through the Hamptons. The electric trains ended at that time in Babylon and people got off the train and on buses for the rest of their trip. Had to keep to a schedule, take and sell tickets etc. Drove evenings and weekends, great job while in college. Keep up the good work and I look forward to following your upcoming trip! Are you doing any more Driving videos B 4 U go? Need to get Mike trained, U know “go on the paper”! LOL!

        1. Post
          Author

          Sorry we won’t be able to get any more driving videos up nearly that fast, especially because we’re planning the next one to be the “big one” (defensive driving) which is a major topic and will take a LOT of planning, scripting shooting and editing. We want it to be epic, which will of course slow the whole process to a crawl! LOL We’ll be back on the road in late April, and plan to shoot that one during May for a (hopefully) June release. We’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, hit Mike with a rolled-up newspaper if necessary. ;-)

  28. Thanks for the great video. It is good way to explain to my wife, who I am training to drive our coach in how to set her mirrors. Do y’all use a dash cam when traveling? Is there advance to it or just for fun?

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks John! Glad we can help you share the driving with you wife. It’s always good to have a competent extra driver in case of the unexpected. We don’t own a dash cam. We had a company offer to send us one for evaluation, but we couldn’t figure out why we would recommend one to our viewers, other than for fun, so we declined. We know they’re popular in places like Russia, where insurance fraud is supposedly rampant, but other than the off-chance of videoing an accident, deer strike, meteor or other unusual event, we’re not sure what we’d do with it…. other than to hope for something crazy to happen so we could get a viral video out of it! ;-)

  29. As usual an excellent video guys! I have driven (and do for the next 4 weeks until I retire!) triple trailers for a large delivery company for years and before that package delivery trucks. Your videos are spot on as usual. I’m always asked if driving our 41 foot motorhome is like driving the triple trailers and can honestly say no, but there are many similarities. :-) Excellent comments about awareness of vehicles passing and keeping track of them to avoid losing them in the blind spot. That technique has saved me many times.

    My question is regarding three mirrors. My current motorhome has three mirrors, the same two mirrors that my commercial trucks have had and the addition of a small trapezoidal convex mirror at the top. I have used that to see the area closer to the front window ground… the “blind spot”. What is your opinion as many larger motorhome have that setup, is that correct?

    Again excellent videos and thanks!

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Bill! Congratulations on your upcoming retirement! My CDL included double & triple trailers, as well as tankers and HazMat, but I only took the written for those to have them on my license, and only ever drove buses and single tractor-trailers. With my brief time driving semis, I can only imagine how much more is involved with triples. They’ve always struck me as being like freight trains cruising down the highway!

      The only vehicles I ever drove with more than two mirrors on each side were the occasional truck that had an extra convex on one or both sides, which was larger and more curved. These were probably added as aftermarket items, and simply improved the view over factory convex (basically by virtue of its larger size, greater curve and/or adjustability). With that addition, it could have allowed the original convex, having been improved upon, to simply be removed, but it seems like they sometimes left both. A bad idea if you ask me, since it potentially gave a driver more to scan, with no added benefit.

      The mirrors I believe you’re referring to are (I think) becoming more common. Again, if I’m correct about the one you have in mind, it’s mounted high up, above the flat mirror, and angled down, with the purpose being to look more completely into the blind area between the convex and the view out the windshield. I’m all for adding anything that helps with the driving task, and view these mirrors the same way I view side-view cameras: yet one more tool to complete the big picture, properly adjusted and used, of course.

  30. As a thirty-year veteran of the bus industry, fifteen of which was the training supervisor for our local transit system, and now a very active member of the bus conversion RV circle, I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve been appalled at the poor mirror adjustment drivers put up with. It’s far easier to work with newbies to correct the adjustment initially, than to correct experienced operators with bad habits, as you’ve probably discovered yourselves.

    I’m glad to see (literally!) that you incorporated the instruction about having just a sliver of the side of the coach visible in the flat mirror – that’s probably the biggest mistake most folk make, along with having too much horizon taking up valuable real estate. Or they have the RH flat glass glued to the rear wheel – not good!

    IMHO, there really isn’t anything to critique about this video. It’s well-filmed, well-edited, well-narrated with an excellent script and overall a great production. You’ve set the bar pretty high for other “how-to” driving instruction videos. Kudos to a job well-done! :)

    1. Post
      Author

      There is nothing more rewarding than hearing comments of this nature from fellow professionals. I can’t thank you enough for your kind words, and hope that we can continue to create worthwhile driving safety videos going forward.

  31. Once again, you guys have done an awesome job. I’ve logged many thousand miles in our 43′ Dutch Star (but I’m still learning). Gayle is still working towards her Class B license and this video series will certainly be helpful for both of us.
    We are planning a long (three months and 12,000 miles) trip this summer and are just starting our first blog. We look forward to your next videos, both for training and to travel vicariously with you across the pond. Thanks much and safe travels!

