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Old 07-03-2013, 08:35 AM   #1
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So now I will have to drive this thing?

I am steps from getting our bus and getting nervous.

I should be leaving next week, taking the train and heading to New Brunswick (My bus is an hour out of Bathurst and I am an hour out of Montreal). I will then have to drive 800km back home.

I need tips! How do you drive a 40 foot bus!! What are all of those controls on the control panel about? I am not too scared of the highways, and NB is a great place for long boring highways, and I know that driving back will give me a lot of practice but it is more about turning corners, understanding air brakes, stopping at a gas station to fuel up and backing up when I get home! just the little details that I am starting to think about. OK, please... tell me what I should know!!
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:19 AM   #2
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Re: So now I will have to drive this thing?

Be sure NOT to move the bus until the airbrake warning buzzer stops buzzing, watch the air pressure build up.....

Just remember the rear follows the front.........
but make wide turns to keep the rear of the bus away from whatever is there next to you....

Here is a link http://www.thetruckersreport.com/cdl-practice-tests/ with some CDL practice test....... read the air brake section and take test a few times to get an understanding of airbrakes....
sit in the bus/ engine running/play with the switches and figure out which does what. most of the array of switches are for lights, heaters, etc...

If you get your fuel or gas at the truck stops you should not need to back up. never pull into someplace without a planned exit. I have stopped and got out and walked around the station to be sure I could exit without backing. I was driving a 40 diesel pusher and towing my jeep behind it.

Be slow and careful at first using caution and common sense.......... you'll be fine
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:06 AM   #3
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Re: So now I will have to drive this thing?

def. watch the youtube airbrake videos
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:16 AM   #4
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Re: So now I will have to drive this thing?

Once you get her out on the road all that nervousness will go-to your face and a big ass smile will take over........
just relax and enjoy
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Old 07-03-2013, 11:07 AM   #5
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Re: So now I will have to drive this thing?

I was told on one of the coach conversion forums that to make a right turn..

Go straight, crowd the left line or lane when possible, when the right hand curb is even with your shoulder, turn the steering wheel as fast as you can while moving forward. When your front left tire tracks into the lane, straighten up the steering wheel as fast as you can, all while rolling forward.

Sounds confusing to read but it works in the Class C. Go to an empty parking lot or road and practice the "shoulder turn" to get an idea as to how it works in your car. Or you can do what many or the semis do here. To make a right hand turn from North Main onto 2nd Street (both are main highways) which is a tight turn, the block before the turn, sometimes two blocks, a truck/trailer will straddle both of the right lanes to make the turn.

If you will be towing a vehicle behind the bus, you will not be backing up. Like I told my daughter, think of driving as dancing with an elephant. No sudden lane changes, no quick stop and starts. Slow and easy is what you want.

For fueling, ask for help. Explain you just bought the bus. We have yet to have any truckers be nasty to us. I have heard some RVers have problems with truckers. We never have. The first time I drove the Class C thru Atlanta, if it weren't for the truckers, I would have gotten stuck several times. I would flash my lights to let them know they were safe to pull in front of me. I let them change lanes and/or merge in front of me. By being considerate of the truckers, my trip thru Atlanta at rush hour was a lot better than I expected. Unfortunately for David, who was behind me towing a 16 ft cargo trailer, the truckers didn't realize that we were running together for several miles. I ended up way out in front of him.
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:00 PM   #6
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Re: So now I will have to drive this thing?

""never pull into someplace without a planned exit"" <--that.
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Old 07-03-2013, 01:16 PM   #7
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Re: So now I will have to drive this thing?

All great advice so far. One thing I will add is don't let people rattle you. If you need to slow WAY down to assess a turn/approach, do it. Just don't slam on your brakes, slow down nice and easy, and even stop if need be. I don't care if people are honking/waving/giving me the finger, I'm going to slow down and take things easy. I'm bigger than them Also, be aware of your overhang (the portion behind the rear tires) and watch it in the mirrors. On my bus, the overhang is substantial. If I make a sharp turn right, the overhang is going to swing a few feet left. Just keep an eye on it and take turns nice and slow until you get the hang of it. Most importantly, enjoy!!!
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Old 07-03-2013, 01:27 PM   #8
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Re: So now I will have to drive this thing?

x 2 what Jake said
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:11 PM   #9
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Re: So now I will have to drive this thing?

Thank you so much for all of the great advice!! I have been watching the videos on youtube but watching and actually doing feel so different!

I will definitely be taking things slowly and I think that I will spend some time practicing in a parking lot or something. I am nervous about the length and that overhang, especially since I have never driven something like this.

I am not afraid of truckers... I have known many and my mom and I lived on the road when I was a kid so learned the courtesies of the road young. Even driving a minivan I flash my lights to give the clear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyEagle
Once you get her out on the road all that nervousness will go-to your face and a big ass smile will take over........
just relax and enjoy
I can definitely see this happening!!!
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:22 PM   #10
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Re: So now I will have to drive this thing?

HERE IS A big ONE!

You are 8+ft wide use the middle line as a guide you do not want passenger side off the road, adjust one of your passenger mirrors so you can see the rear tire and where it is on the road

You want to stay a tire width from center line that way your mirrors won't hit an oncoming OTR truck, they will be doing the same thing

Use your mirrors and trust them,.

Plan to stay in right lane when changing directions this allows you to look out the driver side to lane change etc.

You'll do fine
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