It can be one of the scariest things for rookie RVers, and some may try hitting back roads to avoid it. Rumbling down an on a ramp while traffic zooms past and trying to find a way to sneak your rig in can be scary for even an RVer that has done it a thousand times. You don’t always need to go white-knuckled when hitting the interstate. With some tips, tricks and general techniques, you can get a general idea of how to merge in traffic while RVing?
Tips for When You Need to Merge an RV in Traffic
Let’s start back at the RV itself before we get right into merging. Half of the battle in learning how to merge in traffic while RVing will be fought before you even get on the road. If you want to have a much easier time merging it helps to have your RV mirrors set up and exactly how you need them. Having your RV mirrors adjusted will help you spot all motorists on the road and help ensure you don’t have a gaping blind spot.
Consider adding supplementary mirrors to your rig to make things easier such as extended side view mirrors as well as fish-eye mirrors, also known as wide-angle mirrors. These can expand your perspective and give you a better idea of what all the cars on the road are doing before you merge. The more perspective you have, the less chance you have of missing a car in your blind spot and playing an unwanted game of bumper cars. Now that you know the importance of adjusting your mirrors and adding supplementary mirrors let’s get into merging itself.
How to Merge an RV in Slow Traffic
You may hate slow crawling traffic when you are in your normal vehicle, but it can be your friend when you are in an RV. Slow or compacted traffic means that you don’t need to make any snap decisions on when to move over. In this type of situation, it’s best to pretend like you’re a tractor-trailer and do what they do.
Put your blinker on right when you hit the on-ramp though most people know you need to merge it’s still helpful to have something to grab attention. Make your shift into the next lane deliberate but don’t yank the wheel over. You may need to wait for a vehicle to let you in, especially in bumper to bumper traffic. When you see your spot make sure you check and recheck your mirrors before pulling into your lane.
How to Merge an RV in Steady Traffic
Unfortunately, there won’t always be bottlenecks where you can wait your turn to merge into traffic. Most of the time you will have to merge like any other vehicle, and while this may seem scary at first remember hundreds of thousands of RV owners and semi drivers do it every day without incident, the key is confidence with caution.
Like merging any vehicle, it is helpful to get up to a similar speed as the other traffic. You don’t want to merge causing traffic to dodge you, but you don’t want to hit the highway like a bat out of hell either. When hitting the onramp attempt to match your speed with other traffic.
Put your signal on early, it should be obvious you need to get over like everyone else, but a signal of your intentions never hurts. Once you’re in the merging lane, give your mirrors a solid check, and a double check, use all the mirrors you must make certain you have ample room to move over. When you have an open lane move over with confidence while continuing to check your mirrors. Don’t switch over but don’t use a half mile to merge. Being at a good medium clip gives drivers who may want over into your lane to see that you are coming over and make their adjustments. By law, traffic is supposed to speed up or move over to allow you in, but we all know it won’t always be that easy, always watch traffic as you’re merging in case you need to speed up or slow down to merge.
You can read as many articles as you can, but in the end, practice is the most vital way to get comfortable when merging. If you want to practice, try getting in the RV when traffic is lighter such as the early morning. Remember to match your speed with traffic, signal your intentions, use your mirrors and make a confident but cautious merge get onto the highway and your destination.