    1. Post
      Author
  32. Having spent a good portion of my career behind the wheel of a bus and truck, I have to commend you on your presentation regarding lane control and proper mirror adjustment. I have a little over 3 million accident and violation free miles under me and spent a lot of it as a trainer, teaching others how to do it.

    I only have one idea that I came up with when explaining “scanning” the mirrors. Some folks get stuck on that because they don’t really understand how long they need to look at the mirror to process the information given there. I told my students to work from mirror to mirror to mirror about every 3-5 seconds, which you have said in your presentation. I added the terminology of “Take a photograph of the image in the mirror, instead of a video”. If you work between your mirrors, when you come back to the next one in the cycle, your brain will compare the last “photo” with the one you are taking now and in most cases, you will react to that change because you don’t have to stare at it to make sure it’s happening…. Just a thought…. Thank you for passing along valuable information… Everyone can use a refresher now and then…

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks so much for adding that great input, Greg. I’ve never heard the concept of metering scan time phrased as “Take a photograph, not a video” before, and I really like it! I’m adding that one into my repertoire for next time I get someone staring too long at any one spot. Being both a photographer and a videographer, it really strikes a chord with me! We all keep learning new tricks, and I really appreciate your adding that phrase to my utility belt. I’ll be talking about scanning in substantially more detail in a future video on defensive driving, which is shaping up to be a monumental undertaking, so won’t be out for a while.

      1. Glad to hear you are doing more to help educate us all. I have all these miles behind me, but have always lived by the philosophy that the day I quit learning about driving, it’s the day I should walk away from it… or it would kill me. You can never be better than that coach, 5th wheel or any type or size of vehicle. Just about the time you really think you have the “bull by the horns”, it will bite you and remind you who is boss.

        Let me know if I can help your project in any way….

  33. First, getting notification that you have a new driving school video out is akin to getting notification that a OkGo has a new music video out. (In case that’s not clear – that means instead of just watching your video, we set aside time in the evening to thoroughly immerse ourselves in it).

    This series is off the charts amazing, and you are saving lives. You are instilling confidence in people, and making the roads a safer place for us all. I can’t thank you enough for that.

    Second, the amount of effort and time and dedication you guys put into this came through loud and clear. It’s so professionally done, the different shots explained these things so well. And of course, we had the privilege of being able to witness some of that prep in advance of your filming day to know just how much tweaking you did to get this just right.

    Third. I drove the bus the other day. Using the tips you shared in the last video for planning turns, I successfully navigated us out Saddle Mountain RV Park (same spot you were in) to the parking lot. You know how many turns that is ;) Hey, it’s not the open road… but one step at a time. Thank you!

    Love you guys!

    1. Post
      Author

      Now how am I supposed to drive safely when my head is too big to fit inside the RV? Even if you are biased because we all love each other so much, we’re really moved. Thank you so much.

      And how wonderful is it that you got behind the wheel of Zephyr! You’ve got to walk before you can run, and the multiple twists and turns at Saddle Mountain RV Park are a great starting point.

      Also, your ears must have really been burning, because I’ve been sitting here all afternoon editing our next video, which will be about tilting our solar panels (we know… Jason & Nikki just did that, but we can too!), and just grabbed your logo and the link to your website’s solar section to feature as a resource FAR more worthwhile than we are when it comes to solar (and so much more)! We all have our strengths, so we’re happy to be providing the “driving” part while you do all the real work!

      We sure hope you’re having a great trip east. Miss you loads.

      Love,
      Peter (& of course John, too)

  34. Anne and I always enjoy your videos, but “Mirror Adjustment and Lane Control” is one of the best driving videos I’ve ever seen. Very informative and the production quality is superb.

    1. Post
      Author
  35. This is the best ‘how to set your mirrors’ video in the world. Period.

    Not only is the video amazing your post work is incredible. The picture-in-picture editing is spot on and the vocal instruction is very professional. I also love the tip on how to use all mirrors to judge lane position.

    The bridge in the opening seconds is gorgeous. (With all my tolls I now own a square inch. )

    1. Post
      Author

      Humbled by your kind comments, and cannot thank you enough, John. Makes the effort to produce videos like this all worthwhile. And we love the new Port Mann Bridge, too. Even paying the tolls is cool, when we automatically get a text a few minutes after crossing it, letting us know we’ve paid. Hard to complain about the toll when the tech for paying it is so cool!

