We have subscribed to The RV Times for many years to ensure we always got the latest issue. Thank you for a very informative magazine Sheila. Through the magazine we saw the ad for Euro Driving School. For the past three years we have always rented a 5th wheel trailer for our vacation. As we were only renters, it was not convenient to take a driving course even though we wanted to do so. This year we bought a 26-ft 5th wheel. Our first decision was to contact Attila Szalay of the Euro Driving School. We set up an appointment and Attila gave us the four-hour lesson (a real bargain at $200+), which was the most valuable experience we have had. He was very informative and even gave us some very good extra information (i.e. putting locks on the hitch, using convex mirrors, using guides for backing, etc.). We want to again thank both Attila and The RV Times.
Mike & Carol Graham
House Trailer Endorsement:
We recently bought a 32½ Topaz Touring Edition 5th wheel, and a Chevy one ton diesel truck for towing it. When we went to insure the trailer they informed us if it's over 4,600 kilos GVWR, we would need to upgrade our Class 5 Drivers Licence, and add a house trailer endorsement if we planned on towing it anywhere. We immediately downloaded, and studied all the pertinent information from the ICBC website, and wrote our learner's licence. We then made an appointment for the next month to have our pre-trip inspection and road test. We needed to get some practise in. Trying to find somebody to drive with us was hard, we didn't want to impose too much on our good friend Wayne.
My husband was reading the latest RV Times and saw a letter to the editor about somebody else who had to upgrade their licence, and had called Euro Driving School for help. He talked to Attila Szalay on the phone and explained our situation, we needed instruction, there is two of us and we need help to pass this test. Attila said no problem, he would come to us, use our own rig and we would ace the test after taking his course. He was a patient and fantastic instructor and guess what, we passed! I would highly recommend him if you are facing this, or any other driving test. He is true to his word.
Wendy and Ray Shillinglaw
R & M Tire, Aldergrove, BC
Exams and Tests, "I hate them!"
It all started a couple of years ago when we stepped up to a larger 5th wheel trailer. I had been pulling a 27.5-ft for a number of years and as a retirement gift decided to get a beautiful new 29.5-ft 5th wheel. The saleslady mentioned something about the weight of the trailer and my driver's license but I didn't pay much attention to her. After all, we had this gorgeous new 5th wheel with two slideouts and I knew my one-ton diesel could pull it, no problem. After pulling it around for more than a year and a half I had heard through friends and read in The RV Times that there was a good possibility I would need to up-grade my driver's license because of the weight of the trailer. I pooh-poohed the thought. I knew that the truck/trailer gross combination wasn't exceeded, that the trailer hitch weight was good and that the trailer was under the weight that the truck could pull. I even had the truck and trailer weighed empty and full as separate units and as a combination. Everything checked out just fine and I thought to myself, "I'm good and abiding by the weight requirements". Well, on further investigation through the insurance company, talking to the weight scale employees and law enforcement officers, I found out my driver's license wouldn't allow me to be on the road with any recreational trailer greater than 4,600 kg. Our 5th wheel weighed more than 4,600 kg. I was towing our trailer illegally and there was the greater possibility of not being covered by any insurance. Some of the possible scenarios I thought of really scared me, and after seeing an ad in The RV Times I called Euro Driving School and spoke with Atilla. He met with me that afternoon and after a short conversation about my concern, handed me the Towing a Recreational Trailer study guide and suggested I read it thoroughly and go to the License Bureau in Langley and do the written exam. I figured, heck, I've been driving for more than 50 years and never had an accident, nor caused one, so felt that I didn't need to study all that hard. Wrong!
I took the exam (multiple choice on a touch screen) and failed. You are given 35 questions on Definitions, Vehicle Requirements, Pre-Trip Inspection, Driving an RV Combination, Trailer Safety, Signs, Signals and Road Markings and allowed seven mistakes. Did failing ever deflate my ego! A week later I redid the exam, and passed. The License Bureau issued me a Temporary License, good for one year. This Temporary License would allow me to practise with our unit just so long as I had an appropriately licensed driver with me and/or attend a driver training school. That meant that I had to find someone (friend or paid professional) to be with me every time I took the unit out on the road. I called Atilla, told him I had passed the written exam, and had my Temporary License and needed to set up with him a pre-trip inspection/driving lesson. After a four-hour session and words of confidence on my ability from Atilla, we made an appointment with the License Bureau to do the road test. The earliest date I could get for the test was five weeks away.
