Pay attention to passing motorists’ warnings of trouble


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 a comment.


Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ed Thomas
6 months ago

Traveling down I-95 in our class C, a car pulls up next to us and honks/points behind us to the tow dolly with my VW on it. Wife get up and go’s to the back to check things out,, I hear a loud cry, “Ed, the {bleeped} thing is on FIRE! Not what you want to hear at 60 mph on the interstate. Pulled over sharply, stopped and grabbed the fire extinguisher and raced to the back. The fender on the left side and come loose and rotated under the tire, which was now fully engulfed in flames 🔥. I got the fire out but told the wife to call 911 since I had emptied the extinguisher. About that time I was joined by the fire Dept, ambulance and state police (someone else had already called 911. Some young men stopped and helped me get the VW off the dolly and over to the side of the rode. Wife drove it home, I drove the RV and USAA road service picked up the dolly and delivered it to my driveway. Repaired it and sold it a couple of weeks later. Ought a Honda CRV to tow.

Dale Sain
6 months ago

I got a lot of “Thumbs up” when pulling a 24′ ski boat with my Class A. It made me smile. Until one afternoon when a frantically waving lady pulled in front of me and stopped. Yeah, a little too quickly, but the right rear boat trailer tire had exploded; damaging only the fender. I know, now I have a TPMS, but the boat is gone.

Jerome friedman
6 months ago

Our front jacks on our 5er drifted down while we were driving and were almost all the way down. A trucker passing honked his horn and frantically pointed. Could have been disastrous. Until we had them replaced, we taped drinking straws to the bottom plate so we could easily monitor the Jack’s through the side view mirror.

7 months ago

Twice in 15 years. Once the trim on rear passenger side tire was pulling loose. Second time the trim on driver side tire was loose.

Doug McIntire
7 months ago

More than once. I am thrilled by the kindness of strangers. One time last year on the 101 up in the Redwoods a truck passed me an jumped out to flag me down. I pulled over to find the tires of my toad locked and about gone. If he had not gone to so much trouble I’d have been metal to road before long. Saved the trip and the car, but not the front tires.

Vanessa Simmons
7 months ago

Multiple cars flashing their lights at me on I-84 heading into Portland at night. My stinky snake was hanging out of the carrier dragging. Had a guy pull into a rest area behind me just after I crossed the TX state line into LA to tell me I had a bubble on my RV tire. It was the size of small pumpkin … saved my RV and probably me.

Guy Mazzarella
7 months ago

Twice. I was towing a trailer. They came alongside waved and yelled I had a flat tire, pulled over to find a shredded tire on the passenger side of the trailer, never felt or heard it.
2d time driving our brand new Coach on I-81 in VA. Pulled into a rest stop to eat lunch, van pulled in next to us, an Amish family got out. The father came up and said the inside rear tire on the passenger side was flat, they had followed us for 5-7 miles to let us know. It was, got it fix by a roadside AAA and then continued on

6 months ago
Reply to  Guy Mazzarella

That was one fast horse and buggy

Ridge Gardner
7 months ago

We got side swiped in a torrential rain storm on I-75 near Valdosta, GA. When it happened we felt a slight lurch, but nothing more. Never saw the vehicle that hit us. About ten minutes later (still raining hard) a good Samaritan pulled along side and waved. I took the next exit and once stopped I found a six foot piece of aluminum trim sticking out the left rear of the Airstream at a 45° angle. I’m very grateful to that concerned motorist and glad I had a hack saw.

7 months ago

I had a bar on my hitch come loose and someone wave and point to the hitch
I pulled over and put the bar back on the hitch.

Chester R Nichols
7 months ago

I’m one of the good Samaritans that always checks others rigs. When I spot a potential problem I alert the driver. If no response I Will look for a passenger.
I do this so we can all have safe travels wherever life leads us.

Ridge Gardner
7 months ago

Thank you.