  36. Very good video. Much what I have self-learned in the past year. One thing that I found very helpful is the addition of a fresnel lens to the passenger window. With that, I can see vehicles that are otherwise obscured in the blind spot. In my coach, I find that a car will disappear from the convex mirror at the same instant I pick it up on my fresnel lens. A really great addition I won’t be without. Thanks for your efforts making all the great videos.

    http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B000TCCWS2?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s00

  37. As mentioned in my comments, it doesn’t show on the view screen UNTIL the turn signal is activated. Therefore, I don’t believe it’ll be a distraction, but will be absolutely useful in clearing before a turn, especially a right turn.

  38. Excellent video and great instruction! I would be interested in any guidelines for anticipating turn radius–both forward around curves and backward parking, as well as parallel parking. Driving a 45 foot RV is not the same as a tractor trailer, but would be like a tour bus, wouldn’t it?

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks, Phil! Driving a 45′ motorhome is exactly like driving a 45′ bus. In addition to motor coaches, I drove tractor-trailers for a short time too, and they are a much different beast, considerably more challenging in many ways. As far as positioning for turns and backing, that’s another video topic on its own! I can’t explain it properly here, other than to say to use your knowledge of off-tracking and rear overhang, and information you gather in your mirrors, to practice and get a feel for the rig. Knowing that off-tracking will occur when cornering, and monitoring it in the mirrors to both ensure that you don’t hit the curb (choose a place with no overhanging branches, poles, etc) and know how MUCH you missed it by, will be a great learning tool. Each RV is different based on wheelbase, wheel cut and length of the rear overhang, so we’ll try to address some basic tips applicable to as many RVs as we can in a future video.

      One quick tip for practicing in an empty parking lot… lower your right flat mirror to look at the right rear tires, where they contact the pavement. Position yourself where you think you need to be (try starting by approaching a turn with the curb or cones about 8 feet away the right side, and pull about 4 feet past the corner before initiating the turn). Then right at the apex of the turn, note the distance of your rear tires from the curb (stop and get out to see the detail the first time, but then the flat mirror will show you pretty well… and of course stop if you see in the mirror that the space between the RV and the curb is about to disappear completely, as you’re about to hit it). If you came too close, or had to stop before hitting the curb, stay wider left and/or pull further out before initiating the turn next time. If you’re too wide…. more than about 2 feet of space between the rear tires and the curb… stay further right and/or pull less far forward next time.

      If you do that enough times, watching each time to see how close you came to the curb, you will develop visual and muscle memory of how far out and far laterally you need to position yourself to make the turn. Be sure there are no other vehicles around, since you’ll be compromising your right-side view by lowering the right mirror. After you’ve done a few with the mirror down, put the flat mirror back in the usual position, and see how well you do with the convex only, which is harder to see detail in because everything is so small…. but that’s the way real life will be, so get used to it!

      The rule of thumb is that the narrower the street or driveway you’re turning into is, the wider you need to stay to successfully make the turn. Of course that opens up your right side to a foolish pass attempt by another unwitting driver…. but safeguarding against that sort of thing is part of what we’ll cover in a future video. Suffice it to say…. mirrors, mirrors, mirrors are key #1. ;-)

  39. Very interesting and helpful. I am new to the class A RV (had a B+ for 10 years). The driving of a class A is very different and I am going to practice with your video in mind! Thanks!!!

  40. The mirror use video is the best, most helpful safety advice I’ve ever watched. Just wish I had seen it sooner. Bought my RV last year and had a lot of angst on the first trips. Didn’t bend any metal but had one close call when right side vehicle merging into interstate never appeared in mirror. They were exactly where you describe as most dangerous location. Thank you for this great information.

    Jack
    28′ Coachman Motorhome

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks, Jack! Suddenly seeing a vehicle right next to you when you never saw it coming can be a good way to suddenly bring your heart right up into your throat! Glad nothing get bent.

  41. Great video! I’ve been driving a 34ft Bouncer since 1988 and learned why I adjust the mirrors as I do. I’ve ordered a new coach that has side mounted cameras and am anxious to see how they supplement my viewing. I expect they should assist, however they only show on the screen when the turn signal is activated, as I understand, since I haven’t driven it yet. Any thoughts

    1. Post
      Author

      Congratulations on your upcoming new rig, Bruce! I’m a big fan of technology that enhances safety & visibility, including back-up and side-view cameras. I expect they will likely aim directly into the most hidden part of that front transition area between the convex and the windshield. The only have two caveats I have regarding tech: 1) Never let it replace what already existed (all four mirrors), but rather add to and enhance them as an added tool, and 2) Be aware of any shortcomings or hidden negative effects that using the tech may create… in this case, potentially bringing your vision down into the driver’s area to look at the camera vs focusing your vision outside, where it’s most needed. As long as you only scan the camera info, vs dwelling on it (which you already get, as you talked about “supplementing” your view, which is absolutely correct) it’s a terrific addition to increased situational awareness. Wish we had ’em! ;-)

    2. I’ve been driving a 2013 Itasca Reyo (26′) with side mirror cameras for three years. I find I depend on the mirrors more than the cameras, but maybe that’s just me.