Finally the road test day arrived. Atilla met me at the unit a couple of hours before test time and again went over all the points that would be necessary to pass this test. We then drove over to the License Bureau at the appointed time. The pre-trip inspection test is very extensive. You are required to physically check both truck and trailer, inside and out for their road worthiness, including all fluids, lights, tires, suspension, steering mechanism, belts and wiring harnesses, hitch and braking systems, body integrity, seats and emergency equipment. This means getting down and under the units and telling inspector what you're doing and what you're looking for. I strongly suggest wearing coveralls, gloves and bringing paper towels or a rag to check the fluids. Atilla had a mechanic's crawler which made getting under the truck and trailer a breeze. Most important, hope it's not raining on test day. The inspector never asks you questions. You must know and understand what you are doing and tell him so. Next came the driving test. Although the Guide Book suggests that you stay clear of driving in towns and cities and use truck routes, my test was conducted in downtown Langley. To make matters worse, that particular day the city work crews were painting the lines on most of the downtown streets so there were many bright orange pylons all over the place. The instructor will tell you what direction to go and it will be up to you to do it correctly and legally. He will not ask you to do something illegal. Driving over a curb is immediate failure. Observation is paramount, especially when making turns, going through school, playground and construction zones. Watch your speed. You'll be asked to go into a parking lot to show your backing-up ability.
One-and-a-half hours later we pull into the License Bureau's parking lot and are met by Atilla. I'm exhausted, hot and feeling a bit concerned that I might have failed, as the Instructor isn't saying much about the test. He likes my truck/trailer combination and wishes someday to have a similar set-up. Finally Atilla asks if I'd passed and was told yes, that I had passed with exceptional marks. It's over! I now have a house trailer endorsement (Code 51), which permits me to tow a house trailer of any weight without air brakes. Because I'm 65+ years old, there was no cost to take the exam and tests. There was a small charge to update my plastic driver's license that was sent to me via Canada Post within a week. I'd like to thank Sheila, publisher of The RV Times for bringing the licensing requirements to this reader's attention, Constable Tim Schewe for his advice on laws and regulations, the staff at ICBC and the Langley Licensing Bureau for their help and direction regarding Code 51, and last but not least, a huge thank you to Atilla Szalay of Euro Driving School. His encouragement and expertise made the passing of these exams and tests possible.
Bob Dechaux, Surrey, BC
Class 5 Upgrades:
OK where to start? My wife and I have been RVing now for ten years and we are getting ready for retirement within the next couple of years. We previously owned a nice 24 ft. RV, but in October at the RV Show we found a nice, bigger, fifth wheel, a Legacy 292. We liked it so much we upgraded. So my question is who should be educating us about the Class 5 upgrade to a restriction 51 when over 4,600 kg in weight? Should it be ICBC, RV buyers, the dealerships, or maybe all three? The first time I heard about this was a year ago or so in The RV Times, but I was confused on what it meant, and at the time just took it as an article to read. So when we bought this time I never thought about it. We picked the unit up and did our thing transferring the plates and so on, and off we went. But as luck may have it we picked up RVT Issue 109, and low and behold is the letter Exams and Tests, "I hate them!" Boy did that open my eyes, thinking to myself, does this mean my insurance is invalid? So what to do? I drove myself down to the motor vehicle branch and started to ask questions. I told them that I knew nothing about this and had first heard of it in The RV Times. I guess what I am saying is that maybe ICBC should spend a little money to educate the public. This brings a big question to mind about how many drivers are towing with the wrong driver's license? What I did first was study and pass the knowledge test. Then I contacted Attila at Euro Driving School (found his ad in the Marketpage Section of this magazine) and took a four-hour course. You can always learn no matter how long you have been towing and I would recommend Attila to anyone who would like to learn from a professional driver. Attila, if you are reading this, again a big thank you. Also a big thank you to Kevin, at the Langley Motor Vehicle Branch who made the road test very easy to do by making me feel very relaxed.
