On the road, most of us have experienced looking out our window to see a car passing by with someone waving frantically, and pointing toward our vehicle or behind it. Most of the time these are Good Samaritans who have spotted something wrong with our vehicle or the one we’re towing. This message and the ensuing responses were posted at our RV Advice Group on Facebook and we believe are worth passing along.
And thanks to those of you who care enough about others to flag them down when there’s a problem!
From a group member
“This is a tip for new RV drivers. As cars pass you, every so often, take a glance at the passenger seat of the car passing you. If they ignore you then that’s good! But, they may just be trying to get your attention to alert you that something behind you is not right. Maybe a strap is loose, or something is hanging. These things don’t cause an alarm for you, so if you can become aware about it sooner, you might just be able of fix it before something bad happens. Here’s to safe travels.”
And here are a few responses
“Had that happen while pulling a U-Haul last month. A wonderful young man came up beside us, stayed there til we noticed. He pointed, we pulled over….flat/blow out. Didn’t hear it or feel it! We were so thankful!! BTW, U-Haul came within a half hour and changed the tire quick!”
“Happened to me yesterday. My tow car trunk lid was up and some nice gentleman kept blinking his lights and motioning me that something was wrong. Of all the cars which passed, only 1 made such an effort.”
“Just happened to me. My water heater door was flapping and someone pulled up next to me and let me know.”
“Yep, on a small travel trailer last year people tried to get my attention but I didn’t get it at first. Lost a propane tank and one was dragging under the trailer, sparks flying and actually caused the tank to puncture. Could have ended in a disaster – lucky.”
“My husband used to drive truck and it was someone passing him that alerted him that the back of his truck was on fire. He was able to pull off as there was an exit right there and everyone was safe. Truck, not so much.”
“We had one of our bin doors open on the driver’s side. Luckily someone came up next to us and honked and pointed to tell my husband. He had not noticed it.”
What about you? Has a passerby ever pointed out a bad situation to you that saved your day? Please leave a comment below.
Had this happen years ago, driving one of the interstates through OKC in heavy traffic. A car pulled up on the passenger side, motioning wildly, so I rolled my window down. “Your door is open!” they shouted. We traveled with two cats at that time and naturally, we were panic stricken until we could get pulled over. This was before they started putting the grab bars that swing across the door on most campers and I apparently hadn’t gotten it latched properly before locking it. Fortunately, the cats were just hanging out on the bed, wondering what all the commotion was.
Had a person hanging out a window motioning us to pull over. Were able to do it quickly. Went back to find tire and wheel gone. Sheared off lugs. Much farther other wheel on same side would have blown as it was rubbing on bottom of camper. With a little help we were on road again about 3 hours later.
I am surprised there was not a story about being careful about pulling over onto the shoulder after someone signalled that there was a “problem” only to find that another car pulls up from behind with “ulterior” motives. An article about this would be worthy.
Does it count that I’ve BEEN the good samaritan? I have notified MANY vehicles of trouble (comes from being the x-wife of a trucker!).
We were driving along the highway after a rather bumpy stretch and several people were honking and pointing at the van. We pulled over at the first exit and found that our rusted battery support had fallen loose and our charging cord was swinging about behind the RV, Good thing we were advised soon!
storage door opened by itself. Good sam. person pointed it out.
I was pulling our travel trailer on I-90 in Wyoming, and a man came up beside us indicating that we should pull over. We decided to do just that, and when he saw me start to slow down and pull over, he pulled over in front of us and stood on his brakes like an idiot. I had a hard time stopping without running into him, but he told us our bicycle rack on the rear of the trailer was broken and we were dragging a bicycle. We saved the other bike, thanks to him. I just wish other drivers would use a little more common sense and realize that we can’t stop these things on a dime.
Another time we were towing our travel trailer in Tennessee at night, and two men in a tow truck flagged us to stop. We had a broken leaf spring on the trailer, and the stub of the spring was dragging on the road making sparks. Fortunately the fixed end of the spring was still intact so the axle couldn’t shift, and we had the spring replaced in Nashville the next day.
Shore power cord came out of it’s compt in rear of our trailer going down interstate, looked like a giant black snake following us! Passing motorist notified us , but too late to save the plug from the “road rash”.
