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View Poll Results: So my question is, to help, or not to help.
Stand by your rig and watch with an evil eye, or laughing 2 7.14%
Let them get mad at themselves and the back-up person (May cause domestic dispute) 3 10.71%
Stop them and offer to drive the new vehicle 14 50.00%
DMV require a driving test to tow a trailer just like a commercial license 9 32.14%
Voters: 28. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-23-2006, 08:46 AM   #1
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So being at a camping spot for an entire month, you get to see some amazing situations when people pull in for camp. Not all people can back up a trailer, which is understandable. I have seen motorhomes park at angles in there site then can't get out when other campers park on each side. People that have backed into other RVers. Most recently, a new 5th wheel travel trailer with a new Tow Vehicle. The guy took, no kidding, 30 - 45 min to back up about 100 feet. Mostly straight. He was looking over his shoulder out the rear window most of the time. His wife (I assume) was watching one side as the other side came about a foot away from hitting my truck before I ran out. You could tell he was already steaming hot!!!
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Old 09-23-2006, 08:46 AM   #2
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So being at a camping spot for an entire month, you get to see some amazing situations when people pull in for camp. Not all people can back up a trailer, which is understandable. I have seen motorhomes park at angles in there site then can't get out when other campers park on each side. People that have backed into other RVers. Most recently, a new 5th wheel travel trailer with a new Tow Vehicle. The guy took, no kidding, 30 - 45 min to back up about 100 feet. Mostly straight. He was looking over his shoulder out the rear window most of the time. His wife (I assume) was watching one side as the other side came about a foot away from hitting my truck before I ran out. You could tell he was already steaming hot!!!
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Old 09-23-2006, 11:00 AM   #3
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I have offered to help..... however when I do it will most likley be a young couple... first time trying out the new toy.... In most cases I offer friendly advise and guidance, then once their done I'll throw a Beer, or Soda thier way. Best single peice of advise I usually give them (when they have 4X4 is to have them put thier vehicle in low range.... this will help slow down..any mistakes they are making and usually give them time to correct with out gettng toooooo bent. :-D
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Old 09-23-2006, 05:14 PM   #4
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None of your choices. I offer to lend my frs radios and explain how useful they are in these situations-and why they're called marriage savers.
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Old 09-23-2006, 06:46 PM   #5
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In fact, they did have radios. I don't think she let off of the transmit key. I just don't think he could back a trailer up. It was a straight shot, and he could not keep it straight. He had to keep pulling forward to straighten up, but would just jack knife again. I think practicing in a parking lot with cones and someone that knew how to back would help. Again, he was looking out his rear window, not his mirrors. Never had a good hand placement on the wheel.
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Old 09-23-2006, 10:59 PM   #6
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Offering to drive the vehicle should be the last thing to do - it would just make the situation worse. I would offer guidence on backing techniques. I recently watched a poor guy trying to back his pop-up into an easy site. However he had four people(women) trying to direct him and it was getting dark. None of the backers had flashlights and were stationed where they could not be seen. They were also all talking at the same time. To his credit, the guy ignored them all and put in the hole on the third stab - he also had problems with the single axle pup wanting to drift to one side or another. I was walking two dogs and could only watch as I went by. My wife and I have a good system worked out, on easy sites she waits until I have the TT on track and then gets out for fine adjustments and final back position.

On hard sites we park and both get out of the rig to look over the site. This summer it took me several attempts to get into a right angle site that had trees on both sides and rigs in the sites all around. After a couple of trys, my wife finally figured out how I had to move to get it in - the next attempt worked great. We also have a tight back at home and she is able to get me in first time most of the time.
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Old 09-24-2006, 07:20 AM   #7
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If they can't back it up, maybe they shouldn't be driving...at all. Go practice..a lot, in the far corner of a shopping center, bring cones or chairs or something to outline where you want to park it. I'm all in favour of having to take a driver test, along with a senility test.
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Old 09-24-2006, 07:35 AM   #8
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I agree that having a "system" and being on the same page as the backer makes a big difference. I usually try to get out and see the whold picture, even if it only takes a couple second. I also have a length of yellow rope. If the spot does not have a line, I sometimes put that out to back on, just like a truckers dock. I can usually hit it in one shot, maybe two to get the poor turning radius of my Ford back on track.

We also have a hard park at home. A sharp turn to hit the driveway and go up the property line. Then another sharp turn thru the fence to park along the house. Took several tries the first few time, but can now get it in one or two shots. And when we pull out, I often have to back down the street a whole block because of parked cars.

