EDriving in a motorhome is different than a mid-range car, and motorhome training is recommended, especially for newcomers. There they learn a lot about how to handle the big boxes. As one of the most important organizers, the automobile club ADAC cannot complain about the demand for appointments. They are offered nationwide, you can find an offer in your area on the Internet Example on the ADAC website.
The editors took part in a training session at the ADAC Südbayern in Augsburg, which summarizes its offer below www.Sicherheitstraining.net together. The costs for the participants amounted to 155 euros each, plus 15 euros for a passenger. A maximum of ten vehicles are permitted. If there were more, a course would no longer be reasonably possible. The course lasts five hours, while other driver safety centers offer day courses that include lunch. That is of course more expensive, for example an eight-hour training session in Hanover-Laatzen costs 220 euros.
It may be coincidence, but there were a few self-driving women in our course, and course leader Dennis Friedek, who is a driving instructor in Munich in his second life, reports that more and more women wanted to drive the motorhome themselves, and when they got a taste came, they wouldn’t give up the steering wheel anytime soon. Regardless of gender, of course everyone can learn something here, says Friedek. In addition to newcomers, he recommends the course above all for those switching from small to large motorhomes, but in general “everyone takes something with them, even old hands,” says Friedek.
The most important thing is braking
The training begins after a short preliminary meeting with an assessment of the vehicles. The background is the topic of load safety. Friedek looks into every hold and often complains that things are too snugly stowed away. Everything has to be tight. Simple guy ropes are unsuitable as a stowage aid because they give way too much.
Then it’s off to the practice area. First warm up around the cones. In between, correct sitting is explained. So that communication works, everyone has a radio in their car. The most important point in any safety training is braking. And here, too, it can be seen again, as with every training session: some people simply can’t brake hard right away, but step on the pedal too hesitantly at first. In an emergency, decisive meters can then be missing.
But after some practice it finally works for everyone. An instructive side effect: Since it rains continuously throughout the training session, many are amazed at the long braking distances in the wet, especially on the friction surface, which simulates a closed blanket of snow. All participants announce that they want to drive more carefully in the future when it rains. But we miss a braking exercise with evasion. But this does not detract from the very good overall grade that each of the participants later gives in the final meeting.
Course instructor Friedek focused on handling and being able to correctly estimate the dimensions of the vehicles. Driving backwards through the pylon alley is not easy, even for experienced drivers. Slalom training is about the correct line of sight, the correct sitting position already mentioned, precise steering and the correct mirror setting.
The referrer is in charge
The participants have to practice parking and maneuvering in all variations. It is important to get help from a referrer if possible. This is then also in charge, not the person behind the wheel. You also learn what you can and cannot see in the rear-view mirror. It’s amazing how big the blind spot often is. Driving carefully is the be-all and end-all in the truest sense of the word, which also includes being able to correctly assess the rear overhang. It turns out, however, that it swings far less when turning than all participants assume.
Weighing one of the vehicles also proved instructive. All participants had mobile homes with a maximum permissible total weight of 3.5 tons. If you want to be on the road with 3.6 to 7.5 tons, you either need the C1 truck license or must have had your driver’s license before 1999. For everyone who is under 42 years old, 3.5 tons remained the highest of feelings. However, this often leads to the problem of overloading. Friedek selects a vehicle at random and weighs each wheel individually with a small wheel load scale. The result is 3371 kilograms. And the co-driver is missing, holiday luggage and provisions are not on board, let alone the scooter, which is otherwise always attached to the trailer hitch together with the frame. Friedek warns not to treat the weight lightly, especially abroad there are severe penalties for overloaded mobile homes. And the instructor has another tip that also saves fuel: “Never drive with a full water tank.”
After an entertaining five hours, the participants make a satisfied impression. Everyone wants to heed what trainer Friedek says at the end: “Always take it easy, you’re on vacation after all!”
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