March in the southwest means wind. Spring often brings chilly nights, warm days, and sudden strong winds that can get up to 75 mph+ gusts of high winds. As we were camping on a BLM just outside of Carlsbad Caverns we were alerted of a high wind advisory. We were expected to have sustained winds up to 40 mph, with gust up to 56 mph for over 24 hours. That got us thinking, what to do with our RV in high winds, can the high winds flip our RV? Is it better to stay put, or hit the road in search for less wind? Not sure of what to do, stay or go, we did some research. Ultimately we decided to keep the RV in high winds, but took some precautions. Watch the video below to hear our findings from our research and how to best prepare your RV in high winds.
Tips for Prepping your RV in High Winds
I wish you all could have felt and heard the wind during the peak of the storm. It was wild! Dust was everywhere outside and somehow still made it inside the RV (even with everything sealed up). There were two random nights in Big Bend that a dust storm rolled through that had pretty high winds. Since there was no cell service or wifi we couldn’t check our radar or weather apps to actually see how high the winds got, but it was blustery and our RV was shaking. One night we could barely sleep because of the noise and movement of the RV. Granted we were not prepared for the storm whatsoever and our rig was not facing the correct way.
Since we had fair warning for the impending wind storm when we were in Carlsbad, we were able to prepare. I’m glad to say there was a significant difference in the amount of wind we felt and heard overall. There was far less movement on our RV in high winds because of the preparation we did to ensure we were both safe and comfortable. The biggest contributing factor to the more positive experience this go around, was the positioning of the fifth wheel. If you know you are going to experience high winds, we highly suggest determining which direction the wind will be coming from and trying to have the nose of your RV face that direction.
In addition, here are the other ways to prepare and secure your RV for high winds…
- Pull in awnings (if you are in the southwest in spring it’s highly advisable to never leave your awnings out when you are not at your rig itself. Often times these wind storms come out of no where and you won’t be lucky enough to get a morning to prepare).
- Put away or secure any outdoor items (such as chairs, portable solar panels, or rugs).
- Close all vents and windows.
- Bring in slides (It minimizes surface area for the wind to push on).
- Be careful opening doors (often times the wind will pull it open abruptly as you try to open it, or it will push so it’s extremely hard to open).
- If it’s very high winds (75 mph + sustained) it might be advisable to attach your pull-behind or fifth wheel to your tow vehicle (if applicable). Doing so makes it more challenging for the wind to upset your RV.
So here’s the good news: it’s extremely unlikely your stationary RV will flip in winds under 115 mph. You are more likely to be moved off the road or potentially upset (flipped or turned over) as you travel in high winds (winds as “low” as 30 – 35 mph). However, both of those statements require further explanation. There are several factors that could make you more likely to flip or be moved in high winds whether you are stationary or not such as the vehicle weight, vehicle size, direction of your vehicle in relation to the wind direction, duration of wind, and potentially the speed of your vehicle. The study we found titled “Wind Speeds Required to Upset Vehicles” from Kent State University, Boyce Thompson Institute, and Wichita State University can be found here.
Here are the big takeaways we found from the study (or at least what we found useful).
- It is unlikely a stationary vehicle will be upset by winds on the vehicle of less than 115 mph.
- Stationary semi-trucks and other high profile trucks, trailers, and buses may be tipped over in sustained winds of 95 mph+ ; cars, vans, and pickups are not tipped.
- If traveling at high way speeds during high winds (25 mph – 35 mph sustained) your vehicle is more easily upset or moved off the road. If you do decide to drive, driving at a lower speeds reduces your risk of upset or movement off the road.
So rest easy. It takes some pretty mighty wind to flip your rig and it’s even less likely if you properly prepare your RV in high winds with the advice above. If you’re nervous or uneasy about traveling in high winds, don’t be afraid to pull over and wait it out if possible. Hope this helps!
We are Dennis and Liz! We’re two travel loving, real estate investing, foodies exploring North America full time in a Grand Design fifth wheel toy hauler. We share our lessons learned as full time RV’ers, travel tips and tricks, and the best places to eat and see in the US with you!
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