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When you are backing, put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel, not the top. Now when you want the rear of the trailer to go to the right turn the steering wheel (again from the bottom) to the right.


Much easier than trying to remember, think about, turning the steering wheel opposite from the way you want the trailer to go.


Also I second the recommendation to find an open parking lot and just practice backing. Cones are nice, but most parking lots have lines painted on the ground for you to follow.


One thing about a short trailer, like the 17 footer you have. It is harder to back than a 30 footer. This is because once the back of the trailer starts to turn, it takes longer, or more movement of the tow vehicle, to limit the turn or straighten it out. If you are towing with a short tow vehicle it makes it easier. If you have a long pickup truck it is more difficult.


So when backing, try to make sure when you start the back of the trailer turning, to starting straightening out your tow vehicle a lot sooner than you think you need to. You will have to pull forward to straighten out the trailer and then start the backing of the trailer several times before you get the hang of it. It takes practice.

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Need lessons in backing up 17ft trailer .Any ideas on who can teach.?

First of all, welcome to the Escapee forums! We are happy to have you join us here and we will do our best to help and support you.


There are RV driving schools around but most of them move around and are operated by people who are fulltime RVers. If you are completely new to towing a trailer I would start by doing as others have suggested and take the trailer to a big, open parking lot of similar location where you can practice. I would start by just driving, turning and making simple maneuvers. I would use cones, cardboard boxes, or something else to mark lanes and corners for practicing turns and then for backing. Even with advice and teaching, it takes some time and practice to gain skill and confidence in maneuvering an RV or other trailer. You are wise to start by getting some advice. If there is a local RV club chapter near you, contact them and someone from the membership is likely to be willing to assist you in the learning process. If you were to post your location, it might even be that someone from these forums would volunteer to observe and coach you. The most important thing is to take your time and never rush.

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If you have and observer try and have one that is willing to just watch and holler stop if you get into real trouble. That way you can make errors and corrections based on your own perception but they will stop you just before you might damage something. It needs to be someone calm and willing to NOT offer advice and directions until you start to get the hang of it. It is true that the shorter trailer can be a little harder than longer. Especially single axle trailers. Even with some experience I once jack-knifed one enough to crack a tail light lens on my pick up.

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Honestly, it is not hard for most people to learn with a little practice but it is true that some folks may never get it. That's nothing against them. I have issues with certain things like this thing I am typing on and just am able to barely get by even with expert help. I learned backing best almost alone. After that I could take a little direction but not from everyone. Everyone is not good at giving directions even if they are good at backing.

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All good advice has been offered. This is a learned art, just like painting portraits; you cannot learn unless you actually perform the task.

In my opinion the first and best thing you do to begin learning is a good set of towing mirrors for your tow vehicle that extend beyond the width of the trailer so you may see behind the trailer. In fact, in many states that is the law when towing. Without towing mirrors you have a severe handicap before even beginning to learn to back a trailer.

While practicing, do not try to hurry. Take your time, stay relaxed, and do not be hesitant about getting out and walking around your rig to actually see the results of your immediate past action.

As already recommended, place one hand on the bottom of the steering wheel, and push your hand towards the direction you want the trailer to go. Once the trailer begins to move that direction, begin to move the steering wheel back to the straight position to prevent over-steering the trailer. Small movements of the steering wheel are amplified at the trailer rear end.

The time to learn how your rig reacts is in a vacant parking lot, not on the road or in a CG.

Seek out a local camping club or chapter of a large camping club for assistance with learning how to back your rig if you are not comfortable with this DIY approach.

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Does anyone know where I can get lessons?Cannot back up a travel trailer!Thanks

Where are you? I would give you some lessons if nearby, maybe someone near you can help. Pretty simple as long as you follow some basic rules. Several good tips given above but nothing works like just doing. An experienced operator sitting in the pass seat coaching you will help.

Good luck,

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Last year, we arrived at the Montana rally in Goshen, IN a couple days early, and ended up parking next to the rig belonging to one of the instructors of the RV Driving School. The instructors are contractors to this company. The advantage to getting instruction from this company, or similar companies, is you will learn to operate your particular rig safely. Backing up is a very small part of the job of driving these rigs, no different than piloting a big 18 wheeler down the road. I had quite a conversation with this fellow, who now full times with his wife in their FW. He holds a commercial license, and has on occasion, instructed commercial drivers as well. I have no doubt that having a day of instruction with one of these instructors would be well worth the cost. It would be nice if the insurance companies endorsed instruction companies like these, as their claims would surely go down quite a bit.

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There are several other businesses that offer training for those driving an RV. I'd suggest that you may want to check out more than one, just as you would any other type of business or service. By doing an internet search, in addition to the one mentioned, I also found all of these courses.


RV Basic Training


Rick Andrews' RV Training School


Superior Driving School


RVSEF driver training


RV Education 101


M&M RV Driver Training


I Train U Driver Training

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Just a comment....


I really like what RVSEF is doing across their programs. While I have not seen their driving program, if it is anything like the quality I see in their other endeavours it is one I would look at first.


I have nothing to do with them, but I do appreciate what they try to do to help inform RVers.

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