A Driving Plan for a Long Road Trip

There are two different ways to look at a long road trip in your RV. Some people love the idea of spending time out on the open road, while others just can’t wait until they arrive at the destination. No matter which camp you fall into, one thing is certain – you need to have a smart driving plan in place to handle those long hours out on the road. Driving while tired is an extremely dangerous idea, especially while piloting a large RV. Make sure you know exactly how many hours you will need to drive in order to reach your destination, and have a plan in place to handle those miles safely.

Many RV Owners Love the Feel of the Open Road
Many RV Owners Love the Feel of the Open Road

Buddy System

If you have two people along for the trip who are both capable of driving the RV, you should be able to put together a driving plan pretty easily. One of the best options is to take short ‘shifts’ throughout the day so that you can both stay fresh as the evening approaches. For example, imagine that you are heading out on a 10 hour drive. Instead of having one person handle the first five hours and the other person finish the final five, consider breaking it up into segments of 1.5 to 2 hours each. That way, nobody has to drive a long stretch all at once, and you can both have plenty of time to relax on the trip. When handled this way, even a 10 hour drive can seem relatively quick and easy. When you stop to switch drivers, you can also take care of other tasks like going to the bathroom, getting some food, or refilling with gas.

Handling a Solo Drive

When you are the only person in the RV who is capable of driving it safely, you will need to plan a little more carefully to avoid fatigue on the road. First, don’t plan on traveling as far when you are the only driver. As you gain experience, you will find where your limits are in terms of how many hours you can comfortably drive in a day. Never push it to the point of endangering yourself, your family, and the other drivers on the road – it simply isn’t worth it to push on when you are tired. The great thing about driving an RV is that your accommodations are right there with you, so you always have a place to sleep when you need to get some rest before going farther.

It is important to give yourself some time out of the RV during a long drive to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. Instead of simply picking up some food to go, consider taking a few moments to eat at a restaurant before you move on. Also, you can use rest areas as a great place to go for a quick walk. Even a five minute walk can do wonders to get your blood flowing, make your body feel better, and give your mind a break from the monotony of the road.

Some people love to go on long drives, while others look at is as a means to an end. Either way, putting in the miles is a necessary part of the RV experience. Head out on your next long road trip with a plan for how you will handle the driving hours so that you can stay safe on the road.

  • As an ex-professional driver in the U.K., I thoroughly endorse your comments (above), we drive all over Europe and try to limit a `driving day` to a maximum of 350 miles, depending on the particular road conditions. Because of the greater concentration of settlements in Europe, we often do no more than 150 miles in a day, as there are so many places of interest along the way – and also off the main routes.
    Of course, it does help to be retired, so the holiday can be stretched over a period of many weeks.
    Come to Europe and use your R.V. skills to explore our wonderland of diversity!
    But always remember TIREDNESS KILLS!!
    Good motoring,
    Richard and Ivy.

  • This problem disappears when the family dogs come along! The entire trip magically is planned around rest stops for them ensuring walks to keep the blood flowing!

  • If one plans to drive, say 500 max a day. How fast can I expect to drive pulling a 2500# travel trailer with a qualified pickup. Sometimes, planning for the next campground before hand can be a problem if driving conditions will not let a guy cover much ground and cannot estimate mph before the trip starts.

    • Over many years of towing RVs I have found that using an average speed of 40mph gives a pretty good estimate of how long it will take to cover a given distance including stops. A 200 mile drive will take approximately 5 hours, 300 mile 6 hrs, etc. Your 500 mile drive will be about 12 – 13 hrs.