High winds aren’t something most people worry about. But dealing with high winds in an RV can be a very unpleasant and scary experience. We were camping on public land just outside of Carlsbad Caverns when we were alerted of a high wind advisory.
That got us thinking, what should we do with our RV in high winds? Can high winds flip an RV? Is it better to stay put, or hit the road in search of less wind? Not sure of what to do, stay or go, we did some research. Here’s how to deal with high winds in an RV.
Can high winds flip an RV?
It’s extremely unlikely a 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 (could. be 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 the wind, and potentially the speed of your vehicle.
The study that helped us digest this information called “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 lower speeds reduces your risk of upset or movement off the road.
How to prepare your RV for high winds
The biggest annoyance of high winds in an RV is the noise and movement of the RV. Since we had a 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 because of the steps we took.
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 your awning (this is good practice anytime you leave your RV. Many wind storms come out of nowhere and can quickly pull off an RV awning).
- Put away or secure any outdoor items (such as chairs, portable solar panels, or rugs).
- Close all vents and windows.
- Bring in all slides. This minimizes the surface area for the wind to push on.
- Be careful when opening doors. Oftentimes, the wind will pull it open abruptly as you try to open it. It could also push against the door making it hard to open.
- If it’s very high winds (75 mph + sustained) it might be advisable to attach your pull-behind trailer or fifth wheel to your tow vehicle (if applicable). Doing so makes it more challenging for the wind to upset your RV.
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. High winds in an RV are certainly unpleasant, but it isn’t necessarily dangerous.