RV Staff (@rvstaff)
7 months ago

Many years ago, during my daily commute on I-5 from downtown Seattle 20 miles north to my home, I noticed a car with Canadian license plates. None of their brake lights were working. It was during rush hour and we were creeping along slowly, bumper to bumper. It was almost impossible to even change lanes. I lost sight of the car a couple of times, but about 30 minutes and 5 miles later, I was finally able to get to their passenger side and safely maintain the same slow speed as them. The passenger saw me looking at him through my open window and rolled down his window. I yelled, “You have NO brake lights!” The driver said, “I didn’t hear her.” The passenger said, “I did.” He gave me a thumbs up and a wave, and I drove past them. I saw them take an exit off the freeway a couple of blocks later, next to which there was a big Chevron station. I’m sure they were heading home to Canada from a trip to the states. I was afraid with no brake lights they wouldn’t make it home without getting rear-ended. —Diane at

Raymond Clark
7 months ago

Out on a bike ride I had someone coming up on me fast. I signaled to him to slow down, he did to give me the glare and the finger.
His passenger was screaming at him to look ahead, she saw the herd of deer I was warning them about.
He was able to break in time to avoid ruining his and the deers day.

7 months ago

Was with a group of folks a couple of years ago, young (mid 20’s and up) when these two loud mouths started laughing and saying the fun trick they pulled on an “old people couple” driving their big RV and tow car. They yelled and pointed back at the end as if there was something wong. They got a big kick that the RV immediately pulled over while they drove laughing down the road. Me and two others (who had RV’s) then proceed to tell them what we thought of their prank. It got so bad they left. Strange what some people call fun.

Peg Daigneault
7 months ago

Had this happen just outside of New Orleans. Passenger was waving for us to pull over but my husband said that he felt nothing wrong. It started to feel creepy to us Canadians so we just kept going. There was nothing wrong when we stopped.

7 months ago

Good: I was once flagged down for a truck on fire
Bad: most people YouTube instead of warning you
Ugly: predators have been known to flag pretty girls or vulnerable elders to get them to stop.

7 months ago

We were southbound on I-5 a couple miles north of the interchange with the 210 freeway in the rain when two young men passed waving and pointing to the back of our motorhome. We pulled over to the shoulder and found that the tow bar for our Jeep had broke on one side. The guys pulled over and helped us disconnect Jeep and left so quick that all we could do was call out a quick thanks. Said a prayer of thanks as I followed (in the Jeep) my husband in the motorhome the rest of the way home.

7 months ago

I’ve had drivers tell me when my steps don’t retract properly. On this rig, I can’t see them in the mirror since it is a DP with a front entry. I always try to listen for them to retract but sometimes I get distracted.

Diane Mc
7 months ago

I-80 Nebraska. Mini Cooper tire totally shredded. Never felt it. Have cameras but didn’t notice anything. Thankful for the person who warned us. Had to have Mini towed as we don’t carry spare. We now put a tire on a rim in the back. Takes up a lot of space, but we don’t care. We have tire monitors on MH. Told my husband we are getting them for the Mini and immediately placed an order for deliver to our next stop where we were staying long enough to get them! One other time we were flagged down on 1-10 On the Panhandle in Florida. Couple, who were in a car, said they had an RV and were thinking about towing a Mini and wanted to know how we liked it. They were very sweet and kind, so we weren’t upset. Plus we were glad nothing was wrong!

7 months ago

One of the easiest things in the world to do is to drive out of a campsite, stop at the camp dumpster to toss out the trash bags, and then get distracted by a conversation. You hop back into the truck and drive off, leaving the door of the trailer wide open. Over the years, we’ve done this twice and were alerted by drivers passing us on the right madly pointing at the trailer. With luck, nothing tumbles out the door as you sail down the highway, but don’t count on it. ALWAYS walk all the way around before taking off, even on short stops.

Lloyd Gardner
7 months ago

This happened to us twice in one day. The first time a trucker brought my attention to a low tire on our TT. While slowing and looking for a place to pull over a second trucker pointed it out as well. Fortunately we were within walking distance of a tire shop. They came and swapped the spare. We drove to the shop while they patched the flat. Took less than an hour to be back on the road.
About an hour later a pickup pulls up to us and tells us we’re dragging a hose. I pulled over to discover our sewer hose had decided to exit the storage tube under the trailer. The hose was a total loss. The frustrating part is the hose came out on the passenger side that I had been unable to open ever. Needless to say we now have strong caps on our storage tube.