I recently took driving lesson through Euro Driving School (found their ad in your Marketpage section) to learn the basics of towing or RV. The best $200 we have spent. My husband sat in on the instruction and he also learnt a lot of tips. Attila was terrific! We started on the outside of the RV, our own, and progressed from there to driving, backing up and even parking. This was the best four hours, very informative and fun. My husband an I are really happy we did this. On recent trip to the BC Interior, I did about half of the driving. Thanks again to Attila for his expertise and to The RV Times for pointing us in the right direction.
Carole & Joe Lawless
In June we finished eight hours of instruction in driving a 35 ft Winnebago Adventurer motor home, which we purchased from a dealer on the Mainland. Attila Szalay of Euro Driving School, one of The RV Times advertisers, was our instructor and did a great job, not only with the hands-on part, but also with teaching us many safety measures in driving on public roads and highways. We felt lucky to have Attila as our teacher.
John & Sue Hall, Nanoose Bay, BC
My Husband and I never miss an issue of The RV Times. I am writing to share my experience with driving lessons with our 5th wheel RV. Last spring, I took the lesson from Euro Driving School in Surrey. I have been driving the RV for several years, but did not know how to back it up, so decided it was time I learned. I wanted to learn from someone with professional driver training so I would learn the 'right way' to do it. After several phone calls to the people at ICBC and the Motor Vehicle Branch, I was referred to Attila Szalay of Euro Driving School. When I called to set up an appointment, Attila was extremely friendly and obliging. During my lesson, he put me at ease with his relaxed, professional style. He began the lesson with a complete pre-trip inspection to ensure both the tow vehicle and the RV were safe, and that I understood the importance of that process. The driving par of the lesson was easy and fun, thanks to Attila's relaxed demeanor. At the end of four hours of practice under Attila's guidance, I felt comfortable with all aspect of driving and parking my RV. I now feel much more confident when driving and parking the RV, and would recommend that anyone who is hesitant about their ability to handle any kind of recreational vehicle, contact Attila and sign up for his lessons. They are reasonable priced, and well worth the time and effort.
Linda Sutton, Chilliwack BC
The RV Times July/August 2004
Attila was clear & concise. Very interested in making sure we understood the material. I am very impressed with him. Good job.
Instructor very knowledgeable & friendly. Very informative course. Thanks for your time Attila.
Kept the course interesting. Answered all questions. Didn't make you fell stupid when asking questions. Has a very good sense of humor.
The class was very knowledgeable and the instructor made it a lot more interesting with his personality & knowledge.
I was recommended this course by another student, who took this course 6 years ago. I feel this course offers excellent information that reaches all levels of learning abilities. Mr. Szalay is very approachable, and makes himself available for any information/questions you don't understand or need further explanation. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who wants to be a Professional driver! (Not Just A Trucker)
Michele L. Morgan
This course was very informative and helpful, and I would recommend it to others. Attila was a great teacher.
Last summer we bought a 35' diesel pusher motor home - our first. It seemed huge! I wanted to learn how to drive it in case of an emergency. With my husband's help I became quite proficient but felt tense while driving on the highway. I was nervous in tight turns, and backing up wasn't possible as I couldn't use the mirrors properly.
We noticed the ad in your Marketpage section for Euro Driving School and gave them a call for lessons. I must say after professional instruction from Attila Szalay, I can now operate our motorhome with CONFINDENCE! The fear is gone! I'm driving and enjoying my turns behind the wheel.
For co-pilots considering lessons, I highly recommend Attila as an instructor. He is willing to take the time to train properly. My husband said he also learned a lot from listening to Attila and his driving has improved, plus he's enjoying our trips more.
Most importantly, I now understand what he's doing when driving down the road.
Catherine A Thompson, North Vancouver
I feel this course should be mandatory for new RV owners. I went from having no confidence to a feeling of "At least I can do it now." Thank you.
Good practical instruction on which to build skills with experience.
Helped me correct my poor backing skills. He didn't make me feel uncomfortable even with my obvious limited experience. Was very helpful. Could have used a few more hours practice though.
Thank you very much Attila!
The information was extremely well delivered will professionalism! I am taking my test today, and I am confident I shall excel due in part to your wonderful teaching style.
I passed the test with 21 out 22 correct. I start driving a 5 ton with air next week. Thank you very much Attila for your excellent tutelage. The gal at the motor vehicle/ICBC place asked if it was my second time, because normally it takes a couple of times for that kind of mark. I attribute that to you.
Do you want to learn not to road rage?