There are a lot of hazards out there on the road that really can put your new or used RV in a pickle. It’s not just the other drivers out that you have to worry about, there’s a whole slew of new obstacles for you to be aware every time you hit the road. High road winds being one of those obstacles.
Even though most RV’s will never see extreme weather while traveling, they are exposed periodically to bad and possibly violent weather. High gusting winds, torrential rains, driving hail and thunderous lightning bolts have all been experienced at one time by many of us. RV’s are particularly vulnerable. Almost all RV’s have a relatively high center of gravity and a poor vertical body structure to weight ratio. In other words, they can be adversely affected by winds.
Wind can be an issue even on an otherwise nice day. Hey, we live in Texas, a fast moving front can produce substantially strong winds seemingly at anytime in the State. Also geographical terrain, such as the mountains in Big Bend or the Hill country in and around Austin and even on flat ground of the Coastal plains can deliver unexpected high winds and gusts. The affect of these winds on an RV can cause difficulty in maintaining its lane when running down a road or highway. This occurs when the wind speed is in the high twenties to the mid forties, depending on the size and weight of the vehicle. Wind gusts, as opposed to a steady wind state, can amplify the problem greatly. There are many accidents that are a result of driving in high wind conditions. These range from damaging a mirror from striking a passing truck to leaving the road due to loss of control.
Know your vehicle and control level in windy conditions. If you are driving with white knuckles or become nervous, you have passed your RV’s comfort level. Slow it down. As a general rule, I reduce speed by 10% when wind conditions are between 15 and 20 MPH and additionally a further 10% for every 10 MPH over 20. Never however, on a clear day, albeit windy, drive at a speed less than the minimum posted. If such a speed is warranted due to wind, it is time to stop. Winds approaching 50 MPH can cause dangerous driving conditions, and even more so if it is also gusty. In high winds or when you are out of your comfort level, either stop for the day or re-route to a slower road where you can drive with full lane control. In many cases driving or towing an RV in winds at or above 50 MPH may endanger both property and safety of yourself, your passengers and those in the immediate area. Remember, you might be able to hang onto it, but can that panel truck passing you?
Can RV’s blow over? Yes, all RV’s are capable of being upset by the wind force. Fortunately, in general, it takes a considerable wind force, far more than you would think to flip a trailer or motor home.
If high winds or inclement weather ever have you concerned while driving or towing your new or used RV, your best bet is to simply pull off the road and wait it out. It’s simply not worth jeopardizing your safety and the safety of your rig.