When is it Too Windy to Drive an RV?

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Updated March 25, 2024

Any experienced RVer will tell you that driving an RV in windy conditions can be very dangerous. We all know how dangerous it is to drive in the rain and some of us have also experienced driving in the snow! So can it be too windy for an RV?

But all too often we underestimate windy conditions. Why? Because you can’t see the wind like you can see snow and rain but it can be just as dangerous if you aren’t prepared. And we are used to driving our cars during very windy conditions with no problems at all. So, we are lulled into a false sense of security.

So, when is it too windy to drive an RV? A good rule of thumb is to avoid driving an RV in winds that exceed 50 mph. Wind speeds approaching 60 mph are enough to overturn an RV. The larger the RV the more surface area. And the more surface area the more likely it is that the wind can tip you over.

Below we discuss many factors to consider when driving your RV in windy conditions, tips for driving in the wind, and safety concerns, as well.

How Does the Wind Affect Driving an RV or Travel Trailer?

The wind is not something to disregard when driving your RV. One common problem with driving an RV in high winds, especially if it’s a travel trailer being towed or an RV with a tow car behind is the trailer or tow vehicle can swerve into other lanes uncontrollably. I’ve been driving down the highway behind another truck towing a travel trailer and saw the wind catch the travel trailer. It began to shake and swerve back and forth uncontrollably.

Not only does this present a problem for the RV driver but also for the other drivers on the road. The swerving is caused by a side wind or crosswind, that is wind blowing on either side of your RV. And that swerving can add to the force of the wind and cause the travel trailer to tip over.

A straight-on wind poses a different issue. Head-on wind will make your RV feel bumpy. This is called bucking. While safer than side winds it is still not to be taken lightly.

It’s also important to understand how your particular vehicle behaves on the road because every RV is different in terms of balance and weight. Therefore it can take different levels of wind before it becomes a problem. However, If you experience either of these situations pull over and wait for the wind to calm down. It’s not worth risking your life, or others, due to wind-related issues.

How Much Does Towing In The Wind Change Gas Mileage?

Towing an RV in windy conditions can significantly affect your vehicle’s gas mileage. The exact amount of change will vary depending on several factors, such as the weight and size of the towed vehicle, the wind speed and direction, and the type of vehicle you are driving.

  • Weight. The heavier the trailer, the more strain it will put on the vehicle’s engine and transmission. The additional strain on the engine causes it to work harder to maintain its speed, which can cause increased fuel consumption.
  • Wind speed and direction. High winds can drag the vehicle and trailer substantially, making it even more challenging for the engine to maintain speed. A headwind will cause increased resistance, while a crosswind can push against the side of the trailer, creating an uneven distribution of weight and affecting handling.
  • Type of vehicle. The type of vehicle being used for towing also plays a role in gas mileage. A larger, more powerful vehicle may have better towing capabilities but will consume more fuel than a smaller, lighter vehicle.

Can Wind Actually Tip An RV Over?

Yes, the wind can actually tip an RV over. Especially while driving. The force of the wind combined with the wind force generated by a moving RV or travel camper can create enough force to tip an RV over. If the wind exceeds 50 mph, it is a good idea to pull over and get off the road. An RV tipping over is not something you or anyone else on the road would like to see.

The likelihood of wind knocking over a parked RV is slim to none, but it will create a somewhat rocking feeling if you don’t have leveling jacks. The last thing you want on your vacation is your living space to feel like a turbulent airplane.

Leveling jacks can help to stabilize your RV in addition to keeping your RV level. One way to try to prevent the full strength of wind from hitting the side of your RV when parked is to park it so the front or rear is facing the wind.

Driving Tips for Windy Conditions

The best tip for driving in windy conditions is to know your limitations. Driving limitations are all about what you are comfortable with. Some owners don’t drive in winds over 20 mph while others are comfortable driving in winds up to 40 mph. Understanding your limitations is essential when determining your comfort zone so you know when it’s time to pull over for a bit. Besides that, one of the things that can help immensely is investing in a sound suspension system. This includes things like installing anti-sway bars in the front and back of the vehicle as well as making sure you have good shocks installed.

Quite often, it is also raining when there is excessive wind. So good tires with deep treads can help reduce how much you might slide on the road. When dealing with high winds, it is vital to be more attentive to your surroundings when driving. For example, if you are driving in a heavily wooded area, the wind will not affect your vehicle as much as when you are driving in an open area. Just be aware of this and don’t let the open area catch you by surprise.

Some other great tips for driving in the wind are:

High Wind Sign

Be on the Lookout for Wind Restriction Warnings on the Highway Signs – very often the state highway signs on bridges or overpasses wind restrictions.

The Lighter Your RV the Greater the Risk of Tipping Over – Be aware of your RV weight. If you are traveling without supplies on board your RV will be lighter and at higher risk for tipping over.

Driver Slower – Remember that the faster you drive the more friction your RV creates with the air. Add that to the wind friction in high winds and enough energy can be created to tip you over.