I smelled hot brakes in front of us and saw the Semi truck tires smoking because he had hot brakes on his tractor and we stopped him and we pulled over with him. I ran to him and his brakes were so hot it was starting to burn his tires. I grabbed his fire extinguisher and started to put out the fire while he called for the fire department. The extinguisher wasn’t big enough for the job so I got him away from the truck and one tire exploded, The fire department came and put the fire out before it got out of hand.
Yes, it certainly HAS happened to us. We were driving through a longish (~10 miles) area of road construction on I-75 near Corbin, Kentucky in June 2020. The passenger waved at us as they passed and the car stayed ahead of us. Meanwhile, we could see nothing wrong with our towed vehicle in the rear camera display. We exited the interstate, still following our good Samaritans. We stopped and quickly could see that the front passenger tire on the Jeep had blown, destroying much of the fender, and had less than an inch of rubber around the wheel. We were minutes, if not seconds, from the wheel causing a fire. Our after-market TPMS included the RV tires, but not the Jeep. Further, the good Samaritan driver removed the wheel and put on the spare while I alerted the insurance company. We could not thank the couple enough, nor would they accept any monetary thank you. Soon after the Jeep was repaired we added it to our RV TPMS.
Note: this was during the early days of COVID.
Yup, almost the identical story except it was Montana on the I-15, 10 miles north of Great Falls and the rear DS tire on the Jeep. Same story down to the jeep’s tire having only the 1 inch of bead left and it was 15 years ago. A typical Montana good Samaritan pulled a floor jack out of the back of his truck and guided us to a tire shop. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
Couple times – a tire going flat (picked up a muffler clamp – now use TPMS) and second time the welds broke on the rear bumper after driving a washboard highway and the spare was at a precarious angle. For what it was worth, that State had resurfaced that 30 mile section when we revisited a year later.
This is excellent advice. I have to admit that as soon as I started reading, the movie Planes Trains and Automobiles came to mind…”You are going the wrong way!” “How do they know where we are going?”
Left the key in wrong position in the toad. Steering locked up, front tires “scrubbed” & left front was 100% gone when we were alerted. Earlier, a trucker had waved as he passed, but it looked more like a greeting, so we ignored it. Wound up with a $500 tow (reimbursed by insurance) and new tires all around. Luckily we stopped before the wheel was too damaged to put the new tire on it. We now put a big pointer on the steering wheel when towing so we can see in back camera that it moves when we turn.
Just merged onto the interstate a mile from home when a highway patrol motioned me over but kept on going. A bin door had come open.
We were alerted about a blowout on our toad by a motorcycle rider. It was our 2nd day of owning the motorhome and we had not gotten a TPMS yet. We were just trying to get home to KS from Ft. Myers, FL.
I tow a car trailer with my 2003 DutchStar. I had someone point behind and when I looked back the trailer was at an odd angle, nose down. The rear two bolts attaching the receiver to the frame had broken and the hitch was dragging. Fortunately I had a jack and hardware in my trailer and was able to repair it on the shoulder. By the way if you tow it’s a good idea to check those bolts for corrosion on older motorhomes.
We were on the interstate and someone pulled up next to us, got our attention and yelled, “You lost your bike.” We quickly pulled over and walked to the back of the 5th wheel. One bike was gone. The other was loosely hanging by a bungee and being drag down the hwy at 65 mph. We found the first bike a couple miles back. Luckily, no vehicles were hit and nobody was hurt when the bike flew off.
We have a toy hauler RV. Inside, we have a motorcycle with a sidecar that takes up the entire garage (along with the washer/dryer…). On the outside at the back, we also have a hydraulic lift with another motorcycle. A woman and her husband passed us, I glance over, as always, to check for any indications. The woman rolled down her window and hollered at me, pointing. I couldn’t hear her, rolled down my window… and they drove on.
Freaking out, we pulled over at the very next exit. Couldn’t see anything wrong. Turns out, the lady is right in front of us at the very crowded rest area. I walked up and asked her what the problem was. She said “you have a toy hauler, I was asking if your bike’s on the outside, what’s inside?”. I was very polite, but VERY firm, that this was inappropriate and she TOTALLY was out of line to holler at us like that. I stomped back to the truck, very, very angry. Explained to the wife what happened, who also became angry. We drove on.