SAFE & SANE CONVOY DRIVING
1. Before departing hold a drivers meeting and give each driver a printout of the route turn by turn with odometer reading. Review the road rules. Assign someone with a radio to be the sweeper. (The sweeper is the last car that lets the group leader know when everyone has made a light or a turn onto a new road.) Determine a radio frequency to set the GMRS/FRS family radios. Channel 2, Code 1 is the ‘commonly’ used setting.
2. Lights on. Set odometers to zero. Do a radio check.
3. Generally speaking only eight or ten cars can make it through a traffic light before it changes. If your convoy is larger than ten, it is best to break it down into separate convoys with a different leader and sweeper. Separate the convoys by approximately five to ten minutes so as to avoid confusion on the radios. You may wish to use different channel frequencies.
4. Signal all turns early and relentlessly.
5. Favor the right (slow) lane when on 4-lane highway.
6. Allow suitable clear distance between you and the car in front of you. This will prove its value as we make judgments whether to stop or proceed through the several stoplights on the route. Always try to keep the car in front of you in sight.
7. You are responsible for the car behind you! Make sure that the person following you sees you make the turn!
8. Watch the car behind you. If he slows down, you slow down. As the leader sees the car behind him slowing down, it is his cue to slow down also.
9. If a non-convoy driver needs or wants to cut in, let him! In fact, make it easy for him. There will be plenty of time to regroup on stretches of four lane road or at rest stops.
10. If the convoy gets separated, the group leader will proceed until he can find a safe place to pull over and let the rest of the convoy catch up. If your section of the convoy gets separated, do not foolishly speed to catch up.
11. If the leader or any other driver sees that the convoy must stop then if possible grab the two way radio and simply say "braking" or "stopping" to let everyone know. This can really help the drivers behind and improve overall reaction time.
12. Use your best judgment when approaching a long green or yellow traffic signal. Don’t be concerned about delaying those behind you by conservatively judging the light. Judge it as you would if you were traveling independently of a group.
13. When the leader sees oncoming traffic on a narrow road it's good practice to alert everyone in the group with your family radio.
14. If a non-convoy driver wants to cut in, let him. In fact, make it easy for him. There will be plenty of time to regroup on stretches of 4-lane or at rest stops.
15. Passing: if you need to pass a slow car or cars, it should be done “one car at a time”. In other words, don’t all move out at the same time and pass at once. Pass as an individual, not as a group.
16. Passing: when completing a pass, if there’s not room to re-merge into the right lane, move to the front of the convoy. The route is well marked, and there will be plenty of opportunity for the lead car to move back into position.
17. Rain: in event of rain, some drivers will choose to “run through it”, while others will want to stop and put their hoods up. This is one of the most dangerous instances you will encounter, especially if visibility is poor. If you choose to pull over, signal long in advance of your pull onto the shoulder, and try not to stop abruptly in case the person behind you has the same idea. Better yet, utilize an exit ramp. If the lead car judges rain to be heavy, he will attempt to find an exit ramp before resorting to the shoulder.
18. If the group leader misses a turn, do not “knee jerk”. Announce the error on the radio and proceed cautiously to a place where the convoy can safely turn around.
19. Use common sense. Drive as though you are an individual following a planned route and map, rather than a participant of a group. Please take a few minutes to review our itinerary before the trip, and locate the roads on your map or atlas. Our objective is first and foremost a safe and pleasant drive; traveling/arriving together, while nice, is secondary.
[Written by Dick Koebbe and edited by Chris Cane]
Last modified Feb 25, 2008