We all learned the “magic words” as a kid. Do you want a piece of pie? What are the magic words? “Please” and “thank you.” “Magic words” and other proper manners were taught to most of us as we grew up. In the spirit of “never stop learning new things,” I recently learned a few rules of etiquette about RVing that I hadn’t known before. Here they are. (Please. Add to my list. Thank you!)
When trailering an RV, the trailer puts additional weight on the rear of the tow vehicle. This causes the front of the tow vehicle to angle upward, which means the vehicle’s headlights are also aimed upward – often right into the eyes of any oncoming driver. Today’s ultra-bright headlights can easily blind other drivers and become a real hazard. (It’s also against the law in most places.)
A common-sense rule of etiquette (and safety) is to fix this problem. Here’s how: With your trailer attached to your tow vehicle, check and adjust your headlight alignment. This fixed our problem. However, it may be necessary to have your mechanic install air shocks or extra leaf springs instead.
We try to dim our lights for oncoming traffic, even on the interstate. Why? Our rig’s headlight placement sits higher than those of lower-slung vehicles. We use our dimmer to avoid hampering any oncoming drivers’ vision.
Before you settle in for the night, get permission. Yes, many Walmart stores offer free overnight parking, as do other outlets like Cracker Barrel, Lowe’s, Bass Pro Shops, and more. But get permission first. Remember to keep slides in and say “thank you” by making a purchase from the retailer.
Check with the homeowner association before you make plans to bed down for the night in a residential area. Many neighborhoods have restrictions. Follow them.
Recently I called to cancel a reservation. The gal who answered my call was so, so very appreciative. She thanked me several times and before I disconnected, I asked her if she’s had problems with cancellations. She told me that over the past week alone, their campground lost revenue from several sites because people did not call to cancel their reservations. They were simply “no shows.” Losing money on these sites may not seem that important to bigger campgrounds, but this was a small, mom-and-pop enterprise. That lost revenue hurt!
I was surprised. I supposed campers knew better – had better manners or etiquette – than just not show up. Not only do campgrounds lose revenue, other campers could not make use of the sites either. What’s more, RVers like those “no shows” promote the impression that we all are a group of ill-mannered folks. And everybody loses.
Finally, take time to post a positive review of the good campgrounds you visit. Sadly, as with other businesses, people are quick to post only their negative reviews. Be polite, even when posting a negative comment, and compliment good service whenever you experience it.
Simple common courtesy, basic manners, and a friendly disposition will boost the overall reputation of RVers in general, and make each of us feel good inside, too.