Spokey's Guide to Cruise Etiquette

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Spokey's Guide to Cruise Etiquette

Post by spokey » Mon 11 Jul, 2005 14:18


As there are a large number of newbies who are discovering the joys of going out on cruises, as well as numerous older hands who might do with a refresher, I thought I'd cobble something together. I’ve also tried to cover a couple of things that aren’t generally thought of.

It may seem like a lot to take in, but really, you only need to observe the relevant section for the phase of the cruise that you are in. Once you have registered your interest, for example, you can forget about that section until you register for your next cruise.

This is not intended to be prescriptive -- you will not get thrown off the cruise if you don't follow these guidelines! :lol: I just thought it might help people get some confidence beforehand and share some of the things I've learned.

Before the Cruise

Registering your interest

Please register your interest! Let the cruise organiser know if you are interested in attending, and confirm your attendance as soon as you can. Don’t just pitch up on the day unless the cruise leader says it’s OK. If no-one registered their interest and just pitched up on the day, the leader might not think it was worth going ahead and might cancel the cruise!

To register your interest, the cruise leader will generally need:
* Your forum handle (so that s/he knows who you are)
* You real name (so that s/he knows who you REALLY are)
* Your passenger’s name (if any – so that s/he has an idea of numbers)
* Your car model (so that s/he can count up before leaving)
* Your car colour (so that s/he can count up before leaving)
* Your car’s registration number (so that s/he can tick you off the list in the car park)
* Your mobile number (so that s/he can call you if you are late or get lost)

It is a good idea to include all of these in a single PM or email with the event you are registering for, to make the cruise leader’s life easier.


If the cruise involves a meal at some point and there is a menu posted, please let the cruise organiser have your menu choice at least THREE WORKING DAYS before the cruise. Sometimes pubs or restaurants have to specially order in extra quantities for a group, and they need a working day to place the order and a working day to get delivery.

On the Day

Starting time

The cruise leader will advertise a start time. That is the time when they intend to leave, by which time you should have been to the loo, filled your car, taken any photos, chatted and had breakfast or whatever. Arrive in good time for all these activities to occur -- half an hour before departure is recommended. (Rob! :twisted: )


Generally the runs are based around the cruise leader’s car’s range. It is a very good idea to make sure that your car’s tank is as full as possible before you arrive.

Most cruises start at or very near to a service station, but do make sure that your car is full, as it can be disruptive to have to break from the planned route to fill up, especially when there are many cars on the cruise.


Most cruises will include a meal, and things like ferries and so forth are not unheard of. Make sure that you have sufficient money to cover your meal and incidentals, as many of these will not be something that can be covered with a debit or credit card.

Personal Mobile Radios

It is quite common for regular cruisers to have a a PMR or walkie talkie. It is a good idea to have one so that you can hear where the cruise leader is going next, they can be useful while overtaking is required and you may also be able to relay when everybody is through a junction. However, in my experience, they can be difficult to hear and as not everyone will have one, they are of limited use. If you want to invest in a PMR, make sure it has the sub-channels as well as the main channels.

The cruise leader will advise what channel to use before the cruise.

Handouts, etc.

On day runs it is unlikely that there will be handouts or notes of any kind. The cruise leader might provide handouts of some form or description, but that is entirely at their discretion. On longer cruises, it is not unusual to receive a handout or pack of some sort. If this is a concern for you, you should discuss it with the cruise leader.

On the Cruise


In order that the cruise leader can easily tell where the tail of the cruise is, it is recommended that the last person puts their lights on. Please DON’T put your lights on if you aren’t the last person in the queue. (If the weather is bad, then obviously everyone should put their lights on! :roll: )

Cruise Order

The cruise leader will be in front (obviously), after that, it is recommended that people who know their cars well and are comfortable with a good pace go at the back. If you are new to cruises or are not comfortable with things like taking the racing line through corners, it is probably better to go towards the middle / front of the queue. There is no need to prove anything. The people at the back can then hang back and "catch up" without fear that the cruise leader will leave them behind somewhere.

Not everyone is comfortable with spirited driving. However, it can also be quite frustrating for an experienced cruiser to get stuck behind someone who brakes in the wrong places or otherwise makes the drive less enjoyable. Consideration for both types of drivers is important!

Cruise Pace

A cruise is not a race!

The pace of the cruise is generally defined by what the cruise leader considers to be safe. This includes the condition of the road, weather, traffic, visibility and many other factors.

Please bear in mind that everyone’s cars are different: Z1s, Z3s, Z4s and Z8s all have different performance and handling characteristics, and many cars have performance and handling modifications as well. Do not assume that because you can go around a corner at a certain speed that everyone else can!

Consideration for the other cruisers is important. Some people will want to be “on it”, others will be taking it more gently. Neither is right or wrong.

The cruise leader will not leave anyone behind and will always strive to gather up at junctions, so you will not get lost if you are in a more gentle mode.

