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Why Do Some RVers Use Traffic Cones When Backing into a Campsite?

Why Do Some RVers Use Traffic Cones When Backing into a Campsite?

Why Do Some RVers Use Traffic Cones When Backing into a Campsite?

Traffic cones are almost evil in the eyes of RVers sometimes. When traveling down the interstate at 60 mph, you don’t want to see traffic cones in the distance.

The narrow lanes and construction workers make driving an RV more nerve-wracking than it already is.

But what about at campsites? Have you ever seen someone set out traffic cones and then back into a campsite?

Why would anyone do this?

Let’s take a closer look at how traffic cones aid RVers upon reaching a new campsite.

Why Do RVers Use Traffic Cones at Their Campsites?

Some RVers use traffic cones to help them back up into a campsite. If it’s a pull-through site, then RVers won’t need traffic cones for help. But when a driver can’t see directly behind them, traffic cones are a big help.

You might see an RVer get out and put a traffic cone on either side of the campsite.

This helps the driver see exactly where to back in to get into the site easily and quickly. Sometimes this helps avoid pulling forward and then going backward and then pulling forward again.

When the driver can easily see the traffic cones, backing into a campsite takes less effort.

Man yelling into traffic cone like megaphone
Traffic cones help RV drivers see exactly where to back their RV into.

Do You Still Need a Spotter When Using Cones?

If possible, you always need a spotter. Even if you have a backup camera on the back of your RV, you want the safety net of a spotter looking out for you. Spotters can see things all around.

Backup cameras can’t. When you use traffic cones, this is merely to guide you into the campsite space.

Traffic cones don’t tell you if a large tree branch is in the way or if you’re getting close to the back edge of a site. A spotter looks 360 degrees to make sure the driver is safely backing into a campsite. Traffic cones can’t replace that kind of view.

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RV parked at campsite.
Make campsite parking easier with traffic cones.

Are There Any Disadvantages to Using Traffic Cones While Backing Up?

The biggest disadvantage is relying too much on the traffic cones. If you think merely setting up traffic cones on both sides of your site is enough, you’re mistaken. As mentioned before, you want a spotter if at all possible. Don’t replace your spotter with orange cones.

Another disadvantage to using traffic cones is you may pay more attention to the cones and not enough attention to your spotter. Perhaps you’re backing up, squeezing your 42-foot fifth wheel into a small state park space, and you’re so focused on staying in between the orange cones that you miss your spotter yelling at you to stop because a tree limb is hanging down too low.

A low-lying tree limb can damage the roof of your RV. So paying more attention to the location of the traffic cones instead of listening to your spotter can get you in trouble.

Pro Tip: When on the road, make sure to Avoid These Driving Obstacles At All Costs!

Will Other Campers Judge You for Using Cones to Back Up?

Who knows? Campers judge other campers for all kinds of things — music playing too loudly, kids running around obnoxiously, the color of the outdoor mat. Other campers may judge you for using traffic cones.

But if it helps you do your job easily and efficiently, then ignore the rolling eyes or critical stares. Just wave and smile and be thankful that it only took you one try to back into that tight spot.

Is Bringing Traffic Cones to Your Campsite Worth It?

If backing into a campsite is difficult for you or if it brings you concern and frustration, bringing traffic cones with you is a great idea. Newbie RVers might gain confidence in their driving skills by using traffic cones a few times.

Some seasoned RVers always use traffic cones. So regardless of your expertise in driving an RV, traffic cones aren’t a bad idea.

If you don’t travel with a spotter, packing traffic cones every time you head out on a camping trip is a good idea. When you don’t have that extra set of eyes to see both sides and the back of the RV, having something else to aid you as you back into campsites is critical. And even with a spotter, cones can be a little extra insurance.

They can provide a guide for you for the sides of your RV.

They aren’t that expensive, so consider picking up some traffic cones the next time you’re at Walmart or browsing Amazon. Do you think they would be helpful for you?

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Tom Drennan

Saturday 6th of November 2021

As a solo motorhome RVer, I find cones very helpful when entering a back-in site. They're additional aids to my mirrors and the rear view camera. The act of getting out of the driver's seat to place cones is part of my arrival procedure. It provides the opportunity for a good look around the site for low and overhead items such as rocks, campsite marker posts, overhead low branches, the location of services and the optimal placement of my 34 ft long motorhome, considering the view, picnic table and firepit locations and room for the slide outs and awnings. I learned this through experience, ie, making mistakes. Well meaning folk often will offer to assist, and though that is often helpful, I know that the ultimate responsibility is mine.

Don

Saturday 6th of November 2021

Just place one cone a foot or so from where you want your right side to lineup and the spot where you want your rear to stop. When backing up keep that cone in your right rear view mirror, when you see you’ve touched it with your back your done!

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