Caravan Drivers Guide. Summary
Edited by: Rob A. Weimer, The Vette Set
Day before trip
Charge and pack two-way GMRS radio(s).
Trip Start: Don’t be late!
Arrive with a full gas tank and an empty bladder.
Arrive 15-30 minutes early to receive last minute instructions or route changes.
Each car can buddy up with another car for help should it be needed.
Leader will distribute route directions and provide verbal instructions as needed.
Leader will designate a two-way radio channel to use. Check yours with others.
Caravanning is not a race! Be safe and reasonably lawful. Don’t be too aggressive.
Sweep car will be assigned by the leader to help keep caravan together and notify leader via radio should a separation occur.
Leader will wait for a traffic gap to allow cars to safely enter roadway.
On the Road, controlled by the Leader
Keep the chatter to a minimum during the following conditions:
- After a STOP sign, the leader will drive slowly.
- If a TRAFFIC SIGNAL turns red before all cars have cleared the intersection, advise the leader via radio. The leader will pull over or slow.
- At Freeway On-Ramps the leader will travel slowly in the right lane, unless other instructions were given.
Stay in line as much as possible and maneuver exactly as the car in front of you.
Freeway/Interstate highway speed will be determined by the leader.
Keep a safe but reasonably close gap to the car ahead of you.
Expect to be passed if you travel below the speed limit or keep a large headway/gap.
Allow Non-Caravan cars to pass through for entrances, exits, or interchanges.
Generally, drive right and pass left. Follow the leader for exceptions.
Leader will pick a lane and stay there unless it becomes necessary to change.
Allow fellow caravanners to reenter as necessary.
Avoid situations with non-caravanners who are aggressive toward the caravan.
Any car leaving the caravan must notify to leader.
Stops on the Way
The leader will have planned stops for bathroom breaks, meals, and gas fill-up.
Sometimes unplanned stops are made due to mechanical breakdowns.
A large caravan requires buddy groups, buddies stop and assist the injured party.
Small caravans should all stop, assist, and remain until the problem is resolved.
The caravanners with radios must notify the leader whenever a car leaves the caravan.
Beware of Highway Dangers
The leader is aware of Rubber-banding and should always speed up slowly and slow down gradually. Rapid slowing can result in rear ending accidents.
Leader or caravanner’s speed changes create rubber-banding and changes the length of the caravan.
Truckers basically own the highway; it is their office.
Trucks will almost always change lanes quickly if there is a vehicle on the roadside.
If you are held up by a passing truck, be patient, they will get out of your way soon.
Do not antagonize truckers, many have been driving for long hours.
Do not use your walkie talkie to harass truckers.
Leader and caravanners should use a General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) radio. Amazon has a great selection. Costs about $50 for a pair.
Batteries are rechargeable or use disposable batteries.
Items to complete in preparation for a trip: not a complete listing.
Inspect tires (including spare), must be in good to excellent condition.
Change Oil and filter. Change fuel filter.
Lube the chassis, service the transmission & axles.
Replace Shocks? Front-end alignment?
If driving a pre 84 car, adjust the steering box.
Verify/inspect cooling system: radiator, water pump, belts, hoses.
Inspect/remove debris from the front of radiator.
Inspect/verify electric cooling fans work properly.
Verify A/C is cold, if not, have it serviced.
Carry a spare serpentine belt with you at all times