      1. Post
        Author
  42. Nice job. As a CDL myself as a schoolbus driver and an RV er this is a great discussion about the use of mirrors. Thanks RV Geeks for bringing forward great information that help to keep all of us safer and better drivers!

    1. Post
      Author
  43. Thanks guys for your very helpful videos! I have enjoyed learning about maintaining my RV with your videos. I even learned how to boil eggs the correct way for easy peeling!
    Thanks for the video on mirror usage & adjustment.

    1. Post
      Author
  44. Excellent.. as usual, from you two… (now that bar has been set even higher!).
    Thank you very much: going out to reset my mirrors immediatly!

    1. Post
      Author
  45. Awesome job. Very clear presentation. For those of us that have done no or very little large vehicle driving, these videos take away much fear and uncertainty. I can’t wait to use this information in my own rig.

    1. Post
      Author
  46. Another well thought out and executed video with excellent advice. It appears your past employment experiences shines through in the making of this/these video. And I love the drone work. Just enough to make your point, not overdone. Overall, your videos have a very professional look to them, unlike any others I’ve seen. Bravo!! (I do miss the ragtime piano playing though…perhaps eliminating one of the couches and replacing it with a baby grand. Hey, I’m not kidding, it probably could be done. If done…I would be happy to provide the candelabra!)

    1. Post
      Author
  47. Great video! I’ve watched other mirror adjustment videos before that were not as clear in their process of adjustment. Yours process is much better. Also, yours is the first video I have seen on how to adjust the convex mirror…info I definitely needed! You’ve got the video process down pat. Now if we can just update the “stock shots” library used in the video(s)…like shots of a rig with a large dish on the roof that is no longer there? :) Gotta keep you honest! Again, a great and informative video. When’s the next one?

    P.S. Was pulling my 5th wheel home from a week in Gatlinburg, TN on January 2nd when the locking mechanism on the hitch broke loose and sent 10K+ pounds of trailer slamming into the rear position of the sliding hitch. When I went to stop, it came slamming forward. If that won’t pucker your backside! This cycle continued a couple more times until it got locked in the rear(maneuvering) position with the locking handle in the towing position. Turns out the holes in the slider bars were punched too hard which made them depressed too much(by 1/4 inch instead of the 1/8 inch spec), so the locking pins eventually wore down the holes over a two year period. Cequent(Reese) has already sent me a new slider section under warranty. I’m swapping it out sometime this week since it will be in the 70’s and sunny down here in Alabama this weekend. That Reese is a hell-of-a-hitch. It never blinked with 10K+ yanking it from stop to stop. Later guys!

    1. Post
      Author

      Sounds like you’re lucky you didn’t have a heart attack with that trailer slamming like that! Glad it worked out okay. And thanks for the nice comment. Glad you liked the video. Next time we’re gonna Photoshop that old dish off the roof, and really mess with your head. LOL

  48. Extremely well-done video! I tow a 25-foot Airstream with a Toyota Tundra, using extended mirrors on both sides. I’ll try to apply similar principles with regard to horizon and side of the trailer when next setting up and towing. Thanks, and have a great trip Down Under.

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks Doug! Extended mirrors are great for improving the view, especially with a large, round, adjustable convex out there. The big round ones with a good curve to them are my favorite types. I used to specifically request them on my buses whenever possible. The extra curve to the glass shows a wider area, and the larger size (at least 6″ in diameter) makes up for how small that extra curve makes everything look!

    1. Post
      Author
  49. Hi guys !
    That’s the best explanations i’ve seen… ever !
    Thank for the wonderful job !
    Keep up with the videos, i can’t wait to watch the next one.

    Jean
    (The french Canadian)

    1. Post
      Author
  50. I would like to purchase the mirrors for my class C motorhome. Please advise the manufacturers name and model number and if you know where I might purchase them.

    Thanks

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Howard! All motorhomes should have come from the factory with both flat & convex mirrors attached. Did yours not include both types? Or are they simply in need of replacement? Our specific mirror assemblies are very large, due to the size of our rig, so likely not appropriate for a class C installation. I’m guessing that yours are mounted on a u-shaped rod that connects near the top and bottom of the side windows? If you’re looking to replace the convex, we recommend getting a nice large adjustable round one, maybe something similar to this: http://amzn.to/248D96y (we don’t own that specific mirror, but at 6″ diameter, it’s nice and large, for good viewing area). Something like that should do the trick. Hope this helps.

We'd Love To Hear From You... Leave A Comment!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.