hand signals

Submitted: Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 12:17
ThreadID: 57625 Views:3094 Replies:14 FollowUps:4
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Hi All,

Only 4 days until we leave and had a small hick up.
SWMBO was giving me hand signals to reverse the car to the camper, now what she was signing I have no idea.

Is there any formal or recognised hand signals or any thing that works well for anyone here?

Thanks - GC
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Reply By: Tony - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 12:36

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 12:36
No, but the small UHF radios work well for us.
AnswerID: 303910

Reply By: Member - nrb1748 (VIC) - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 12:55

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 12:55
Ours are all done with simple hands signals. SWMBO to face me and simply wave backwards for reverse, point in the direction the vehicle needs to go, indicate with the hands the distance to go when I am getting close to the hitch, and a simple hands up for stop. There is no voice communications (read - yelling or screaming)!!

The important part is to indicate to me which way the vehicle needs to go - i.e. point to the left (as opposed to indicating I am too far to the right). Also a regular reminder to stand where I can see her particularly in the mirrors.

I reckon watching the 'domestics' when caravans are being reversed into sites is good entertainment!!!

Enjoy your trip GC.

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AnswerID: 303912

Follow Up By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 13:51

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 13:51
Spot on! That's exactly what we do, and it works a treat. Mind you we did have a few blues to start with, but that was my fault because I should have taken the time to teach SWMBI the signals I wanted her to use, rather than have her try & read my mind in the first place whilst actually doing it.
Word of warning. Make sure your partner keeps their hands clear of the coupling area until such time as the vehicle is stationary & that the driver gives the OK to couple up. Just a safety thing with us.
We sometimes use hand held radios to help with reversing the van on to a site & they are great. Cheers.
FollowupID: 570023

Follow Up By: LGen1 - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 23:54

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 23:54
Yep been doing it this way for years.
Usually get it first time
FollowupID: 570134

Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 13:01

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 13:01
Tried training mine to no avail - she can't give signals but seems to understand mine. Biggest problem was anticipation it was either full lock or nothing.

We now have it down pat - even use the universal rubbing the thumb with the pointing finger for go slowly

Also what is helpful is showing the distance to go using both hands so that the driver knows how close they are.

Lots of luck and I'm sure there will be some entertaining moments for others in the camp.

Kind regards
AnswerID: 303914

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 13:05

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 13:05
You can "trust" a female to give you accurate directions, or do what I did.
I solved my problem by mounting the reversing camera so I can view the coupling.

Sorry girls:-)


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AnswerID: 303915

Reply By: Bap - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 14:06

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 14:06
Or maybe you can teach your wife to reverse the car and you can signal, then you will both understand what each other goes through? Just a female's perspective!
AnswerID: 303921

Reply By: Gronk - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 14:21

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 14:21
Reversing camera....then all she has to do is wind the jockey wheel up or down to get the tregg to meet up.....can get it to within 5mm.......better than the 200mm when she was giving directions..
AnswerID: 303922

Reply By: Motherhen - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 15:10

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 15:10
Yep, the Old Rooster is rude about my hand signals too - although pointing in the required direction, and indicating distant to go with both hands should be universally understood even by a male.

With the Nissan, he could do it himself (and with the AT35, and a fixed jack not a jockey wheel on the caravan, backing needs to be accurate and height is critical) and said it was easier than following my hand signals. We did have a camera in the back of the Nissan (the rear view camera for the caravan came with a twin) but we never used it. He just opened the back doors and could get a fair idea of how he was going.

Now we have the F250 and added length to get used to, he tends to swing a bit more than the few mms i am indicating, so prefers to get our daughter to signal him in than me! We do have hand held UHFs but have not used them for this. Can't take daughter on the trip though, as she will be at home looking after the sheep.


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AnswerID: 303932

Reply By: Splits - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 15:33

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 15:33
I used a system in the Army years ago that worked well. The person directing would stand out in front of the truck/Land Rover/tank etc in a position where the driver could easily see him and a pace or two either side would enable him to look along both sides.

