RV Tips

Save your marriage: Effective Hand Signals

Here is a collection of hand signals that will improve your marriage and your ability to park your rig.

Cartoon picture of camper backing into tree.
OUCH! We offer some tips on how to avoid this situation. — Photo compilation: ronleishman/Depositphotos.com; natashin/Depositphotos.com; © Can Stock Photo Inc./Fourleaflover

If you’ve ever said, “I can’t see you if you can’t see me” or, “no! no! turn your wheels the other way! or, even worse, “yeah, ahead a little,” you know how exasperating backing your rig into a camping spot can be for both driver and guide.

It’s not my place to criticise, but you’re being judged when you back your rig into the RV site. In fact, I would put real money on a marriage counselor’s ability to diagnose the quality of a marriage relationship by observing the backing in procedure from the picnic table across from your site.

What follows are hand signals the construction industry uses. These are professional driver and loading dock-hand approved for a reason. They work. If you’ve ever seen a fluorescent-vested person marshalling aircraft to the right gate, they use a version of these signals because they’re absolutely clear to the pilot.

We all admire the couple who parks the rig adjacent to their campsite, gets out of the vehicle and walks the campsite together. You can see them from your picnic table (even though you’re not really looking) pointing at the back of the lot, the fire pit, the table and maybe they pause a moment at the big tree where the slide will eventually be fully extended. But you can’t quite hear the quiet conversation between them. They seem pretty comfortable with the whole thing.

The passenger remains in the middle of the campsite while the driver slides in behind the wheel and adjusts the mirrors one last time. The passenger moves and now has a perfect view of the driver in the mirrors. They might even nod at each other. You can see the driver put the vehicle in gear, the brake lights come on, and the passenger makes a backup signal. The rig swings around and as it does it does, the passenger moves like a dance partner with the driver, always in each other’s perfect mirrored view. You can see the hand signals: back a little left. Stop. Ahead and to the left. Stop. Back a little left. Stop.

At the thumbs up, the driver puts the vehicle in park and exits the vehicle. More quiet conversation as wheels are chocked, hitches unhitched, and final preparations for a lovely weekend of camping are underway.

And you can see from your picnic table it’s going to be a satisfying evening for both driver and passenger.

Here is a collection of hand signals that will improve your marriage and your ability to park your rig.  (If you’re not married, these will help you define your goals in terms of a long-term relationship.) Think of this guide as dance lessons. These are the various steps that will help you waltz into a lovely relaxed weekend of comfortable camping.

Graphic of hand signals.
— Illustrations by Barb Smok

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