Pull Over and Park – If it’s too windy just wait it out. No destination is so important that it can’t wait a day.

Check the Weather When Planning Your Trip – If you check the weather before you hit the road you may be able to drive around storms rather than straight into them.

Factors to Consider When Driving Your RV in Windy Conditions

The two biggest factors to consider when driving in the wind are RV weight and wind direction.

What is your RV weight when loaded? In other words, did you pack heavy for a long trip or light for a weekend getaway? Obviously, the heavier the RV, the less likely wind is to become a factor. On the other hand, if the RV is lighter, you will have to pay closer attention to wind as it can become a factor with a smaller vehicle.

The factors to consider when driving your RV is the direction of the wind. Is the wind blowing toward your RV or against the side? And is the wind causing you to leave your lane while driving? Swerving out of your lane can be just as dangerous as tipping over. Especially if there are other drivers on the road.

Safe Driving Speeds for Windy Conditions

Because of the different shapes, sizes, and weights of RVs, there is no “one speed fits all” answer. The more susceptible your vehicle is to the wind, the slower you will need to go. It is also suggested that you try to stay about 10-20 mph below the posted speed limit. As for heavier vehicles, it can’t hurt to knock 5-10 MPH off your normal speed just to be safe and not take any unnecessary risks.

Examples of RVs more likely to be affected by wind are fifth wheels, travel trailers, pop-ups, and in some cases, even class Bs. Vehicles that are large enough that they typically won’t be heavily affected by a small amount of wind include large, heavy fifth wheels, class A and Class C RVs. However, that doesn’t mean wind can’t affect your vehicle, and it is still beneficial to be safe and take precautions.

RELATED READING: Check out our article called 10 Most Googled Travel Trailer Camping Questions to see what most people want to know about travel trailers.

When Is It Too Windy For An RV?

Generally speaking, wind over 50 mph is too much wind to safely drive your RV. But, if the wind is causing you to lose control of your RV then you should pull over and wait out the wind. It simply isn’t worth continuing on if you know you are not in control of the RV. If you know ahead of time that wind is in the forecast for your trip, it may not be a bad idea to attempt to postpone your trip or drive around a storm.


How Much Wind Can A Parked RV Withstand?

Many factors can affect how much wind a parked RV can withstand. 

Considering these factors is essential when choosing where to park your RV and preparing for severe weather.

  • Size and weight. The first thing to consider is your RV’s size and weight. Larger, heavier RVs will be more wind-resistant than smaller, lighter ones. They have more surface area and mass to withstand strong winds.
  • RV’s orientation. The direction the RV faces can make a big difference in handling wind gusts. For example, if your RV faces the wind directly, it will experience more force on its front end and may risk tipping over. If it faces perpendicular to the wind, it may be more stable.
  • Parked terrain. When parking your RV, you should also consider the type of terrain. RVs parked on flat, level ground fare better in strong winds than on a slope or uneven surface. The ground’s angle and condition can also affect your RV’s stability and balance.
  • Weather. Weather also significantly affects how much wind an RV can withstand. To prepare for strong winds, take additional precautions, such as stabilizing jacks, securing awnings and slide-outs, and ensuring that your RV faces the wind for maximum stability.
  • Structural integrity. The construction and structural integrity of your RV are also crucial factors. Properly sealing and regularly maintaining all seals and seams can prevent wind and water from entering your RV. Inspecting the roof for any damage or weak spots is essential, as these can quickly become vulnerable to high winds.

What are Wind Restrictions?

In some areas, the local government implements wind restrictions, which substantially limit the traffic allowed on the roads while the wind is heavy. They typically restrict big trucks and RVs. This information is essential to check before departing for your trip.

Otherwise, you could be in for an unfriendly surprise. Wind restrictions are usually implemented when there are winds of 50 mph or more for 10 minutes or more. Certain bridges also utilize wind restrictions, especially if they span over water because wind gusts are more likely in open areas. Please make sure you are doing your research before departing for your trip to ensure you won’t run into any issues.

The wind is not something you should take lightly, and while the impact is different for different vehicles, it still affects everyone. It is best to use common sense while driving in heavy winds. If your RV feels out of control at all, it’s time to pull over. It’s also important to keep an eye on road signs for wind restrictions too. Hopefully, this article acted as a guide for how to handle windy conditions as an RV owner, be safe and happy traveling.

Do 5th Wheels Have Less Sway When Towing?

Towing sway can be a major concern for drivers. It affects the vehicle’s handling stability and fuel consumption.

Fifth-wheel trailers have become popular among RVers because of their spacious and luxurious design, but do they have less sway when being towed?

One major advantage of fifth-wheel trailers is their design. They are hitched directly over the truck’s rear axle, which provides better stability than travel trailers at the back of the vehicle. The closer the distance between the two vehicles, the more stable the connection. 

Another reason fifth-wheels sway less while towing is their lower center of gravity compared to other trailers. With most of the weight being over the truck’s rear axle, there is less chance for the trailer to sway side-to-side. 

