I got this from NYC maximas. I read the whole thing and found it useful.
packetattack wrote this fyi. Thanks guys and I hope you read.
We have a lot of people coming to the meet that have never driven in a caravan or led one before. I wanted to post the guide that I wrote that has been used for countless in and out state caravans. Being led in an NYCMaximas caravan should be a highly disclipined and organized affair, not one filled with wackos swerving all over the highway attracting tickets.
Please take the time to read this properly. There is a lot of good info here for your benefit. Thank you.
HELPFUL TIPS & TRICKS ON LEADING A CARAVAN
1. Ensure that you have complete maps and turn-by-turn directions duplex printed and stapled/collated correctly (So if people are following them, the maps and directions can be seen as one on two split pages). Directions should include routes TO and FROM your destination. The FROM directions should be a route back to your caravan spot. Some people that early often welcome these directions, for they were able to find their way back with no problem. Sometimes due to inclement weather on numerous caravans back home, some people can get separated however they can all find their way back, because of the pre-printed maps + directions.
2. Ensure that you (the caravan leader) has every single person's cell phone number in the caravan printed on paper. Have their ORG name, real name and cell phone number, line by line in alphabetical order. If anyone refuses to disseminate their cell phone number, they have sent a message to you that they don't care to be contacted if they get lost. This usually happens at rest stops, when I count the cars and one is missing, usually its the guy who no one has contact info for. This happens because no contact info usually equals them being out of the communication chain on what's happening and all it takes is for them to get delayed at a bridge toll or light and they're lost. Duplicate this sheet, attach it to a clipboard and on the morning of the meet distribute it to all drivers to cross off their names. People that aren't on your list can ink in their names and cell phone number. You now have a manifest log of drivers, so you know exactly how many cars are there and who showed up. This list becomes the property of the caravan leader for the duration of the trip. The copies that were printed the day before, take those and distribute it to your wing drivers. Its the caravan leader's responsibility to know who's coming to follow their guidance. Distribute the contact list further to individual drivers that show interest in wanting it. Having more folks in the communication chain is a
Sometimes people's cars will break down on the way or take a flat. If they have contact info, they can take their time fixing their vehicle, and call ahead later on for guidance or members can come to their assistance. Quite a few caravan I've led, I've had members with flat tires, broken hub assemblies, brake problems etc. but they were all able to get in touch with me or someone else in the caravan to alert me.
3. Ensure that there are two backup leaders. On the day of my meets when I'm leading, my plans were always to elect either ChinoX or AllMaxxed as leaders if I couldn't make it, via cell phone calls and printed directions, including a "fingerwalk" of the maps. Sometimes people get sick and can't make it. If your caravan leader can't make it, you definitely don't want 20 angry drivers trying to find their own way.
4. You now have a caravan leader and two backup leaders. Elect "wing" drivers. Purpose of the wing driver is to have everyone's contact info, to keep the caravan line paced correctly, and to ALWAYS signal to help to "sweep" the caravan from lane to lane. Equip your "wing" drivers with two way radios as well. They are your eyes into the middle and end of the caravan. The caravan leaving from NY to CT had three wing drivers, stacked front, middle, rear. Its good to find out a few days ahead of time, which drivers have NAVI equipped vehicles. Make sure they have the address of your destination in their NAVI. Elect these folks as your "wing" drivers and "stack" them accordingly in your caravan. In the event your caravan gets massively separated, your elected "wing drivers" now become sub caravan leaders, leading their own groups to the meet. Ensure that all caravan leaders know all the rest stops you are making for gas, food, and the rendezvous points for other caravans.
-->Ratio is 1 wing driver per 10 cars on a sliding scale. If you have thirty cars, then three wing drivers. During our caravan to CT, my "wing" driver in the rear signalled me via radio to indicate that they were caught up behind on the Throgs neck bridge, about 3/4' of a mile out. This allowed us to pull onto the service lane of I-95 and wait for them. Without that, they would have gotten separated and we would have had to stop later on.
