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Old 01-31-2013, 08:40 PM   #1
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How to teach DW to tow TT?

Hello All,

I am contemplating having my DW learn to drive towing the TT. She recently took the TV to work and said it was "big a** and made her nervous". I figure some more time in it will alleviate that fear but she has never towed a trailer before, not even when we had our popup. We don't have a big TT (Rockwood 2109S) but I do think it would be good for her to learn, just in case I can't.

Any suggestions on teaching a newbie to drive and especially given our close relationship?
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:45 PM   #2
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My dw wanted to go camping quite a few years ago several days before me .
She has been around little trailers and backing somewhat but nothing 32' long.

I told her when she gets to camp ground pull through instead of backing and shed be fine.
She chocked
She leveled
She ran down the stabs
She put out the slides
All I had to do when I got there two days later was drink a silver bullet !


All on her own she did everything I coached her on !
slow and wide
slow
take your time
slow
slow and wide.

she's pulled it several times since .

I think on our way to goshen this summer I am finally going to give her the reins on our 5th wheel since she's never towed it yet so I can post on FRF and text ttrost about our arrival ! Best of all IM going to text and tease dnd that Im napping !


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Old 01-31-2013, 09:06 PM   #3
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There is only one way she is going to learn. Take your time and be patient. Let her learn at her own speed. Don't tell her how to do something just tell here what you would do and why you would do it that way. Give her time and you will be able to post on FRF every time you travel. My DW pulls our double tow and always backs the boat in and out at the ramp. Be patient and it will happen when she's ready. Encourage her don't force her.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by wbdvt View Post
Any suggestions on teaching a newbie to drive and especially given our close relationship?
Hook up and take her to the local mall and do some driving around there first to get a comfort level.

Dave
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:06 PM   #5
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On the next trip, fake a heart attack and make her drive.

Nah, the advice from everyone else above is spot on. For us, my wife wanted to drive. She hasn't backed it up yet, but that'll come.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:22 PM   #6
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We were out camping at Carlyle Lake in Illinois... was a great weekend... Until DH woke up so sick ...... but we had to get home. We were camping with friends.... they helped me get all loaded and hitched. DH drove to the highway and I took over. I had never pulled before. Had to go through St Louis. Took a wrong turn. In the end I drove it all the way back to the house (with a few stops) Poor DH had to back it in. By then I was shaking like a leaf. But I did it!!! I took my time. Let people pass me. Took turns wide (probably wider than needed). He was proud of me ... I was proud of me!!! Teamwork!!
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:33 PM   #7
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We were out camping at Carlyle Lake in Illinois... was a great weekend... Until DH woke up so sick ...... but we had to get home. We were camping with friends.... they helped me get all loaded and hitched. DH drove to the highway and I took over. I had never pulled before. Had to go through St Louis. Took a wrong turn. In the end I drove it all the way back to the house (with a few stops) Poor DH had to back it in. By then I was shaking like a leaf. But I did it!!! I took my time. Let people pass me. Took turns wide (probably wider than needed). He was proud of me ... I was proud of me!!! Teamwork!!
GREAT job !

MY dw would High five ya for sure !

