How To Drive In A Convoy
A convoy is a group of vehicles or ships that are travelling together usually for mutual support and protection. Driving in a convoy is dangerous, especially at a high speed.
Convoy driving is a specialized field. Sadly, most convoy drivers are not trained but converted to the role.
In order to ensure the safety of a convoy driver and other road users, there are rules on how to operate within a convoy.
In Nigeria, convoys come in different categories: Government entourage, military procession, ambulance, Bank bullion vans, funeral processions, etc.
In this article, we have highlighted below some points that should be adhered to ensure safety when driving in a convoy.
Have Sufficient Fuel In Your Tank
Make sure you have enough fuel in your tank before the trip. There may be no petrol station on the convoy routes.
Check your car prior to the convoy
Before the trip in the convoy, inspect your car. Ensure all fluids; tyre pressure, etc., are in good condition.
Arrive at the starting point on time
Arrive at the starting point in plenty of time for the briefing on the route and destination of the trip. It also helps your composure before the trip.
Allow only vehicles that are in good conditions
All vehicle in the convoy must be in high operational performance. Also, it helps to have maintenance personnel in the convoy.
Don’t follow too close. Keeping good distances is necessary for safety. If the convoy is travelling slowly, i.e. less than 40km/h, bumper to bumper is not an issue, but do not tailgate the car in front at high speed. Your braking reaction plus your braking distance would increase. Keep a safe distance away!
Turn on your light
If the trip is during the daytime, turn on your small lights and your fog lights. If it’s during nighttime, turn on your headlights and your fog lights. This is how the rest of the world knows what is going on. When your lights are on, it enables you to see your fellow convoy members and know who is with you. If someone pulls off the road in trouble they are easier to identify in the rearview mirror.
If the journey is an out of town trip, or a long-distance one, it is wise to bring food and drink. Other drivers might not agree to stop for you to get some refreshments.
Do not drive against traffic
It is dangerous for the convoy to face opposing traffic even in a congested traffic situation.
Keep within a single file
Ridding in convoy should be in a single file. Taking more lanes can pose a danger to other road users.
Allow other traffic to intermingle
Be a friendly convoy. Instinctively, people in a convoy don’t want to allow other cars to merge into the line. You must allow other drivers to move in and out of your convoy. Other drivers usually are intimidated or in awe of the spectacle and need to be given extra consideration. Be patient in letting them find their place and overtake them only if necessary.
Use your hazard warning lights
During a convoy trip, especially at high speed in a busy area, always use your hazard light. This is necessary to warn other motorists of potential danger.
Mind how you overtake
If you have to overtake, do so only when it legal and safe to do so. Avoid overtaking on double white Lines, on bends or at any place where the way ahead is not clear. If a member of the convoy or other motorists wants to overtake you, please let them; Don’t close up the gap to the car in front of you and force the overtaking car into a dangerous manoeuvre.
The lead car should keep speed reasonable
The lead car should not succumb to the pressure to over speed. This is hard as it is all too easy to let the speed creep up. When you have a diverse group of drivers and car capability. There will be people who think it is too slow and others who say you are going too fast. Try to stay with the flow of other traffic. This reduces the need for constant lane changes and passing, making the drive safer for the group.
Keep the vehicle ahead of you insight
Make sure you do not lose sight of the vehicle in front of you. Keep your speed as even as possible and follow the convoy.
Drive within the Speed limit
The common trend among convoy is the penchant for excessive speed, recklessness and driving against the flow of traffic. The speed of the convoy is important. If all the cars went real slow, this stretching and shrinking might not be too bad. If they went really fast, things might get out of hand.
Lead driver Determine the pace
The role of the lead driver is very important. They determine the tempo of the journey. However, their pace should be determined by road conditions, traffic lights, stop signs, and other traffic to worry about. Therefore, the first car should adjust speed according to what’s going on.
Be alert at busy areas
Be attentive and alert at all times – especially at business areas or intersections. In busy towns, slow down, close up the convoy to reduce the space and enable other road users to get through.
Keep a torch, towrope
When going on a convoy, especially on a long-distance trip, have a touch, a towrope, spade, etc. in your vehicle. They might just come in handy during the trip.