By Russ and Tiña De Maris
If you’ve recently gotten into RVing, you know that backing your RV into a spot can be one of the most frustrating experiences in life. The same is true for your long-suffering assistant, the one who tries to help you back a rig in. It’s possible that back-in RV spaces are one of the leading causes of marital strife for RVing couples. But it doesn’t have to be this way, if you’re both on the same signal “wavelength.”
Take a few minutes when you’re both calm and away from stress. Talk about and come to an agreement on what hand signals mean what and how to apply them. Take some time to actually practice them before one of you has to get behind the wheel.
In practice, the one giving signals must always be in plain view of the driver. If the signal giver is out of view STOP backing and wait until they come back into view. We had an unnerving experience just the other day when pilot lost site of signal giver, the rig on a grade slid back, and narrowly averted smooshing the signal giver. Not good!
Using both hands is helpful, and the “pointer” hand always points the way the rear of the RV should go.
Some have found using walkie talkies or even cell phones to be somewhat useful for guiding rigs in. We’ve tried that, but find that hand signals are usually a bit less ambiguous. And don’t be afraid to simply stop, get out of the rig, and take a look at the situation.
Our thanks to the Santa Clara County, California Fire Department for the illustrations.