Any experienced RV owner knows how dangerous it is to drive in the wind. With the winds howling, it can be difficult to stay in control of your vehicle. That's why it's important to know how to drive an RV in the wind safely. Additionally, it's important to know when you shouldn't drive at all.
Although you may be skilled at driving your car in windy weather, that doesn't mean you can handle driving your RV as well. Read along to learn why driving an RV in the wind is dangerous and how to do it while staying safe.
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Why Is It Dangerous to Drive an RV in the Wind?
Driving an RV in windy weather is more dangerous than driving an average-sized car or truck. But why is that the case? Simply put, an RV has a larger surface area than other vehicles. A bigger surface area means more resistance for the wind to blow around. Therefore, your RV is going to be more difficult to control in harsh weather conditions than standard-sized cars would be.
When Is It Too Windy to Drive an RV?
Generally, winds over 50 mph (80 kph) are dangerous if you're driving an RV. However, if you're not an experienced driver, you should reconsider if you want to drive your RV when the wind is anywhere above 40 mph (64 kph). If you think you won't be able to control your vehicle, stop and wait for the wind to pass.
Additionally, a wind with a speed of 60 mph (96 kph) or more is fast enough to tip over a moving RV. However, the same does not apply to a stationary RV. If you choose to park your camper and wait out the storm, you will surely be safer, as it takes a lot more wind power (100 mph/160 kph) to flip a motionless RV.
What are Wind Restrictions?
Your local government implements wind restrictions for your area. Wind restrictions are put in place to limit the traffic in cases of heavy winds. Although they differ depending on where you live, they usually restrict RVs and other big vehicles.
If you own an RV, it's essential to learn more about your local government's policies on wind restrictions. Furthermore, keep in mind that driving is generally restricted if there's a 50 mph or faster wind for 10 minutes or more. Additionally, the bridges in your area may also have wind restrictions, particularly if they span over a body of water.
Check the forecast before you hit the road in your RV. It's always better to be safe than stuck on the road, unable to move due to the wind.
How to Drive an RV in the Wind
If you're wondering how to drive an RV in the wind safely, there are a few key tips you should keep in mind.
Firstly, you should calm down, slow down, and try to stay in control. Hold onto the wheel with a firm grip. Still, don't hold the wheel too tightly and don't over-correct while driving. Keep your corrections slow and steady and avoid over-steering.
Secondly, you should keep an eye on the traffic around you. Try to increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Additionally, you should prepare for stronger gusts of wind when bigger vehicles pass by you. Your RV can cause a faster wind for other vehicles, as well, so be mindful of that while you're driving.
Lastly, you should take breaks from driving. If you feel like you won't be able to be in control of your RV for much longer, make sure to stop and rest as soon as you can. If the winds exceed 50 mph, stop driving immediately. In that case, it's much safer to park your RV somewhere safe and wait out the winds.
How to Camp in an RV in the Wind
If the wind is too fast for you to drive safely, it's better to find a place to camp until the storm passes. Although wind is less likely to flip over a stationary camper, it can still cause damage. Here's how you can prevent damage to your RV and feel more secure during a windstorm:
Point your RV towards the direction of the wind.
Close every window and vent on your RV.
Retract your slide-outs and pull your awnings in.
Fill up your waste tanks to add more weight to your RV.
Don't open the doors. If you have to go out, be extremely cautious while opening them.
Don't park under trees. Instead, choose a wall or a building nearby. Tree branches can break and fall, which can cause a lot of damage to your RV.
Knowing how to drive an RV in the wind is essential for anyone with a camper. However, you should recognize when you shouldn't drive as well. If the wind is over 50 mph, or you don't think you can stay in control of your vehicle, you should park your RV as fast as possible. Still, be mindful of other drivers and park only when you know you won't put anyone driving behind you in danger.