The Campground Wave – Do it for Safety!

Walking in an RV Campground Can Be Dangerous

There are a lot of things a camping family can do to make sure their stay in a campground is a fun and safe experience and one of them is the traffic.

But many people new to camping and campground traffic don’t realize why and how the streets inside the campground itself can be dangerous to them. Whether they walk or ride their bicycle around to use the available facilities and amenities they need to stay alert.

But the typically campground narrow streets and a lack of sidewalks can put often you into a dangerous situation as you move around in the campground.

A Close Call in a Campground

Here’s what happened to me recently while camping. We were staying in a great campground near Sarasota Florida and I was almost hit by a motorhome as I walked from my RV up to the area of the campground’s outdoor swimming pool.

Luckily for me, at the last minute the RV driver saw me and slammed on his brakes, while at the same time, I jumped to the left and into the yard of one of the Park Model homes next to me.

Looking back, I’m not sure I’ve ever jumped so far or so quickly in my life. But people say fear can make a person do strange things and my Olympian leap was impressive.

Anyway, the driver of the motorhome did stop, leaving his RV parked in the middle of the road and came out to check if I was OK.

At the time, as he walked up to me, I was really mad and ready to chew this “idiot” out.

But, as he walked towards me, I saw the worried look in his eyes and before I could say anything stupid myself, he started apologizing to me.

He was talking so fast that I couldn’t get a word in anyway, so I just let him talk for a few minutes. First, he apologized to me over and over, explaining in the process that he had been on the road for over six hours, and was really tired.

Then he went on to tell me that he had never been to this particular campground before and had just glanced at the campground map to find his assigned campsite before heading there for what he called a “well earned rest”.

A Typical Motorhome Campsite

My campsite in Fort Myers campground
My campsite in Fort Myers campground 

Use The Campground Wave

But after another minute or so of his apologies, I interrupted him to have my say.

You see I had waved at him as he approached me, but he hadn’t waved back to me, which immediately set off alarms in my head.

But, I had settled down and I asked him if he was aware of what we campers call “The Campground Wave”.

His befuddled look told me he had not, so I went into my explanation of this common campground safety courtesy that nearly all campers use as they are moving around in a campground.

If you’re a camper, even an occasional one, I’m sure you’ve noticed that as you walk or drive around a campground, everyone seems so friendly and you will particularly notice that they are always waving at you as you approach each other.

You’ll also notice this phenomenon occurring regardless of the means of transportation you and your fellow campers are using, whether they’re walking, jogging, riding on a bicycle, driving a golf cart, automobile or a motorhome, they all wave at you.

And you’ll probably think to yourself, as you return their wave; Wow! What a bunch of friendly people!

Well sure, I have found that most campers really are a friendly bunch anyway; but, being friendly isn’t the only reason for all of those waves.

The Safety Reasoning for the Campground Wave

So, let me explain the reasoning for the Wave.

First of all, as a camper you will have noticed that most campground streets are relatively narrow, and often are barely wide enough for one-way traffic, much less two-way.

And often, if there is a two-way street or two in a campground, these lanes are usually just wide enough for two vehicles to pass each other.

You see, campgrounds are private property and they are typically not required to design their streets to any governmental standards.

In fact, the number one priority of a campground’s designer is usually to get as many money-making campsites as possible into the acreage they are working with, and not to waste precious land providing wide spacious streets for the campers to use.

Because of the resultant traffic limitations you should always remember that the original design of the campsites in the campground was the most important consideration, the streets are not always going to be as pedestrian friendly as they could be.

Secondly, you will notice that there’s always a scarcity of sidewalks in the campground. The vast majority of campgrounds do not have many (or often any) sidewalks because sidewalks are a waste of land and money.

So normally you and your fellow campers will get around in the campground  by walking or riding your bikes in the streets, often dodging traffic.

Because of this, the careful and concerned camper, whether they are entering or leaving a campground in a vehicle or even in their big motorhome, should always drive very slowly and be constantly looking out for all of the campers who are walking around on the campground’s narrow and often poorly lit streets.

At the same time, all of these campers who are forced to be pedestrians should take certain precautions to make sure they are visible to all of those motorhomes, trucks and even golf carts that are moving towards them.

First of all follow standard rules such as;

  • Always Walk facing oncoming traffic.
  • Ride your Bike with the traffic flow.
  • Drive your vehicle or RV at or below the posted campground speed limit.
  • At night ALWAYS carry a flashlight and wear reflective clothing when possible.


Over the years, experienced campers have developed a system to communicate with each other while on a campground’s streets.

This system is actually very simple.

Regardless of whether you are a driver or a pedestrian, when you see someone approaching you, you lift your arm and wave at whoever is approaching you.

You’re not just saying Hello with that wave. What you are saying with that wave is; Hey! Here I am! Do you see me?

And then you watch the other approaching person for a response which should be a wave from them, which implies; Hey! Yes, I see you and I will avoid you.

Amazing as it may be, this simple system of waving to each other can be a real life saver.

by Don Bobbitt, All Rights Reserved

Copyright, Don Bobbitt, March, 2018

You are free to enjoy and share this article with your friends. But, if you wish to use it commercially then you must have the permission of the author beforehand, in writing.


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