In this video, we bring you some top tips on how to reverse your motorhome to avoid accidentally damaging your pride and joy and having to make a motorhome insurance claim.
Each year at Caravan Guard insurance we deal with many accidental damage claims as a result of a reversing mishap – whether that be into something like a gate post, overhanging trees or walls.
We speak to Richard, an experienced instructor from Towing Solutions in Macclesfield, for his hints and tips on reversing your motorhome onto a pitch, into a service bay or into a parking space.
How do you prepare yourself before starting to reverse your motorhome?
Firstly, it’s best to get out and have a look at the area you’re reversing your motorhome into so you can see if there are any obstacles in the way.
Remember, you’ll also likely have an overhang at the back of your motorhome, plus you might also have a bike rack, so if you’ve got someone with you, get them to stand behind the motorhome, where you can see and hear them so they can help guide you back.
It’s good to know the dimensions of your motorhome and it’s worth having them handy – like on the sun visor of your vehicle, – not only for when you’re reversing but when you’re driving
normally, so you always know the height, width, and length of your motorhome. Caravan Guard motorhome customers can get a sticker like the below.
Your vehicle will also have a number of blind spots and you need to know where they are before reversing your motorhome. That’s why it’s helpful to always have someone with you, to help guide you back in and be an extra pair of eyes.
Also, if you have a reversing camera make sure that it’s switched on and you can clearly see what’s going on behind you.
If you’re in a busy area it’s also advisable to use your hazard lights to let people know around you that you are backing up and just in case they haven’t spotted your reversing lights.
Finally, ignore anyone on the campsite who is watching you! They’ll be mighty impressed with your reversing skills anyway if you follow our tips below.
How do you reverse your motorhome in a straight line?
Take it slow, take it steady, and manoeuvre it safely.
Put your hands at 2 o’clock and 10 o’clock on the motorhome steering wheel so you can gently move it left and right to manoeuvre it back in a nice straight line.
It’s always advisable to stop and get out and have a look and make sure that you’re in a straight line and you’re following the correct path.
How do you reverse your motorhome to the right?
When reversing right into a parking space or onto a pitch, drive past the pitch so you’re clear of it. Then check around the area you’re backing into to make sure there’s no one around and it’s safe. If you’ve got someone with you, get them to help guide you back.
Check your mirrors, and if you’ve got a reversing camera watch that before slowly moving back.
The pivot point on a motorhome is your rear wheel axle, so as you go back you want to guide that axle to the point where you know you need to make your large turn.
Slowly reverse your motorhome to the right and then when you hit that pivot point fully lock the steering wheel to turn your motorhome into the space. If needs be, you might need to pull forward a little bit just to straighten it up.
Be mindful that when reversing on to a pitch the ground might be uneven, so bear in mind any overhang behind your motorhome’s rear axle and make sure you don’t catch that on any obstacles like a tree stump, post, raised stones or fencing.
How do you reverse your motorhome to the left (your blindside)?
When you’re reversing on your blindside it can be slightly more difficult because visibility is not as good as on the driver’s side. Again, drive past where you’re going to be, stop and again if you’ve got someone with you get them to go and stand in a position where you can clearly see them and hear them. Use your mirrors and reversing camera (if you’ve got one) and gradually move back slowly.
Look through the left mirror at the rear wheel, as this your pivot point, ad when you get near to where you want to turn, fully turn the steering wheel to the left to swing the motorhome into the bay or onto a pitch.
Richard said when reversing your motorhome it was absolutely critical that you use your mirrors.
“That’s the only way you’re going to be able to judge where you are. So the correct setting of those mirrors is critical,” he said. “Personally, I like one mirror showing me where my rear wheels are, so I can clearly see them. But that’s not just for reversing. I also do that for going forwards as well, particularly for when going around roundabouts and sharp corners to avoid clipping
any of these wheels on a curb. ”
What gadgets can help with when reversing your motorhome?
There are a number of motorhome reversing aids, such as reversing or rear view cameras, parking sensors and also add-on mirrors to help cover those blind spots.
“But you must remember to take notice of any bleeps or sounds from these gadgets,” added Richard. “The beeps sound for a reason and you need to stop your reversing manoeuvre at that point.”
And remember, at Caravan Guard we offer a small motorhome insurance discount for fitting a reversing aid such as parking sensors or a rear-view camera.
Five top tips for reversing your motorhome
- Stop and check your surroundings. Look at where you’re going to reverse and check for overhanging branches, tree stumps, any objects on the floor that could impede your reversing manoeuvre.
- Use some help. If you’ve got someone with you, get them to go out and be at the back of the vehicle where you can see them and hear them so that as you reverse your motorhome, you’ve got an extra pair of eyes. Or, if you’ve got a motorhome reversing camera or sensors fitted, use those. If the sensors start bleeping, take note of those, and stop!
- Know the overall dimensions of your motorhome. It’s a lot larger than your standard family car. We’d suggest having the height, width and length of your motorhome, in both metric and imperial, close to hand in the cab. It’s particularly useful when driving and you come across a bridge to quickly know your height and width restrictions as you don’t have time to guess. Also, consider any extra fittings at the back of your motorhome or on the roof. A cycle rack bolted on the back will extend the area that you need at the back to reverse onto a pitch, or you might have a satellite dish on the roof, which will increase the height of your vehicle, so you need to watch out for overhanging branches or height barriers.
- Use your mirrors. Often, you can’t see out of the back of your vehicle so you need to use your mirrors at all times. Make sure these are set correctly before you start your to reverse your motorhome.
- Reverse slowly. Taking it slowly gives you the opportunity to correct any errors. There’s no need to rush. Do it slowly and safely.
And finally, lots of practice will give you that extra confidence for reversing your motorhome like a pro. There are plenty of motorhome driving courses available nationwide if you need that extra bit of help.
Over to you…
Got any motorhome reversing tips to share? Feel free to add them to the comments box below.