An example of the importance of vigilance while traveling

Dear RV Shrink:rvshrink
We have had years of trouble-free travel around North America, meeting many wonderful people. However, we recently had a scare that has my wife very nervous.

We were headed for Florida on a four-lane road when I noticed a car pull up beside me and look over my rig, then drop back behind my toad. It seemed odd, but I didn’t mention it to my wife. I kept observing the vehicle in my rear camera, wondering why he didn’t pass me.

After several miles, my wife noticed a man on the overpass we were approaching. Suddenly she yelled, “He’s going to drop something on us!” I slowed but it was too late. The guy actually ran to the other side of the overpass and tossed a balloon or bucket of red slime, trying to hit our windshield. He missed and we kept driving. Shortly, the car tailing me zoomed past.

After the initial shock wore off, we put two and two together and figured they were partners in crime trying to force us to pull over and possibly rob us. We stopped later in the day and found that the red slime that splattered on the front of the motorhome washed right off. I carry a gun, but if this mixture would have hit my windshield, I would have pulled over immediately and most likely jumped out to see what happened. My gun would have been locked away in the motorhome and I would have been had.

I am trying to convince my wife that this was a rare event, that we will be more on guard, but not to let it ruin our travel pleasure. She continues to dwell on what could have happened. We would appreciate any advice on how to get over this potential dramatic event. —Shaken but not taken in Tennessee

Dear Shaken:
It happens. Not just while RVing, but anywhere. You can run but you cannot hide.

It is wise to stay vigilant while traveling. Rest areas are some of the most important places to be on your toes, but not the only place. Even many of our beautiful National Parks and their parking lots require you to be aware of your surroundings.

Moving from a tow vehicle to an RV is another time to stay alert. I wouldn’t be in a hurry to forget this episode. In fact, you should tell your story to as many people as you can. I hope you reported it to state or local police. If you are right, and these people were trying to stop you, they are likely to try again.

You will never be prepared for every scenario that some low-life can think up to take advantage of trusting people. Paying attention to what is going on around you while stopped or driving can nip a lot of trouble in the bud. Seeing that car slide in behind you caught your attention. Awareness is your first line of defense.

I’m sure in time your wife will reconcile her feelings about this scare, remembering all the wonderful moments, events and people that greatly outweigh this one apparent close-call. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

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5 Thoughts to “An example of the importance of vigilance while traveling”

  1. Travelingjw

    Barking dogs: I am a dog owner but am in complete sympathy in regard to barking dogs. With videos on our phones there are two basic options. Politely show it to the owners first, if they don’t respond, then show it to “authorities. If they are real nasty you can call local law enforcement and ask if it a disturbing the peace violation; though if it is a private RV park they probobly won’t respond. Irresponsible dog owners don’t get a free pass just because they love their dog.

  2. Bryan

    A subject normally not discussed in RV circles. Usually the conversation is all about fun, adventure, beauty, history, family and yes, campfire meals.
    This facts are that forced pull overs, campground burglarys and robberies do happen. It only takes a few moments in your favorite search engine to research the statistics . And now, since the veil is lifted I highly recommend that everyone does spend time researching the dark side of life.
    Everyone in their planning preparation should include self defense and survival planning just in case you may become an unwanted statistic. Wether that statistic is positive or negative is mostly dependent on choices you make. We are responsible for our own lives. Law enforcement is a responder and cannot prevent all the terrible things that happen to nice people.
    Do you jot down the highway patrol 3 key phone number when entering a new state? Have you thought what you might do in the 5 minutes to 5 hour time frame in which it may take law enforcement to get to your location and provide assistance? On the road you are your own first responder and hopefully prepared for fire and brushes with the ills of society. Be aware of your surroundings and learn and practice situational awareness.
    Remember, you are driving a big beautiful rig with a nice vehicle following behind. On a long lonely stretch of road think what your rig looks and smells like to a person of ill will.. Money, money, money, nicer things including cloths and probably some good food and drink as a bonus. Also know that a holdup on the side of the road looks more like folks helping folks with a mechanical problem and not a crime event. Especially in the daylight hours. Heck, the criminals and you may even exchange friendly waves as you pass by. What a thought, but, it happens!
    To continue ignoring the statistics or living a naive existence may be detrimental to your lives.
    Nobody in their right mind would travel without at least one fire extinguisher, therefore, if life is more valuable than your R V then why would you not carry something to also protect your life and the lives of your loved ones?
    I carry what I think is nessary on my person, in my RV and in my backpack which has a quick access pocket for self defense tools. With that said I have experience with these things and am very comfortable and confident with them. I highly recommend that you do too. With that said, I also recommend that if you are inexperienced or far from practice with the tools of self defense you get the training necessary. It’s all very much available. Go to your local gun store or gun range for information and classes offered locally. You can also search the web for classes for everything from using hand to hand techniques, pepper spray, use of common objects to firearms. The bottom line is to become prepared to defend your life with the tools necessary through proper training.
    Also, if you carry a firearm , learn the rules of the states that you are traveling through. There are many differences in legal licensed carry. Start by learning your States laws and which States share reciprocity of your states laws. There is also a conceal carry handbook for the traveler available that addresses all states handgun rules, regulations and laws and importantly, reciprocity. Also organizations such as the NRA, USCCA and others have much information on this topic on their web sites.
    Some things, believe it or not, are handier and quicker than a fully charged cell phone.
    Have fun and be safe.

  3. SDPeg

    NOT SO…..we crossed yesterday, no problems

  4. Ronald A. LaMascus

    A few weeks ago, we came upon an RV that was a potential prospect of what we would like to purchase as our next Motorhome. We slowed, fell in behind and wrote down the make, model and general description for future reference. Not everyone is up to no good or trying to rob anyone. Incidents happen anytime, anywhere even in regular passenger cars so be vigilant but please, don’t be paranoid. Someone may just be admiring your beautiful RV or vehicle!

  5. norman yelland


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