Tuesday, September 28, 2021


Attention, attention! How do you let another RVer know that they need to stop and check their rig?

As we travel in our fifth wheel, my husband and I try to be friendly. We’ll happily lend a hand or a tool to help a fellow RVer. We’ve shared everything from BBQ recipes to wood blocks and everything in between! In doing so, we’ve made many friends along the way.

Our problem? We need a sign. We need a unique, warning sign – preferably an easy-to-do hand signal that can be generally accepted as an urgent caution to stop and check your rig! Why? Often, as folks leave their campsite we’ll notice something amiss. Some examples may help you understand.

For instance, there was a couple who failed to retract their awning. No amount of frantic waving and other gesticulating could get through to them in time. I guess they thought we were overly ecstatic at having met them?! The awning ripped off as they rounded the first tree.

Then there was the guy who drove off, only to leave his satellite dish precariously held to his RV roof with a single sandbag. We doubt he got very far.

There was also the family who forgot their kids’ bikes. We were able to catch them in time, but only because my husband hopped on one of their bikes and pedaled like mad. The little bike owner must have shouted to his folks when he saw Hubby frantically trying to outpace them.

Before you pass judgment, please know that we’ve tried the “policeman’s stop gesture.” It hasn’t worked. You generally need to be in front of the rig for most drivers to notice you. We’ve also employed the “wild arm wave” and the “hands to mouth shouting” methods. No success there, either. We’ve tried pointing to the RV owner’s rig to signal that something’s wrong. They smile and wave. Some even give a thumbs up. It makes me want to thump my head on the side of our rig in utter frustration.

So, I’m asking you: How do you let another RVer know that they need to stop and check their rig? Have you ever accidentally left something behind or forgot to do something before driving off to your next adventure? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below. Maybe we can come up with a universal hand gesture together?



Notify of

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

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
16 days ago

I have been next to someone at a red light, stopped, beeped horn, doing a “wind your window down” motion, speaking loudly out of an open window at them, with them actually looking at me – and they refused to even open the window to see just what I might want to say…. Honestly, some people cannot be saved from themselves.

Tony from TN
16 days ago

We usually travel as a small group and use CB ch 14 to communicate but we have found very few others that monitor it. Like many others here, I have seen mishaps and tried in vain to get the drivers to stop and check their rig. As for ourselves, we have adopted a strict walk around by both of us before ever putting the rig into gear. It includes turning on the lights and the emergency flashers and doing a serious walk all the way around. That way everything gets looked at twice. So maybe the best solution is to educate people to make their checks and let the problem never occur to start with.

Last edited 16 days ago by Tony from TN
17 days ago

We’ve had success with honking, holding our nose, and pointing back and down. Works better with a tire that is flat or shredding but has got their attention to go check for something.

22 days ago

Take three!? Driving the trailer today, we followed an RV with its rear steps down, and i was thinking AGAIN of this article… …and suddenly remembered i already started working on this problem before (i have about a dozen RV inventions). Two trailers ago (I think?) I put together an LED matrix of 8×64 pixels and drove it over bluetooth from my phone as a message board. I had simple preset messages to flash or scroll (GETTING OVER – PLS WAIT TO PASS / PASS NOW / DANGER – PULL OVER – CHECK VEHICLE! / THANKS / etc). Although i could display anything, i had presets to quickly thank or warn other drivers. So, there’s my insanely over engineered solution!

Duane R
22 days ago

Cross your forearms like an airport ramp-worker crosses their lights, tapping your arms together. The tapping shows urgency, in my opinion. If both of you are moving, point to their rig after showing them the crossed arms.

Last edited 22 days ago by Duane R
22 days ago
Reply to  Duane R

People get nervous when i cross my arms while driving 15,000lbs of trailer… really any time i leave the wheel when in motion. 😉

23 days ago

The problem with most signals as driver is knowing whether the signal is “F- You” for driving the speed limit or signaling trouble. Women tend to think I’m catcalling them. I myself have pulled over as suggested and found no reason to have stopped (case 1 above), and I have had serious issues no one signaled.

As the “signaller” I am NOT subtle… when I see an urgent issue, I pass when safe, honking morse-S and pointing STEADILY. I have caution signs mentioned below if suitable. If they still don’t stop, I straddle their lane AND their passing lane, blinkers on, and KEEP honking while physically slowing them until they get it and pull off. Yep, more conspicuous than most would be but effective NOW. I’ve done honk-point a couple times, the forced stop only once. I WISH someone was this clear when I needed to BE stopped.

