Ever felt nervous driving your car in strong winds, feeling the vehicle getting blown around precariously and wondering if you’re able to keep it under control? Well, if that’s got your nerves, it hardly compares to what you will experience driving an RV. Now, I can only speak for the conditions that I have found myself in driving a 25-foot Class A motorhome. I’ve never driven a truck and pulled a trailer-style RV, so I can’t speak about how they react to windy conditions. But, what I can tell you is that I have had several white knuckle situations since I starting RVing 3 years ago. And it is pretty much safe to say that you will too once you start driving yours. Just be prepared, aware and careful, and everything will be just fine. Oh yes, and keep both hands on that steering wheel.
Because RVs are tall, they catch wind like a moving wall and act much like a sail to some degree. The good news is that when a wind gust hits the side of your RV, all of the other vehicles close to you are likely feeling the same wind gust hitting their vehicles. This means, that all of you will be pulled or pushed in the same direction hopefully avoiding any collisions. Well, maybe that may not be scientifically true, but that’s just my way of bringing some ease to the situation, so I’m sticking to it.
Think of wind disturbance on your RV as something similar to air turbulence when you’re in an airplane without the up and down motion, just the side to side. When it’s windy it may feel like the alignment on your steering wheel is off and you’re having to constantly correct it with the steering wheel.
It’s also helpful to be aware of how the vehicles in front of you are reacting to the wind. If they are swaying toward the right then be prepared to be doing the same, etc.
When it gets windy I always make sure I’m in the right lane and I slow it down. Going 55 mph seems to work in average windy situations, however, there have been times when I’ve had to slow it down even more in severe windy conditions and put the flashers on. At times like this, you will also see the big transport trucks doing the same thing. I often follow their lead since they are professional drivers and generally know what they are doing out there on the road.
Wind gusts tend to be a lot more challenging than sustained wind because they seem to come out of nowhere. Almost like a sucker punch to your RV. With sustained winds, the challenge comes when the wind stops and you have to adjust to stay in your lane. Turning into a wind gust is also very challenging as the wind could be pushing you away from the turn that you need to make.
Gaining experience and getting practice driving in windy conditions will help you gain more confidence driving your RV. It’s always helpful to be aware of weather reports and predictions and to avoid driving when it calls for strong winds in the area. If you need to pull over safely at the next highway exit and stop driving, then do just that. Wait it out if you need to in order to feel safe.
On my way back to NorCal from Louisiana after picking up Gypsy Rose from the dealer, I encountered windy conditions, a sand storm and driving through several swirling tumbleweed whipping across the highway in front of the RV. What an unexpected adventure that was.
I actually have a wind app on my phone which is helpful, but not always accurate. But, it is a good resource for general knowledge of whether or not you will encounter challenging winds on your long drive.
So, now that I’ve scared the crap out of you, I want to say that even with the challenges of the wind, which isn’t often, it is worth every hair-raising moment because of all of the other benefits that life on the road in your RV gives us. Just like flying in an airplane and having to experience air turbulence, it is almost always worth the unsettling moments once you get to your destination.
If the thought of having to deal with wind while driving your RV is too intimidating for you, just keep an eye on the weather and wind reports and try to avoid it altogether. Time your drive times around good, non-windy weather. But, either way, be safe out there and enjoy the ride, I mean, enjoy the drive!
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