So what does it take to be a great RV copilot?
We drive down the road in our RVs and a lot of times there are two of us. One of us is usually doing the hard work of driving and the other one is reading a book....oh, did I say that out loud? LOL
Seriously though, the co-pilot has a very important job to do.
So let's discover how one can support the other on travel day.
How to Be a Great RV Co-Pilot
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Learn to Drive Your RV
If you don't already participate in the driving of your RV then learning to do this is important. You never know when you may have to step in and take over.
There's a lot of pressure that's put on the driver and if they're not feeling well that day and you have to travel, this is a great way to be a great co-pilot.
If you are not comfortable driving yet, you can do a couple of things that will help get you there.
One is to PRACTICE. Go to an empty lot and just practice. Put some buckets or cones out and practice all the moves you may need to do on a travel day.
Making time to do this will definitely make you more confident when you take the wheel.
The other thing is to get some driver training. You may feel like having your spouse or travel partner train you isn't ideal. There are other options. You can get driver training. It's not expensive and well worth the peace of mind and skill you will learn. Here are two resources to find driver training close to you: RV BASIC TRAINING or RV DRIVING SCHOOL.
Where the Streets wander
"The best way to assess your RV readiness is to understand where your inexperience lies and how to improve it."
Being a Support To The Driver
Know the Travel Plan For the Day -
One of the ways you can be support to the driver is to know the travel plan. If the co-pilot doesn't know the travel plan they cannot be an effective helper.
As a co-pilot, before you start the day of travel, update yourself on where you are going and the route you will be traveling.
And so that's where our Travel Planner comes into play. It has our travel plans all in one place so the co-pilot can get the address and campground information to know where you are going that day. If you don't have The Complete RV Travel Planner and you have another method of travel planning, then use that method. But be sure to look at your travel plans before you leave.
Be Another Set Of Eyes On The Road -
Another way to be a support to the driver is to keep your eyes peeled.
Help the driver change lanes, read road signs and maybe double check GPS directions. We use the GPS in our rig but sometimes I will use Google maps to double checks and look ahead to help the driver.
Helping locate an exit to get off to rest is another great way to support the driver. We use the Next Exit Books and the app to locate places to get off and be able to stop without getting in a traffic bind. This is something the driver cannot do for themselves.
Being an extra set of eyes is an important part of being a great RV co-pilot.
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Where the Streets wander
"Bonus tip! Make your drivers drink for the
road - as a sign of love."
Create A Personalized Backing In Communication System
When you arrive at your destination for the night....getting parked is another place that can really use a well trained co-pilot.
So let's talk about the personalized backend communication. How, how should you create that?
Each of you is going to have to decide how you want to communicate. Talking about this beforehand is going to be a big help. This could eliminate yelling afterwards. 🙂 Talking it through beforehand and explaining what the drivers needs are and understanding how to communicate is very important because it makes backing in so much easier when you get the extra set of eyes out there, looking at where you're going.
Your cell phone is a great way to communicate, but what about hand signals? Hand signals are important too. You should develop your own and practice them so you both are on the same page. Figuring out what these things mean to you and the driver is really important so that the communication is clear when they're backing up.
This also helpful if even you go to a campground that offers somebody to take you to your site and will help you back in, it's also good that your co-pilot gets out and helps as well. More and more RV parks and campgrounds do not offer that service where they take you to your site and help you back in. Even if the campground provides help, their skillset may not be the same communication style. This is something to think about especially, if you're a full-timer and you do this all the time, you're a team.
Next let's talk about your phone. The driver can put it on speaker and can hear everything the co-pilot is saying. We can actually communicate very easily that way. At first we started using walkie-talkies, but then we realized that the driver has to press the button to talk. So using them just didn't make any sense anymore. So we gave the walkie-talkies to the grandkids and we use the cell phone and hand signals for our communication style.