When you’re heading out on a road trip in your car, you may not give much thought to the roads you’re going to take. This is because roads are designed for standard automobiles. It’s not a bad thing — the majority of drivers are behind the wheel of a sedan, an SUV, or another commonplace vehicle. But you, of course, are different. You’re driving an RV, and therefore, some roads are better than others.
Which roads do you want to steer away from when you’re RVing? Here are the four main categories of roads that are anything but RV friendly.
1. Big City Streets
Cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles are awesome for walking around. Some are even great for bike around. However, the traffic congestion, narrow lanes, abundance of turns, cars parallel parked on the sides of the roads, and hordes of pedestrians, make them extremely difficult to drive on for anyone at the helm of an RV.
A city like San Francisco is perhaps the most challenging to drive an RV through as you’ve also got drastic elevation changes to contend with.
If one of your destinations is a large city, consider leaving your RV behind at the park or campsite and taking another form of transportation downtown.
Fortunately, the public transportation systems in most big cities are widespread, making them a great option. Biking in is another good choice; just don’t forget your locks to secure your bike once you’ve arrived.
The US highway system is a true engineering marvel. It connects us with miles of well-maintained roads, allowing us to travel by car faster than ever before. While taking the interstate in your car is an efficient strategy for getting where you need to go, it’s makes for a really boring ride.
When you’re RVing, your trip is as much about the journey as it it is about the destination. In that spirit, many RVers find it best to eschew the interstates and take the state roads and back roads.
These offer many advantages when you’re traveling by RV such as less traffic and a real taste of the local flavor. If one of your RVing motivations is to see the country, the interstates won’t show you much.
3. Coastal Roads, Mountain Trails, and Cliff Drives
It’s totally romantic — even cinematic: hopping in a cute little convertible and taking a cruise high above the coast. The rocky cliffs are all around you, the wind is in your hair, and you feel so alive. Unfortunately, roads like these are simply not designed for large vehicles like RVs.
Those scary hairpin turns are tough to make (and even dangerous) in a larger rig, and the narrow lanes can turn a fun road trip into a white knuckle ordeal.
In fact, some scenic routes prohibit large vehicles, so if you want to attempt it, check posted signs to make sure you’ll be legal. And if you really want to go for a spin on roads like these, look into renting a small car for a day rather than subjecting yourself and your passengers to the frightening experience of an RV cliff drive.
4. Roads That Are Poorly Maintained
This may not seem like a big deal — you’ve got a large and hearty RV after all — but consider all of the things inside your vehicle that will start rattling around as you go over bump after bump. You could cause damage to electronics like TVs and computers, things may fall off shelves, and the sound of rattling silverware alone could drive you mad. Check local road reports and RVing websites before heading out to steer around poorly maintained roads.
Take the Best Roads!
While these four types of roads are not good for RVing, the good news is that there are lots of beautiful, well-maintained, and safe roads for you to drive on. To find them, spend some time looking at maps, consult RV blogs and online forums, and consider investing in a standalone GPS that’s specifically designed for RVs. (Companies like Garmin and TomTom make GPS devices for RVing.) This way you’ll be sure to find the right path for your next adventure while avoiding the four worst types of roads.