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Old 01-31-2013, 10:45 PM   #8
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We were out camping at Carlyle Lake in Illinois... was a great weekend... Until DH woke up so sick ...... but we had to get home. We were camping with friends.... they helped me get all loaded and hitched. DH drove to the highway and I took over. I had never pulled before. Had to go through St Louis. Took a wrong turn. In the end I drove it all the way back to the house (with a few stops) Poor DH had to back it in. By then I was shaking like a leaf. But I did it!!! I took my time. Let people pass me. Took turns wide (probably wider than needed). He was proud of me ... I was proud of me!!! Teamwork!!
Great job! My wife would be proud, too!
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:47 PM   #9
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did I mention it was about 200 miles?
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:33 PM   #10
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Baby steps! I (the DW) first started hauling my small horse trailer with a station wagon, so I got familiar with hooking up and backing and could do it all myself. Then we got the F-150. First time I drove it I felt like I was driving a house, and I have to sit on a cushion to see over the steering wheel, LOL. At that time we also had a wee Trillium fiberglass trailer, which actually looked pretty funny behind the Ford, it was so small. I really wanted something bigger, but was nervous about towing it. However, if it was gonna happen, it would be me, since I am the designated driver due to DH vision limitations. We bought our 24' and it has been fine, although not without nerves! Actually easier to back than the 12', less tendency to jackknife if you blink! I can manage the WD hitch, and all the setup, etc. I am still crap at backing toward the blind side, but I found practicing at home with cones as a reference where I wanted the TT wheels to end up was a big help. Getting to the point where I don't have to constantly think about which way to turn the wheel to make the back end go where I want it to! I still try to reserve pull-thru sites, though . Brave to do a long drive the first time. Kudos to you!
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:59 PM   #11
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My wife has pulled our toy hauler once around town. She did well the only thing she had trouble with was realizing how much more weight was behind her when stopping. I would let her do it again, I really would like her to learn and be comfortable doing it.
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:38 AM   #12
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it is amazing what we can do when we have to!
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:01 AM   #13
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It all depends on your DW.
My wife has driven a few times when we were "out west" on the open highway
in light traffic. IF I can get a short cat nap of just 15-30 minutes it REALLY
can help my comfort level- especially on those long haul days.

She doesn't like to drive it. She is NOT having any fun when she is driving.
I want her to have fun on our trips so I drive 95%. Not a biggie.

What she does do WONDERFULLY is back our rig!
I walk along side and talk to her..... I say things like back easy, now left
a little, center your wheel, now right a little, a little more right. etc etc.
She is like the perfect remote control. I walk around, look for obstructions
get out the leveling blocks and SHE parks that baby just where I/we want it.
It's probably the ONLY time she does EXACTLY WHAT I TELL HER TO DO

She also backs the truck when we're hitching up. I can get the TT on
the ball 1st time every time with her driving and me giving directions.

We tried it with me backing and her giving directions but that just didn't
work for us. She'd say things like "get over" or "not too close"
or "watch out!"
I had no idea what she wanted me to do and we actually had a fight once
or twice early in our travels. Who wants to arrive at the perfect camping
spot and be mad at each other??
Once we discovered she could do it if I gave
directions MY blood pressure went WAY down on arrival at a new CG.

It works for US. Why not give it a try!
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:15 AM   #14
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The best way would be hire a Tractor Trailer teacher. It will take the stress off you. Plus she will be getting professional advice.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:55 AM   #15
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Backing is a whole different story. I tried, honestly!!! DH put our TT in the driveway.... I just needed to go straight back. One hour later I gave up!!!! Impossible!!! I haven't tried the FW yet. When backing now DH listens and we can usually get it in in one step. Though he likes it to be completely straight either in the driveway or in a site.....
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:28 AM   #16
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I drove our previous 31ft Class C on the highway while towing our car. I actually was excited! Now we have a 5er, and it is a whole new ball game! The rig is an inch short of 40 ft....Much longer than my DH wanted....but we are loving it! I just asked him if he will teach me to drive (tow) this one...he said sure! Even if I can help driving on the highway, is fine by me! He had never towed a 5er either, but after a few lessons in an empty K-Mart parking lot with the guy who did our PDA, he did a great job! Our ride home after the purchase took him through everything but snow! We had storms, wind, horrible pot holes, road construction, and driving overnight. Nothing like learning all at once! We bought a Chevy Silverado 3500 DRW to tow the rig, and I now know how to drive her! I actually prefer to drive it and yes she too has a wide a##!!

