Backing and other signals for RV'ers
Hand signals and spouses helping to guide the RV
into a site:
Over the years Joyce and I have enjoyed sitting at the local boat
ramp on beautiful Sunday afternoons watching "weekend-warriors"
put their boat in the water or take their boat out of the water. The
funniest thing to watch is the Type "A" personality (always
a man) struggle with backing the boat trailer then struggle getting
the boat on the trailer. More often than not it ends in a screaming
match. The man always blames his wife when he can't back and when
he can't get the boat on the trailer. This is first class entertainment
especially when they are on their 5th or 6th attempt to load the boat.
They have attracted an audience by this time.
This same entertainment is routine in campgrounds. My question to
you is "Are you and your spouse the featured entertainment or
do you want to be the featured entertainment when you arrive at the
This is a good read if you are ready to laugh at some things people
see in public places: http://www.redrockadventure.com/camping/camp_sights.htm
Joyce and I have
made sure that we DO NOT put on a show that will amuse the RV-Park.
You can bet that I am not going to say anything to Joyce
that any other ears can hear. With that said..................we have
our hand signals down pat. Although I can generally back into a site
without any help there are times when it is needed. I can look in
my mirrors and tell if I am going to run into anything on the sides.
How far to back is generally what needs direction. When she is directing
me back I will not move until she stands facing my mirror where I
can see BOTH of her hands. She holds both hands up indicating how
far I have to back up. As I roll back her hands get closer and closer
together. There is none of that waving of hands stuff when we get
within 5' of our final resting spot. I will not move the motorhome
if she is not facing my mirror with her hands apart indicating how
far I have to back. If she turns sideways (as is her inclination)
I just stop until she gets hold of herself and turns to face my mirror.
We do this without saying a word, although she has been known to give
me one of those not so nice hand signals -------------------generally
when she has done something embarrassing like standing sideways or
where I can not see both of her hands in the mirror.
Waving hands has got to be the WORST form of giving signals. In order
not to be campground entertainment you need to practice some SIMPLE
signals. This is something most people DO NOT DO before becoming the
"main attraction". Every couple does not have to communicate
exactly the same, however, both must understand the signals they decide
on. Some things are just common sense but are seldom observed.
First, whoever is giving the directions must be giving those direction
from a place where the driver can see them. That can be out in front
of the motorhome in the beginning of the process or on the drivers
side in back of the motorhome in the final stages of backing in. Don't
brush this off lightly. The individual giving directions must be positioned
where they can be seen by the driver. You and your spouse need to
practice this repeatedly until the signal giver UNDERSTANDS where
they have to be.
Second, use accepted signals:
Clinched fist held up head high indicate STOP and HOLD. Everyone
When backing into a site the signal giver must be standing in back
of the vehicle facing the driver (that is also facing the rear of
the RV) so that the driver can see them in the mirror, preferably
on the drivers side. Now the signal giver can point to the direction
they want the back end of the RV to go in. If the intent is to have
the rear of the RV go to the left then point your left arm and hand
to the left while moving your right arm and hand in that direction
(to the left). If the intent is to have the rear of the RV go to the
right then point your RIGHT arm and hand to the right while moving
your left hand and arm in that direction (to the right).
Keep in mind that the driver must be able to see not only the signal
giver's eyes but both of their hands and arms! This is extremely important
because if the driver does not see both hands and arms they can not
see and interpret the signals.
If you want the RV to come straight back you can give the driver
two thumbs up to continue backing.
Once the RV is nearing where it needs to stop the signal giver again
needs to be in full view of the driver's mirror. Waving arms and hands
don't cut it. Refrain from waving someone back. Instead while facing
the driver and the rear end of the RV hold your arms apart indicating
how much further to back. Start with outstretched arms and hands and
bring them closer together as the vehicle gets closer and closer to
where you want it to stop. The driver will feel "safe & sure"
that they know exactly how far you want them to back.
These signals are EASY to practice in a driveway or parking lot.
Just have the signal giver stand behind the RV and direct the driver.
It will take some practice for the signal giver to remember where
to stand in order for the driver to see their signals.
I hope that the time I spent writing this motivates some couples
to discuss the signals they are using to back into a site and practice
those signals. The backing process does not have to be a source of
frustration for you while at the same time a source of entertainment
for the RV-Park.
Hand signals that we use when making sure that
the brake lights and turn signals are working on the tow car:
Common sense tells us to check our tow car brake lights and turn
signals every time we connect the tow car to the motorhome.
Each time we connect the Saturn to the motorhome we do a quick light
check and you should also. Joyce
stands behind the Saturn (our tow car) where she can see the brake
lights on both the Saturn & Motorhome and where I can see her
in the mirror. When I activate the left turn signal she holds up 2-fingers
on her left hand-----
indicating to me that both the motorhome and Saturn's left turn signal
lights are working. When checking the right turn signals she holds
up 2-fingers on her right hand. Then I apply the brakes and she holds
up 4-fingers assuring me that she has checked brake lights on the
motorhome as well as the Saturn. Within a few seconds she is in the
motorhome and away we go.
We have found bad connections and also find burned out bulbs several
times a year.
We have a routine when connecting the tow car to the motorhome and
checking the lights is just one step in the routine.
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