The paper proposes an RCA (RTS collision avoidance) MAC protocol to reduce RTS collisions for IEEE 802.11-based mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs). RTS/CTS exchanging is used for the resolution of the hidden terminal problem. However, the paper shows that, even the backoff counters of two stations are different, RTS frames are also collided to each other due to the hidden terminal problem. The situation would be getting worse in high traffic load or in a dense network. RTS collisions not only result in the following CTS or ACK collisions, but also induce false blocking problem, even dead locks of transmissions. To address the above problems, an RCA MAC protocol is proposed to reduce RTS collisions. The RCA protocol utilizes a narrow band, called the tone channel, to announce the RTS transmission in advance in order to preclude the RTS transmissions of two-hop neighbors. To reduce the channel and hardware overhead, an improvement to the RCA protocol is also devised, which only uses a single channel and one transceiver to reduce RTS collisions. The RCA protocol provides a type of fast collision detection and decreases the probability of RTS collisions, which is benefit for RTS/CTS exchange scheme. Meanwhile, the RCA protocol can reduce the retransmission cost and have lower control overhead than that of IEEE 802.11 DCF. In addition, simulation results verify the advantages of the RCA protocol in comparison with IEEE 802.11 DCF.