To start the vehicle moving you would hold up both hands about a foot apart and simply wave the truck back. If you wanted it to turn to YOUR left, not his left, for example you held your left arm outstretched and horizontal to the ground. The driver would keep reversing but would keep turning the steering wheel down towards your arm. When he had turned far enough you would drop your arm and he would hold the wheel steady while still reversing and would not move it either way until he received another signal from you. You would continue waving him back until you wanted him to move the wheel again. You then held out whichever arm was necessary and he would once again turn the wheel towards your arm and hold it steady when you dropped it.

If he was not turning the wheel fast enough, you would shake your outstretched arm a little. If you wanted a slight adjustment, you would just punch your arm out and back down again quickly.

To stop you just held up the palms of your hands.

Not a word was spoken while doing this and you could back anything accurately into tight spaces very easily.

It should not be very hard to workout how to apply this method to reversing a car up to a trailer. A simple thing like a piece of rag on the exact spot where you want a rear wheel to be would be all you need to guide the car into the correct position while standing out the front where the driver can see you.


AnswerID: 303935

Reply By: Wizard1 - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 15:36

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 15:36
The best solution is learn to do it without any guide at all. Saves on a lot of arguements and stress with the spouse.

AnswerID: 303938

Follow Up By: Shaker - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 23:10

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 23:10
Hear hear!
FollowupID: 570127

Reply By: Member - res.q.guy (VIC) - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 16:49

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 16:49
A revering camera is one of the best items I ever bought, can place tow ball directly under coupling ........ fantastic !!!!
AnswerID: 303954

Reply By: Nickywoop - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 18:15

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 18:15
Good evening all

Just reading through all the replies to the above question and I can't help but ask, "How would you all go hooking up a second trailer to a "B" Double in the dark by yourself ?".

Just a thought!

Regards Nick
AnswerID: 303971

Follow Up By: Muddy doe (SA) - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 19:23

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 19:23
Yep, totally agree.

Very preferable to be able to hitch up with no guide. Takes a bit longer and might be in and out the cab a couple of times but practice makes perfect.

When the other half is actually there then it just makes it that bit easier and quicker. Keep the signals to a minimum. Left, Right, Back, Slow. Have it all worked out in advance what the signs are.

If your partner is spatially challenged (male OR female) then learn to do it alone. That way when you DO have to hook up alone and in the dark it won't be such a drama!

FollowupID: 570061

Reply By: Steve - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 18:48

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 18:48
bloody women and signals - tell me about it

I had to pull a bloke out, who'd got himself and his CT bogged, on Straddie last year. I made it clear to his wife just before I went back to my car to do the tugging: "give me a wave when he's ready". She stood right next to his driver's door.

so I jumped back in me car, looked up and there she is with her arm up, waving away. Little did I know that whilst I had my back to them (walking back to mine) he decided to jump out and start inspecting something behind his car. She was actually signalling "stop" whilst waving her arms about. Little did I know that I was attempting to pull handbraked LC100 and camper, minus driver out of a pretty deep bog. There was a bit of a jolt, I can tell yer. I wasn't pleased but was soon pacified by lashings of beer and wine that he insisted on putting in my fridge.

It does always sound like you're being a bit pedantic when trying to make things clear with strangers but Jeez.......
AnswerID: 303977

Reply By: Scrubcat - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 21:27

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 21:27
I know it`s not what you asked but it might help.
My method.
I have a small piece of elec tape (about 20mm long )stuck dead center on the rear window of the cruizer. I also have a fibre glass stick, same as on kids bikes & elec wheelchairs, set dead center over the coupling of the c/van, held with a poly garden spray fitting.( it`s a bit hard to explain that bit)
When reversing just sit in your normal position and using the internal rear view mirror line up the dot of tape on the rear window with the f/glass stick and back up until you reckon you are pretty close, get out and adjust coupling to correct height, then slowly back till you hear/feel coupling touch.
Bingo put pin in hole.
I have done this on my own probably more than 20 times since I have had this c/van with an AT35 coupling and never been much more than the pin hole diameter off line.
I travel alone mostly and have found this to be the best for me.
Hope it`s some help.
AnswerID: 304014

Reply By: Member - BIGDOG G (WA) - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 21:58

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 21:58
Yep, Gotta agree, on the odd times we stay in van parks Chookie just hops out, stands out of the way but where she can see everything and just talkes quietly in the radio...........no hand signals, no yelling and no stress.

Cheers...........Chookie and BIGDOG
AnswerID: 304022

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