Having a back-up person, even on easy parking spots, should be utilized. I admit I don't all the time, but even just to make sure that kids or dogs don't get behind you when you can't see. My wife used to have to use the radio when getting me in the back yard, but for the most part now it is just to make sure the kids and dogs stay out of the way. My daughter now stands back there, motioning her arms "Come back Daddy, come back!" It's cute, but she is 3. Doesn't know when to get out of the way.
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Old 09-25-2006, 05:55 AM   #9
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i never offer to drive their vehicle. instead i offer sound advice and let them back it up and insist on the driver watch me not everyone else.
this summer we had an elderly couple on their way back from florida to Michagin or wis. anyway the trailer tires were loose and smoking, the 1/2 truck was over worked, they both were very tired. i guided him into spot, after he ran over a picnic table and a small tree, and then helped fix the tires, lugnuts were finger loose .
it was very late the manger was with me and he said to pay in the morning it was after 1100 PM, so the next morning bright and early they split and never paid, but at least i know ther tires were torqued.
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Old 09-25-2006, 10:20 AM   #10
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Well, being fairly new at this game. My $.02 is this...offer advice and assistance. Driving X number of hours in X type of weather and getting to a cg (generally) behind schedule and dealing w/ the little heads fighting in the back seat then trying to have the wife relay helpful instructions can be very stressful. On two occasions when I was ready to blow a gasket, all the fellow camper had did to assist was shine a light at the back corner of the 5'r. That was it, no talking just shed some useful light. (Need to rig up backup lights or rear courtesy light on the 5'r I guess...)

I need to train my son to assist with that job. I hate, I mean hate, did I say I hate? arriving at a new cg in the dark around 10 at night. That just gets under my skin something fierce.
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Old 09-26-2006, 10:19 AM   #11
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Helping out others when I can is one of many things that camping is all about. This summer we pulled into a camping site in Manitoba. Just got the trailer all unhooked & a ladiy came over from the next campsite to see if we had a pump to help her & husband pump up their air mattress. Their pump had quit. My pump would not fit their system so I had a spare Air Mattress with a built in pump & loaned it to them for the weekend. they thought that was amazing. The day they were packing up they discovered they had left their cooler on in the car & battery was dead. hooked up my charger & sat & had a coffee with them & talked aboiut camping & life in general & in less then an hour had the car started.
Helping is so easy to do. It is too bad there are a large number of people out there you cannot trust & take advantage of people who do want to help out. Will keep on helping when I can & just trust I can handle anyone who trys to take advantage of me.

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Old 09-26-2006, 07:26 PM   #12
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I'm with Powrboater - I'd offer to help, but wouldn't offer to drive. The only way to learn is to do. I'm much better off when a kindly offer is made to show me how to do something easier. I do offer a helping hand when it looks like one is needed.

That said, I always have my 15 year old help me park in the tight spaces. He's much more precise in giving instructions. My wife does OK, but she reminds me of the story I once heard:

"A woman is helping her husband back their trailer into a space. She keeps directing him back, back, back, and then Stop! OK, now two feet to the left".

I love her, but she's #2 for directions!

Juan
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Old 10-13-2006, 10:56 AM   #13
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I've watched all these scenarios. Seen couples end up screaming at each other, both face to face and on their two way radios.

If I see someone is having problems, I offer help. Either as a spotter or by giving them some simple backing instruction. I've noticed that the inexperienced drivers tend to switch between the outside mirrors, the rear view mirror and even by looking out their rear window. That one gets me, if towing a TT or 5VR as what are they gonna see? Probably just the logo.

I'll offer to drive as well, but I want the owner to be in the passenger seat with me and only with their permission. That way they can watch what I am doing, ask questions and get some eyeball practical instruction. Once the rig is set by me, I'll pull out and have them do it with me in the passenger seat. I'll have wife@home.com get with the spotter, too, so the distaff side of this equation gets the same kind of practical experience.

If they refuse, I simply go back to my campsite and watch. They usually refuse if they are mad enough so I don't wait too long.

I find myself having to leave at some point so they don't see me rolling on the ground, laughing my butt off.

And why, you ask, do I offer to help? When I was a newbie to the RV world, a fella helped me back my TT into a tight spot right after I got it. He was kind, patient and willing to spend the time.

My take? Offer if you can, help when you can and leave them along if they don't want the help. Just don't laugh too loud.

There's another approach. Set up all your camping chairs and invite other campers over to sit and watch the show. Have them clap, groan or cheer as appropriate. Now, that's fun!
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Old 11-02-2006, 10:00 AM   #14
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There is almost no better entertainment on the planet beyond watching a couple just about wind up in divorce over backing a camper into place. Well, maybe watching them back a brand new one into a tree. Yea, it's harsh words, but I believe if someone is going to drop any amount of $$$ into any sort of a rig, they should not skimp on learning how to drive it. That means forward and reverse. I have never heard of a place that teaches how to drive a trailer, maybe it'll be a hit once someone does open such a place.

I have watched many a neighbor during this feat. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be tough. Maybe it would be the couple we watched in Livingston Texas. They looked like the just won the lottery and had brand new everything. They worked for two hours maybe to get into thier spot and got all leveld up and all hooked up. THEN pushed out the slide and realized they had parked it about 4 inches away from a tree, on the slide side, naturally, so they spent another two hours parking it again.

I would never offer to drive anyones truck to park thier rig. I might park it with mine, but so far, all I have done, when it looks like they will never do this on thier own, is asked first if they needed a hand, and then stood beside the drivers door, told them not to look at anything and just listen, and direceted them right on in the first time by telling them when and what direction to turn.

I've been driving/backing trailers for well over 20 years, so I get comments all the time about how easy I make it look, but there was a day when I backed like them. I had the opertunity to learn from an old timer and alot of folks don't have that today. But they can take a Saturday, find an empty parking lot, and learn how to do so. It's good practice on how to communicate with the spouse/backer-inner.
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