5. Driver discipline and behavior. Have a quick "drivers" meeting before the meet. Explain that you'll be going approximately 7-10 mph over the speed limit, and a little more depending on how the traffic flows. You want to drive "with" the traffic, not "against" it. Explain that folks who go past the caravan leader have elected to send a message that "they want to be on their own." The caravan leader should NEVER EVER speed up to catch cars that have elected to go ahead, as that is their prerogative. It is accepted that folks will break away on their own from time to time to obtain photo shots or capture video. That's fine.
Its advisable that all cars in the caravan drive with their hazard lights on. This helps other cars in the caravan find other members easier on a highway if backed up behind cars entering the highway.
The caravan leader ALWAYS sets the pace and should do so at a responsible limit of speed that is below the threshold of a smoky sitting on the side of a road spraying radar. If traffic on the LIE is moving at 70 mph, the caravan leader should run at 70-72, but never 75 or even 80.
Driving in multiple lanes at the same time, although not advised is also acceptable, providing that once the caravan leader moves back to the center lane with thier hazards on, this indicates that an exit might be coming up and reformation of single line is necessary again. Drivers do sometimes get tired of looking at the same car for the duration of the trip and may want to move around a bit, albeit NOT ahead of the LEADER
though. That is understandable.
I have found the best lane for caravans is the middle lane as it allow ample opportunity to exit the highway on either side, if you're dealing with left/right exits. Driving in the left lane can also be done if the caravan leader is responsible enought to set a speed that does not impede passing traffic.
The caravan leader is responsible for leading the folks behind them to their destination at a safe speed relative to other traffic. The moment the caravan leader starts getting into higher speeds, the other drivers have no choice but to follow, and that is when things start getting dangerous and reckless.
I've seen countless posts here about people getting tickets in caravans. I've read the way those were pulled off. Those aren't caravans, those are shit storms.
It just doesn't happen in my caravan, out of 600 cars I've led over the past 3 years, not one has gotten a speeding ticket from using my system.
Explain that if you (caravan leader) signal, that the wing driver behind him needs to immediately signal, along with all the other cars in the formation. Helps to keep drivers behind you informed.
Distribute the contact info sheets and maps at this point. Have a radio check, ensure everyone's cell phone is on and has adequare battery power. The little things always come back to bite you in the butt if you don't think about them.
6. If you are meeting other caravans, have all of their contact info as well. As an example, the week before the 2005 CT meet, I swapped all of my call list info with the CT leader Paul. In turn he sent he his call list(s) as well. I was in constant communication with Paul during the journey up there issuing him exit #s that we were passing including projected ETAs based on traffic flow and current speed. Because our caravan had left NY a little behind schedule due to waiting for some latecomers, it was imperative that Paul periodically know our status. This allowed him to communicate with the crew he had waiting at Milford. I am always respectful of people's time, especially when they are waiting out in the cold for a caravan to arrive. Its a good idea to call the destination caravan leader every 20-25 mins (depending on the trip distance) to issue a status. Because Paul had the exact same call list I was using, he could contact any member in my caravan in an instant, in the event I hit a dead cell spot or my batteries failed. Again, the beauty of proper planning and being prepared.
As people can see, there is immense planning in pulling a caravan off in a professional and dignified manner. Its just not a bunch of guys meeting up at a lot and pulling off. If you have 5-10 cars you can possibly get away with that, however you're just leaving yourself exposed to more variables. The more information that is disseminated to drivers ahead of time, including proper planning will make it that much more enjoyable of a drive.
I hope my guide can be of use to all the caravans coming to the Nov 11th. meet and has opened some eyes as to how things SHOULD be done when cruising with us.
N.B. The one thing that I did fail with in the last
caravan were the two way radios. The batteries were
brand new, however the Uniden's just sucked massive
power, so most people lost radio contact after about
an hour. However, and here is the beauty of being
prepared. Our fallback plan was to go to cell phones
and two way Nextels. When you're prepared and have
fallback plans, everything becomes sooo much less
Also I know one time we all had papers with .org names, real names, and contact numbers. I would like to do this again. I think 03on18s did this. I would but I do not have a printer. Can some do this since it seems we have a big caravan coming up? Thanks.
I'll do it, I'll make a list of the numbers I have already.
But really a good post by packetattack, I saw it on NYC earlier tonight.