Some cruises will also have a “sweeper”, someone else who knows the route and can gather up people who are left behind and bring them to a known meeting point.

Following Distance

Cruises will generally be travelling at some speed, and it is important to maintain a good following distance, especially as the roads will sometimes not have good visibility and crash stops due to traffic, animals or farm equipment are not unheard of.

Make sure that you can see the car in front of you as much as possible, but it is as important to make sure you can see the car behind you! If you cannot see the car behind, slow down until they catch up -- it could be a sign that something has gone wrong.

Overtaking Each Other

If you genuinely feel you are being held up by someone and it is spoiling your enjoyment of the cruise, I recommend the following: flash your lights slowly, clearly and distinctly, three times. The person in front should then indicate and allow the person behind past WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO! However, if the person in front feels uncomfortable due to prevailing road conditions, they should not do anything.

The person behind should NOT crowd the person in front, it will only spoil the run for both of you. Consider dropping back and then taking a run up and catching up, then dropping back again. This is acceptable behaviour if you cannot safely overtake.

If there is good visibility at a junction, it is a place to consider asking to be let past again.

Overtaking Traffic

The cruise leader will decide whether it is worth the challenge of overtaking slower moving traffic. If you have already overtaken, and it is clear to overtake, it is a good idea to move into the oncoming lane as a signal to people behind that it is safe to overtake. If you see the cars ahead of the obstacle sitting in the “wrong” lane, it’s a signal to you that it is safe to overtake. When they move back into the correct lane, it’s either because it’s not safe to do so, or because you should have enough visibility to make your own mind up. If you don’t have enough visibility, then assume there is an incoming car!!!

If the cruise leader and other cruisers have overtaken, you should try to do so as well, as soon as it is safe to do so. Keep your eye on the cruisers ahead for clues that it is safe to overtake.

The final decision to overtake lies totally with the overtaking driver. Any help or indication from a cruiser in front is purely as a favour and they cannot be blamed for wrong information or a bad decision.

When on the wrong side of the road showing cars behind that it's OK to overtake, be careful that you don't watch the mirror more than the oncoming traffic!

Also, when giving this kind of help, indicators are extremely important. Indicate right continuously when you're on the wrong side of the road and it's safe for cars behind to overtake the obstacle, and then left to show that you've got to move back for whatever reason.

Finally, once you have overtaken someone, please make sure that you leave a big enough gap for people behind you -- don't overtake and then sit just in front of the car you have overtaken!

Overtaking the Cruise Leader


Road Manners

It is much easier for all concerned if the cruise stays together. Do NOT let people into the convoy if at all possible, as this will only cause disruption and overtaking later on. Try to stay line astern as much as possible, including when passing cars in a single file, such as on a road where oncoming traffic has to stop to let us past.


When you come to a junction, make sure that you can see where the person in front went, but also make sure that person behind you can see where you went. Stop safely and visibly if necessary.

If the cruise leader is travelling slowly, waiting for everyone to get through a junction, it is a good idea for someone to quickly flash their lights a couple of times when they can see the last person is through the junction. This tells the cruise leader that s/he can set off again.


As soon as you see the car in front of you put their indicator on for a junction, you should do the same. This will advise people who might not yet have sight of the junction which way to go.

Use of PMRs

In my experience, PMRs are of relatively limited use unless everyone has one. The most common uses are:

1. To advise the direction people should take at a junction. In this case, the cruise leader will repeat the instruction twice "turning left on to A27 to Lewes, turning left on to A27 to Lewes". The sweeper (if there is one) should indicate his acknowledgement by repeating the instruction.

2. To advise for overtaking. However, if not everyone has a PMR, then this is largely useless, which is why I prefer the visible indication that overtaking is OK.

3. For general chit-chat. Try to keep this to a minimum, please, as it is difficult to hear the PMR in a noisy, open car. A social chat can be very distracting.

PMR etiquette is subject for a manual by itself. However, the key thing to remember is that it is half-duplex communication -- more than one person should not be speaking at a time. In general, the PMR will make a clearly audible "beep" when the speaker has finished speaking. Also, remember to wait half a second or a second before starting to talk.

After the Cruise


Sharing your photos after the cruise is always welcome. However, to minimise the risk of cars being “ringed”, and for other privacy concerns, it is appreciated if you can blank or smudge the registration plates so that they are not recognisable.

It turns out this is a controversial and unpopular recommendation. If you don't want to do it, don't do it! The important thing is to post your pictures afterwards!


This is a work in progress, based very much on my personal feelings and experiences. Comments are welcomed, either privately on PM or email.

This document does not necessarily reflect the opinions of zroadster.net or anyone associated with it!
jackal on PH wrote:i love your profile... an endless pornographic paroxysm of the letters BMW

do you actually like driving at all or are cars to you just a manifestation of some sort of pathological mother complex ?


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