Are Airstreams Better For Towing In The Wind?

Towing an RV can be challenging in any weather condition, but strong winds can make the task even more difficult. 

When planning a trip in your RV, it’s important to consider how windy conditions could affect your journey. 

But what about the type of RV you’re towing? Does it matter?

Airstreams have gained recognition for their iconic silver bullet shape and sleek design. 

However, besides their aesthetic appeal, many believe Airstreams are better for towing in windy conditions than other RVs.

Aerodynamic Design

The aerodynamic design of Airstreams makes them better for towing in the wind. The curved shape and smooth exterior help to reduce wind resistance, making it easier for the RV to cut through strong winds. 

Other RVs may have more flat surfaces that can catch and create drag in high winds.

Weight Distribution

Airstreams’ low center of gravity helps stabilize the trailer when it is towed at higher speeds or in windy conditions. Even when driving through powerful gusts of wind, your Airstream is less likely to sway or lose balance.

Towing Stability

Besides their aerodynamic design and weight distribution, Airstreams have a unique suspension system called the “rubber torsion axle.” 

Incorporating shock absorbers helps to dampen shocks and vibrations while driving, resulting in a smoother ride. 

It also contributes to the overall stability and control of the trailer when towing, especially in windy conditions.

Ease of Maneuvering

Airstreams are known for being easy to maneuver on the road. The compact size and streamlined design make navigating through narrow roads or tight spaces easier. 

Making quick adjustments in position or direction on the road can be helpful when facing strong winds while towing.

Final Words About Driving Your RV In Windy Conditions

Driving or towing an RV is a huge responsibility. Add in windy conditions and things get even more serious.

As with any vehicle type and any adverse driving conditions, adjusting to the conditions is key. If driving in poor conditions can be avoided, that is always the best bet. If you do find yourself gripping the wheel a little tighter, go slow, stay alert, and as they say you’ll get there when you get there.

Related Reading:

Travel Trailer Turning Radius Tips
How Much Does RV Insurance Cost?
21 Must Have RV Accessories for a New Camper or Travel Trailer

Mike Scarpignato – Bio

Mike Scarpignato created RVBlogger.com over five years ago in 2018 to share all we have learned about RV camping.

Mike is an avid outdoorsman with decades of experience tent camping and traveling in his 2008 Gulf Stream Conquest Class C RV and 2021 Thor Challenger Class A motorhome.

We attend RV Shows and visit RV dealerships all across the country to tour and review drivable motorhomes and towable trailers to provide the best evaluations of these RVs in our blog articles and YouTube videos.

We are 3/4-time RVers who created RVBlogger.com to provide helpful information about all kinds of RVs and related products, gear, camping memberships, tips, hacks and advice.

Mike and Susan from RVBlogger at an RV Show touring reviewing and rating RVs

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11 thoughts on “When is it Too Windy to Drive an RV?”

  1. I make it a point to fill my fresh water tank before leaving home. Keeping your center-of-gravity low is very helpful for stable driving! When leaving for home, I may even leave the grey water tank full

  2. Also, remember that a cold wind can create icy patches on the highway. A number of years ago, my in-laws were returning home from their winter campground in Texas. In Ohio they were driving across a bridge when they were struck broadside by a strong gust of wind. Although the main highway was only damp, the cold wind over and under the overpass has caused it to ice over. Faster than you can say “oh sh…” they found themselves sliding down the interstate on their side in a Ford F-250 pulling a 30ft 5th wheel. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured, but truck and trailer were a write off. The whole incident could have been avoided if they had only waited a couple of hours for the wind to die down, or the temperature to warm up.

  3. I invested in a Hensley Hitch which some folks think is overkill, but it gives a very stable ride with my 22 ft travel trailer and makes for less stress on me.

  4. If you find you are passing the semi trucks because it’s windy then most likely you are going to fast. If you see semi trucks blown over in the side of the road, I have in Wyoming regularly, you should shadow the ones that are still upright. It’s a sign from above.

    • That is a great way to evaluate the wind conditions!
      Thanks again Gipsie!

  5. I swear by sway bar’s; I used them on two different 24 footer ‘s . I bought an 32 ‘ now first trip didn’t used a crosswind gust hit me on my left side knocked me into on coming lane a foot. Scary bought new sway bar for next trip ; will not go without ever again!!!

    • That’s very good advice for combating the wind while pulling a travel trailer!

      Thanks for the info Tony!

      • Hi Gipsie,
        A lot of folks say the sway bars make a big difference.
        Thanks for reading the article and for your comment!

  6. My TT is just under 27′ long, and the dealer told me a sway bar should not be necessary.
    Unless there is no wind and I’m only going on a short trip (under 25 miles), I use one sway bar.
    Windy? I add the second sway bar.
    Even passing trucks don’t bother me.

    • Hi Gary,
      That’s awesome! Does your Travel Trailer have dual axels?


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