Debby Bradford
23 days ago

It’s so hard to get through to them, even when not on the move! I find myself frequently telling other RVers at gas stations and rest stops that their antenna is up. I’ve gotten dozens of thank yous. I’ll never forget one man who argued and argued with me that I was wrong, so I gave up and simply walked away and got into my rig. Then, I looked over and saw the antenna being retracted.

23 days ago

I like the ping pong paddle idea noted here.
I like a small white-board and markers. You can write something quick “check tire” or “bay open” plus you can use in camp for messages.

23 days ago

The only thing we forgot was the trash bag on top of the car! Because of the luggage rack it stayed on there all the way home!

23 days ago

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 the few times I’ve used it.

Tony Aguilera
23 days ago

I was a long haul truck diver before there were CB radios, We had our own way of communicating. We use our head lights. When a semi is passing you and once his trailer has cleared you flash your head lights once. Let him know ok to come back to your lane. He would flash marker lights twice as “thank you”. If there is a problem you flash head lights in series of three times, pause and repeat. From the rear they need to pull over “emergency” or from opposite direction telling everyone “danger ahead” Yelling does not work. Hope this helps.

23 days ago
Reply to  Tony Aguilera

I do exactly these signals… most people don’t seem to notice or understand them. Semis generally do, and visibly appreciate when I signal “pull in” or even run block to create a space for them.

Debby Bradford
23 days ago
Reply to  Tony Aguilera

That brings up the question, for decades I would flash to let truckers in ahead of me and 99% of the time they would flash a thank you once they were safely in. Now almost no truckers flash the thank you. I still flash to let them in safely because that’s the courteous and safe thing to do, but I miss the thank you flashes.

23 days ago

I just discussed this with my 8 yr old grand daughter and she is working on an app for this……should be available soon from your favorite app store. 😁

Daniel Pankiewicz
23 days ago

Alongside – Hand on horn (constant sound) then point to a problem area or side of road.
keep a hand on horn till they react / acknowledge their problem
If behind them horn constant, turn on your right blinker light, and lights flashing

Michael Vasko
23 days ago

As a former Scout leader of many years. I found the Scout’s were prone to leave items behind when we broke camp. So before we left out site we always walked it in both directions before leaving for good (always leave your site cleaner then you found it) and most items lost then were not left in our camp site.

Not only do we do this I have created a checklist for RV specific item both inside and outside, for the dump station and for pre trip items too
This came about by my own personal experience when I blew a tire by not swinging wide enough with my new RV trailer and not having the proper tools with me to change it.

23 days ago

It would be a good idea to have a sign. If I made one it would say YOUR RIG NEEDS ATTENTION. That covers all bases. Alas, due to the rare instances where we could have used such a sign. I doubt we would’ve located it in the passing moment. Honking, hollering and pointing seem to get the point across.

23 days ago
Reply to  Ray

I carry neon danger placards meant for posting on your rear window when YOU break down. I carry them in my map pocket where I can hold them up if needed.

24 days ago

Seems to me all RVs should have a CB radio all truckers should have a CB radio then you would be able to communicate between one another without having to send hand signals

Carolyn Jorgensen
24 days ago

Great discussion. We’ve been warned twice, both by people in a car that honked and pulled alongside, pointing at the RV. Thankful, we pulled over.
When driving the RV it can be hard to pull alongside or get their attention. Maybe some type of horn/sound SOS with flashing headlights if you’re behind them?

24 days ago

We’ve been signalled over a few times over the years, tires slowly shredding on the tow, stairs not fully retracted, and our favorite: our dump handles look extended even when they’re in fully.

Short of having a CB Radio with speaker capability, with a speaker under the hood, don’t know how to contact another driver in motion.

BEST BET is ALWAYS to do a thorough walk around before embarking, USING A CHECKLIST.

Diane Mc
24 days ago

Car pulled along the driver side & passenger started pointing wildly. We pulled over. Right front tire on Mini Cooper blown to shreds. Very grateful. Another, 2 men in old clunker pointing for us to pull over. We were a bit nervous.Turns out slide-out drawer in one of the bins had come open & was hanging out the full length of the drawer. Fortunately, only lost roll of paper towels. Favorite was older couple pulled up along side while driving I-10 on Florida panhandle. We pulled over. They pulled behind us & came up along side motorhome.They apologized but saw we were towing a Mini Cooper. They had a motorhome & wanted to know how we towed it as they thought it wasn’t towable. This was probably 2004 & you didn’t see many, if any, at the time. They were a hoot & enjoyed talking to them. Pointing like crazy seems to work.

24 days ago

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.

Follow us!