All the advice above is great advice!! She will do great!
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:35 AM   #17
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I drove our previous 31ft Class C on the highway while towing our car. I actually was excited! Now we have a 5er, and it is a whole new ball game! The rig is an inch short of 40 ft....Much longer than my DH wanted....but we are loving it! I just asked him if he will teach me to drive (tow) this one...he said sure! Even if I can help driving on the highway, is fine by me! He had never towed a 5er either, but after a few lessons in an empty K-Mart parking lot with the guy who did our PDA, he did a great job! Our ride home after the purchase took him through everything but snow! We had storms, wind, horrible pot holes, road construction, and driving overnight. Nothing like learning all at once! We bought a Chevy Silverado 3500 DRW to tow the rig, and I now know how to drive her! I actually prefer to drive it and yes she too has a wide a##!!

All the advice above is great advice!! She will do great!
Our 14yo daughter's 1st words when we got home with the new dually was "Oh no! You got the truck with love handles!"

My DW could drive my 1500 but not park it. It was 19' long and she was too used to her smaller cars/SUVs. Now that we have the 22' dually she is scared to drive it. The main reason is we live in the big city and our lanes are really tight. I have about 5" clearance on each side with this truck. So it requires a fair amount of precision and defensive driving.

I think in time we will be able to teach her to drive on the open road but I doubt she'll ever be comfortable driving in town. Heck I am not too comfortable some times...these people here are crazy drivers! I also think I'll be able to teach her to back it up. I love Dan's solution and will try and implement that with her.

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Old 02-01-2013, 11:46 AM   #18
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I also think I'll be able to teach her to back it up. I love Dan's solution and will try and implement that with her.
Having my wife do the backing is GREAT. She is like the perfect -voice
activated- remote control.

You have to give precise directions: Don't say "cut it" or "go that way".
No man. Say exactly what you want her to do. Turn left, center your wheel,
a little right, more right, all the way right, back to center etc.
It's GREAT. Same thing when parking on leveling blocks and hitching.

At home we have a metal trailer shelter. If I can park the trailer 2 inches
from the wall on the left side, we can open the trailer door all the way back
on the right side. 2 inches ain't much but with her driving and me watching
closely and directing we do it every time we get home.
She also watches me in the mirrors. She knows if I hold up my hand with
thumb and finger in a C shape it means we're "that" close so she is extra
cautious. She also knows the universal shut it down sign of hand across
your throat. When I do that she "automatically" puts on parking brake and
shuts down engine.

I've mentioned this here several times before but no one ever said they'd
try it. I guess it's a macho-man thing. I've got NO problem with it!
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:09 PM   #19
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I have no "macho" issues at all with her driving or backing at all. Kinda like Turb's bragging above about taking a nap on the road...who wouldn't want that?????

But I will have to ease her into it and make sure she feels it was her decision to do it. If I try and force it .... watch out!! LOL

What I can do right away is teach her your signaling method. She definately understands what I would need to do with the wheel when backing in. Just didn't know how to articulate it.

We also walk the site before parking so we agree on where it needs to be. So far though she gives me directions like your DW did. But when I stop, get out of the truck, count to 10, walk back to her to see what she is trying to get me to do...I can get it parked. I would REALLY like to avoid the 2 or 3 times of stopping the process and getting out of the truck!

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Old 02-01-2013, 12:15 PM   #20
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I have no "macho" issues at all with her driving or backing at all. Kinda like Turb's bragging above about taking a nap on the road...who wouldn't want that?????

But I will have to ease her into it and make sure she feels it was her decision to do it. If I try and force it .... watch out!! LOL

What I can do right away is teach her your signaling method. She definately understands what I would need to do with the wheel when backing in. Just didn't know how to articulate it.

We also walk the site before parking so we agree on where it needs to be. So far though she gives me directions like your DW did. But when I stop, get out of the truck, count to 10, walk back to her to see what she is trying to get me to do...I can get it parked. I would REALLY like to avoid the 2 or 3 times of stopping the process and getting out of the truck!

Oh I feel the pain! First time I tried to help my DH back up....he had to get out and come back to me to tell me that if I can't see him in the side mirrors, then he can't see where I am telling him to go! Duh!
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