Driving lessons: common sense, or a lapse in machismo? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 05-18-2014, 01:28 PM   #1
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Driving lessons: common sense, or a lapse in machismo?

I haven't towed a trailer since I spent a summer back in the last century driving a Massey 50 tractor with a tank unit in tow to spray fertilizer on potato fields. My wife has never towed anything, but we agree that both of us should be fully capable of backing up, hitching and unhitching, and predicting and preventing problems.

Our goal is to become able to tow the Escape from A to B enjoyably, and without endangering ourselves or anyone else. With the help of this forum and the rally in June, we are educating ourselves about many aspects of trailer camping, including safety, but "armchair towing" hasn't left us feeling adequately prepared for the real-world challenges of the road.

I'm 70-ish, she's 60-ish, and we both have accident and citation-free driving records from back in our teens, but think we should get some professional driving instruction before we head off at highway speeds with two tons of Escape's artistry in tow.

Our plan is to get our 8AM orientation from Escape on pickup day, have lunch, then take a two hour towing lesson with a professional driving instructor at Valley Driving School which, conveniently, is located close to the Escape factory in Chilliwack.

The instructor will be an expert who routinely qualifies drivers for the Code 7 (huge RVs) and Code 20 (construction equipment) towing endorsements in BC (neither of which we need).

Valley will evaluate our current habits and skills, and teach us the fine points of pre-trip checks, maneuvering, and general trailer towing safety -- all using our own SUV and trailer. We realize that we will need ongoing practice to fully develop our towing skills, but think professional instruction at the outset will accelerate the process.

Is this a serious lapse in machismo on my part, or do those of you who are experienced at towing think it's a good idea? Thanks for your views.

Brent and Cheryl.
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Old 05-18-2014, 02:23 PM   #2
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Wow, great idea! We could have benefitted from such training. Interested to hear what you learn.

Tim and Julie
2013 Escape 15B
2014 Nissan Frontier, Previous 2012 Santa Fe
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Old 05-18-2014, 02:54 PM   #3
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I think it sounds great! Wish we were better at backing our 21.
Jan and Paul
"Le Bon Oeuf"
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Old 05-18-2014, 03:05 PM   #4
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Hi Brent,

No I don't think your plans indicate a "serious lack in machismo" on your part. Rather, your plans seem wise.

Our goals re: safe travel goals and our towing expertise replicate yours. Since we live close to Escape this is how we plan to become safe "Escapers" with our 17b and new to us Nisan Frontier. I've got a friend with extensive experience towing boats who is willing to come out and give Liz and I lessons before we venture out. He's promised not to be sarcastic about our initial back-up attempts.

If we lived on the Island like you guys do, I'd be a nervous wreck thinking about towing back home (especially think inking about driving onto the ferry) without lessons. So I think you are doing exactly the right thing by taking some lessons. Can you let us know what Valley Driving School will charge you?

(But my pessimistic side causes me to ask what your back-up (pardon the pun) plan is if the Driving instructor doesn't give you a passing evaluation that's a joke, I bet they will be happy to keep selling you lessons for as long as it takes.

Have fun Larry
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Old 05-18-2014, 03:29 PM   #5
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I often see folks driving huge Rv's that likely haven't driven anything larger than a passenger car and are oblivious that they are now in control of a much larger rig that requires skill to operate , some proper lessons seem like a great idea
MacRae, 21ft
2016 GMC Yukon SLT
St.Albert Alberta
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Old 05-18-2014, 03:33 PM   #6
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Great idea ! Although you will be providing less entertainment to the spectators in the campgrounds. Longer wheel based trailers seem easier to back up. We have found two way radios and agreed upon commands to be helpful.
"Never argue with an idiot. They only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlins
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Old 05-18-2014, 04:18 PM   #7
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Backup Hand Signals

What a great idea. And so convenient.

Jubal makes a good point on having agreed upon signals. I like the signal system that is explained on the below U-tube videos. It is using a Class A coach in the example but the signals are universal.

Paul and Janet Braun
2003 Toyota 4Runner V8 now 2012 Toyota Sequoia V8
Escape 19' 2010 now 2014 Escape 21'
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Old 05-18-2014, 05:22 PM   #8
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I imagine most of us would benefit from lessons, whether we want to admit it or not. We would also benefit from everyone else taking lessons.
Happy Motoring
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Old 05-18-2014, 05:57 PM   #9
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Like everybody else I think that sounds like a great idea. In fact if you report back that it was worth your while I might start shopping around here for a place that offers a similar service. I'm also curious about the cost.
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Old 05-18-2014, 07:10 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Catchlight View Post
Is this a serious lapse in machismo on my part... ?
"Real men" (and women) do what they know is right, and if getting professional training is right for you, then you should do it. I would support far more stringent driver training requirements, even if I meant I had to take more training.

Thanks for exercising sound judgement and doing whatever it takes to responsibly operate your vehicle.

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