By Chris Triplett
High winds and the damage they can cause are frightening enough; but experiencing severe winds in an RV is even more alarming.
High winds can damage an RV, knocking it over and even cause fatal injuries to those living inside it. While responsible RV owners always check the weather before traveling, windy weather is often unpredictable and can surprise you with a sudden change in direction or unusually strong gusts.
Thankfully, there are several steps you can take to ensure that you can safely handle your RV in windy weather, even if the wind kicks up unexpectedly. Taking extra precautions for tight spots, slowing down as you drive, steering clear of others on the road, and knowing when to sit it out can help you confidently navigate the potential dangers of RVing in high winds.
Handling tight spots: Use a spotter
Backing up and maneuvering your RV in windy conditions can be particularly risky because you have less control of of a vehicle battered by the wind. Using an outside spotter to help direct your driving when there is little clearance is always a good idea, but it’s a necessity in high winds.
You’ll find some good RV driving tips by clicking here.
Be sure you can clearly communicate with the person spotting you. If you go RVing frequently, a pair of walkie talkie can be very helpful for taking verbal cues from your spotter. Keep your spotter safe in windy conditions by taking it slow and stopping if you’re not clear what they’re saying.
A backup camera can help you feel more aware of what is going on behind your vehicle. It can give you a clear view of what can’t be seen in your mirrors. Since a backup camera reveals the area immediately behind your RV, use your camera for a rear view and a spotter to help you see obstacles in other areas.
This combination of a backup camera and spotter should give you a better sense of control as you drive through a tight spot in windy conditions.
CameraSource has prepared an infographic buyers guide for backup cameras. To view it, click here.
Driving through high winds: Slow down
If it’s difficult to simply back up your vehicle in high winds, driving an RV through severe winds can leave you feeling out of control.
This feeling is not misplaced as high winds can take over the direction of your vehicle and push you off course. A quick course correction is no help since it will likely only take you just as quickly in the opposite direction.
Slowing down is the only way to avoid losing control of your vehicle in this situation. Slowing down is also the best way to prevent being knocked over by an especially strong gust of wind. You cannot outrun the storm, no matter how skilled a driver you are, so stay safe by taking it easy.
If the wind gets the better of your RV while you are driving slowly, you can gain control by carefully course correcting then finding a safe place to pull off the road. Be sure to take corners especially slow. Try to find a route or lane that will allow you to move as slow as you need to.
If you don’t feel comfortable slowing down on the freeway, map out an alternate route.
Sharing the road: Keep your distance
By now you understand the importance of slowing down and driving cautiously in high winds, but other drivers may not be so smart. The best way to share the road with others in windy conditions is to keep your distance.
Even small, low cars can be potentially blown into your lane or directly into your RV. Trailers, campers, boats, and other towables are even more dangerous since they have no power source of their own and are especially hard to control in strong winds.
Some lesser-minded drivers think that drafting behind a trailer or vehicle in front of them is a good way to avoid the power of the wind. This could not be further from the truth.
Driving closely behind a trailer or vehicle is a practice that is foolish in nice weather. In high winds, it is downright reckless and puts you more at risk of collision.
To learn about five completely wrong ways to drive through high winds, click here.
Feeling overwhelmed: Take a break
You RV because it’s fun. Don’t let the stress of driving in high winds ruin your good time. Rather than white knuckling your way through, pull over and take a few minutes to regain your composure when you need to.
Making good time is all well and good, but the safety of you and your traveling companions is much more important. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed driving through high winds, don’t hesitate to pull over and take a little time to shake off the stress of driving in bad weather.
How much wind is too much wind for your RV? Click here to find out.
When in doubt, wait it out
There is no shame in avoiding high winds by stopping at a safe place to wait out the weather. Taking personal responsibility and knowing when to sit it out are the best ways to stay safe. If that two minute break to calm your shaky nerves turns into a longer stop, so be it.
Leave your RV and seek a better shelter if needed to keep you and your fellow travelers safe. Eventually the wind will die down or the storm will clear, and you’ll be back on the road having fun again.
To view the Top 5 severe weather tips for RV owners, click here.
Driving Your RV Through High Winds Is A Breeze
Wind can cause quite a bit of worry and aggravation for RV enthusiasts. If you take the time to learn the strategies to handle windy conditions, you’ll be sure to enjoy your RV trip no matter what the weather throws at you.
Only you can make the decision to slow down or stop due to high winds, so be sure to follow your instincts and err on the side of caution. Take it easy, slow down as much as you can, and put your safety ahead of your schedule. By following these tips, driving your RV in windy conditions should be a breeze.
Chris Triplett is the president and founder of Camera Source, an online retailer of quality automotive, agriculture, commercial and RV camera systems. Camera Source not only innovates new products that adapt to an ever changing OEM market, but the company is a top re-seller of many automotive accessory brands. For more information, click here.