Driving in a Convoy – Roles and Rules

Driving in a Convoy – Roles and Rules

Driving in a Convoy is exciting and great fun, but there are certain rules that we should understand for easy movement of the Convoy and we also need to understand various parts of the convoy and the roles of each part.



A car convoy is generally made up of four parts: 


* Lead Car

* Marshall (Optional, mostly required when the convoy is large.)

* Sweeper

* Members’ cars


Lead Car Role

1. The Lead will decide the convoy speed, movement, and stoppages. All cars need to respect lead car decisions. Lead Car adjusts speed at all times, remembering that the rear of the convoy may be a long way back. But depending on the distances expected speed would be maintained.

2. Lead Car will constantly view mirrors to ensure the convoy is not spacing out too far.

3. If a lot of traffic lights are encountered, it may be necessary to pull over somewhere safely to reform.

4. A generous use of indicators when changing direction.

5. Inform the group prior to departure of the destination and any stops (perhaps a map).


Sweeper Role

1. Keep visual contact with the Lead Car (if possible).

2. Use 2 way radios or mobiles to contact Lead Car if necessary.

3. When Lead Car indicates to pass, move over to prevent non-convoy cars interfering with the convoy. This also allows convoy to safely pass.

4. Contact Lead Car if the cars at the rear have to travel too fast to keep up.

5. Ensure no member car is left behind.


Marshall Role

1. Stay in the middle of the convoy.

2. May move out of position to group strayed vehicles.

3. Aid the convoy in crossing junctions.

4. Ensure convoy is in formation.

5. Move out the of the convoy on indication of the lead car and move ahead or fall behind as per the need.


Members’ cars Role

1. Do not overtake other member car unless of an emergency.

2. Watch the leader for overtaking (use indicators)

3. Maintain a safe distance from the car in front

4. Do not let the car in front get out of sight.

5. Flash your lights if in trouble.


Rules to be followed.


 1) General Items

Check your car prior to the convoy, ensure all fluids, tire pressure, etc…  are in tiptop condition. Arrive at the starting point in plenty of time for the briefing on the route and destination of the trip. Please be ready to depart on time with a full fuel tank. If you are going to leave the group before the end of the trip, please tell the Lead Car, Sweeper, and others.  This is so that the group does not either, wait for you to catch up, or follow you.


2) Headlights On

During daytime: On your “small” lights and your fog lights.

During nighttime: On your headlights and your fog lights.


This is how the rest of the world knows what is going on. Your lights on enable you to see your fellow members and know who is with you. If someone pulls off the road in trouble they are easier to identify in the rear view mirror. Best of all it really looks cool.


3) Don’t follow too close

When in a convoy keeping good distances is a must for safety as well as an act of kindness to the car you are following. Your cars are special and worth a lot of money so don’t risk them. If we are traveling 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!


4) Allow other traffic to intermingle

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 if necessary when they settle in a bad spot. You want other drivers to say, “Wow that was neat”. Be a friendly convoy.


5) The speed should be reasonable

This is hard. It is all too easy to slow down or let the speed creep up. When you have a diverse group of drivers and car capability, there will be people who think it’s 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 overtaking, making the drive safer for the group. It is each individual driver’s responsibility to keep the vehicle behind him or her in sight, insuring the group stays together. If the car behind slows down, please slow down with it. If each car does this convoy will stay together. Do not go faster than you feel comfortable driving!  If you feel that the cars in front are driving without consideration for you or for other road users, please do not try to keep up.  It is better that you fall back and inform nearest crew car or the lead car.


6) In case of difficulties or problems

If a car gets in trouble, nobody in the convoy stops EXCEPT for the sweeper. The sweeper will ensure everything is all right and the convoy must proceed on until a suitable stopping place is found. A whole line of cars along a busy road translates to a higher chance of accidents waiting to happen. The troubled car needs to mention they are stopping with a call sign.


7) Take it easy

Sometimes not everything goes as planned. Participants in a convoy usually have pretty high expectations and are loaded with anticipation of the day’s events. It is important to stay focused on the trip at hand and be able to relax when things get hectic, people get lost, or traffic snarls throw you off schedule.


8) Entering / Exiting Tolls

ALWAYS slow down after paying the toll and park behind the Lead Car on the road shoulder with your hazard lights on. Never get out of the car. Wait till all the rest are assembled (the Sweeper will ensure that) and slowly signal out.


In the highway:  We all want a smooth convoy. Staying at the right lane always priority, but we must let the other traffic, which is faster than us to overtake. SWEEPER must inform LEAD CAR that there is other vehicles need to pass our convoy, Lead Car will signal to left lane when possible and let the other vehicles to overtake/ pass.


9) Overtaking 

Overtake only when legal and safe to do so. DO NOT overtake on double white lines, on bends or at any place where the way ahead is not clear. If a member of the group or public 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 maneuver. But as a general rule if the convoy has a designated place for you, please maintain that avoid overtaking members designated ahead of you.


10) Do not panic if you get left at a set of lights. It’s more than likely the convoy leader will notice and pull over when it’s safe so you can catch up. DO NOT SKIP TRAFFIC LIGHTS TO KEEP UP.

Better to be lost than cause a crash you can always pull over later and call someone to find out where to go if you’re lost. Sweeper car would not leave you behind


OFF ROAD Convoy Rules


It is very important during the off road trips / hills to follow these rules to ensure your trips going according as planned and smoothly.


1) Ensure you see the vehicle behind you. Don’t follow too close and maintain safe distance.

2) The vehicle should take turn one by one when ascending or descending hill or narrow corner.

3) The Trip Leader would guide or inform all team members from time to time on the route condition as a precautionary action.

4) Do not stop or park your vehicle on the middle of the hill, narrow corner, steep hill or route.

5) Do not leave your team member alone in the middle of off road trips.