Sometimes, we drive along with another family member or friend’s car in a convoy. We usually drive in a line and make sure all the cars in the convoy are in sight. This is especially true if you’re going to a place where only one of you knows the direction. They usually lead and the rest of the vehicles will follow behind. Sounds really simple right? However, here are some tips based on my experience that may help you effectively lead or join a convoy.
If you are the guide and you are at the front of the pack, the most basic rule is to drive normally with caution. Some drivers tend to slow down if they are ahead of the group. This would definitely help the car behind you follow you easily. Focus on the direction you’re going. You wouldn’t want to mislead your convoy and leave them behind.
Being in the middle seems to be a bit complicated. You have to keep the car in front of you in sight while making sure the cars that are following you are still behind you. If they are slowing down behind you, slow down a bit as well so that they can catch up. At the same time, notify the car leading you that you are waiting for the rest of the cars. Flash your headlights or blow your horns.
Being at the end of the pack is fine, you don’t have to worry about someone else following you. If you have a long convoy, it’s much easier to follow them since you most likely have several cars to look for. The only thing you could probably worry about is parking space since the cars in front of you have the advantage of looking for a space first.
If you’re in a security convoy and you’re on the lead, you need to focus 100% on the road. You need to be able to find alternate routes just in case something happens. Be ready to react immediately especially if you’re securing a passenger or an important cargo. If you’re at the end of that security convoy, sometimes it may be effective if you stay a bit far behind so that you can observe a bigger scope.
The most important thing when you’re driving in a convoy is communication. If someone in the convoy gets lost or got left behind, have your passengers contact them to guide them back to the convoy. If you are alone, signal the other cars to either slow down or pull over so that the others can catch up. If you’re on a fast moving convoy, try to give extra space between the cars. This is quite impractical especially if you’re trying to get a place where only a few of you know about. Well based on experience, fast convoys usually occur when all of you know where to go and it is usually just for fun especially if you have fast cars. But don’t get me wrong though. This is quite dangerous and is not recommended.
I remember when I was a newbie driver more than 15 years ago, I was driving behind my friend and I got too excited that I tailgated his car and when he stopped abruptly, I hit his rear bumper. The good thing was that it was our bumpers that hit and none of our lights were damaged.
As a general guideline, familiarize yourself with the vehicles in the convoy. If you have posters and banners, that would be better. Just make sure you have something to identify which cars are in the group. Use your hazard light to notify other cars that you are on a convoy. And of course, before you go, plan who will lead and who will follow. Always put safety first and make sure the group is complete.