RV Sales Are Up Amid COVID Pandemic. Here's What to Know Before Driving One.

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Sales of RVs have gone through the roof since the coronavirus pandemic began, with 80% to 90% of purchases coming from first- time buyers. But driving one is not like driving a car, and some people are learning that the hard way.

"I think there's definitely a learning curve," said Gina Eynon, who recently bought a 31-foot RV to drive from Massachusetts to Arizona with her husband and two children to visit family. "I started to turn and I didn't cut wide enough, and all of a sudden, I heard the loudest bang. We hit that pole that's supposed to protect vehicles from hitting the building." 

Daniel and Julie Homrich say they ended up destroying her mom's front yard as they learned how to maneuver their new house on wheels. 

"Over the course of our time in learning how to back in the RV, we did so much damage in her yard that she essentially had to re-landscape her entire yard," Julie said.

The mishaps show how difficult it can be to drive an RV if you're used to driving a smaller vehicle.

Gary Lewis, the owner of RV Basic Training, recommends taking at least nine hours of lessons before hitting the road in an RV.

"The very first thing that we want to show the new driver, is to get them an understanding of the size of the wheel base," Lewis said. "We need to make sure the mirrors are set so that you can see all along the side — at least 12 feet out. And behind, you want to be able to see 200 feet."

Understanding the basics can make the transition to an RV much smoother. 

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