Last week I wrote an article asking readers to tell us how they signal to another RVer that s/he must stop and attend to an issue with their rig. I mentioned our difficulty in getting the attention of someone when on the road. The article also demonstrated the difficulty of communicating just why the other RVer should stop.
Once again, our readers came through with some interesting stories of their own as well as some suggestions for “universal warning signals.” Here are a few:
Michael V. offered good preventive measures. He wrote, “As a former Scout leader of many years, I found the Scouts were prone to leaving items behind when we broke camp. So, before we left our site we always walked it in both directions before leaving for good. (Always leave your site cleaner than you found it.) We do this now and I have created a checklist for our RV’s specific items both inside and outside, for the dump station, and for pre-trip items, too.”
Many folks who commented suggested using a checklist. It may seem unnecessary after years of camping, but leaving something behind can prove costly. And forgetting to completely “button up” the RV can cause disaster – for you and for fellow travelers!
Getting their attention
Daniel P. suggested these ideas for getting another RVer’s attention: “Approach alongside with hand on the horn (constant sound) then point to the problem area or side of the road. Keep a hand on the horn until they react or acknowledge their problem.”
Another idea was suggested by Tony A., a long-haul truck driver: “We had our own way of communicating. We use our headlights. If there is a problem, you flash your headlights in a series (three times, pause, and repeat).”
One reader who refers to themselves as Travellingjw wrote, “When I need to stop someone, I pull my flat hand in front of my throat and then push the palm of my hand up and down. So far it has worked.”
Often, a fellow RVer’s problem can become everyone’s problem if you’re traveling the same road! Readers shared stories about items falling out of an RV’s flapping “basement” door, a tow vehicle’s tires shredding, and one case of a bucket of tools bouncing out of an open entrance door. Yikes! It’s no wonder that reader Wolfe says, “As the ‘signaler’ I am NOT subtle. When I see an urgent issue, I pass when safe, honking Morse signal and pointing steadily. If they still don’t stop, I straddle their lane and their passing lane, blinkers on, and keep honking while physically slowing them down until they get it and pull off. Yep, more conspicuous than most would be, but effective. Now I’ve done honk-point a couple of times, the forced stop only once. I wish someone was this clear when I needed to be stopped.”
Identifying the problem
Glenda A. replied, “I made several 8 1/2 x 11-inch signs with such words as: TV ANTENNA UP, TIRE TROUBLE, AWNING OUT, STEPS NOT RETRACTED, etc. Then you just need to hold up the appropriate sign as you pull alongside them.” Many people agreed that this may be the best way to get your message across once you’ve caught the other RVer’s attention.
However, KellyR cautions, “Having an already made-up sign would make me leery of pulling off the road, as I would think that someone was planning to get me off the road for some reason of their own.” I hadn’t thought of that, Kelly. Good point! If you feel wary or uneasy about stopping with a stranger, try to hold off (if safe and possible) until you can pull over at a public location such as a rest area or gas station.
Other readers who travel as couples suggest keeping a whiteboard and marker inside the rider’s door pocket. If you see something amiss, have the rider (not the driver) quickly write the problem on the whiteboard and hold it up to the window.
Thanks to everyone for their suggestions! I plan to try some of them the very next time I need to warn a fellow camper about a problem. Until then, keep lookin’ out for one another, and stay safe!
You can read the other almost 60 comments on the original story here.