Even though an RV seems all big and tough, extreme wind velocity can end up toppling it over. Again, the overall weather and velocity of the RV itself play a big part in how the wind will affect the RV.
Normally, RVs can withstand up to 125 km/h or 80 mph wind velocity in a parked condition. But if the RV is on the move, even velocity as low as 10 mph can end up being dangerous for the vehicle. And as the velocity increases, so do the chances of toppling over, especially gusty side winds.
However, that’s not all that goes into deciding how hazardous high wind velocity is for an RV. Let’s find out how the wind affects an RV to figure out how much velocity the vehicle can actually withstand.
Is There A Certain Wind Limit For An RV?
There’s no precise wind limit for an RV if that’s what you are asking. It’s more of a general rule of thumb-like condition that everyone abides by. After all, when you’re on the road, you will definitely figure out whether it’s too hazardous to drive or not.
But as it goes, you can put forward a range within which it’s inadvisable to drive an RV. For instance – RV’s can withstand a lot more velocity at a stationary position. The wind will have to have a velocity of at least 80 mph to cause visible disturbances to a still RV.
Moving RVs, however, is a completely different case. Due to the lack of inertia, they are much more vulnerable. As a result, even 20 mph velocity can cause the RV to get disoriented. And if the velocity goes over 50 mph, you might just face some serious issues.
Do keep in mind that simple factors like temperature, road condition, RV material, etc. highly influence the overall decision.
How Do Windy Conditions Affect A Moving RV?
Strong winds can slow down a moving RV. And in extreme situations, high winds can cause a moving RV to topple over.
To take proper steps, it’s important to know why windy conditions are termed hazardous for vehicles like RV.
Broad Side Impact
Big vehicles like buses, RVs, etc. are pretty much known for their bulky shape with a broad interface towards the front. And what does that translate to in physics terms? The RV has a large surface area at the front with no significant bumps to take the pressure off.
As a result, when the high wind is hitting the surface, the impact is getting distributed all over the vehicle. Now, you may think that’s a good thing, right? Concentrated impact force would have been much more dangerous.
But, no. You forgot that the wind velocity itself is hitting the surface from all possible points. So, even when the impact force is dispersing, it’s actually merging with the existing force from all other points. It’s as if your RV just bumped into a giant shield made of high wind.
You can certainly imagine what happens next. Since the impact force is consistent throughout the broad side surface, it will effectively push back the RV. And if that force is strong enough, the whole RV can topple over against its weight.
In the broad side-impact, I explained what happens when the wind directly hits the front end of the RV. But the wind is not always going to come from that direction only, is it?
Precisely. Trailer sway is a condition that occurs due to extreme side-to-side wind impact. Especially when the wind hits the RV from both sides in an unbalanced way. The RV will begin to sway violently due to the continuous impact and will end up completely unstable.
How Can You Stabilize Your RV During High Winds?
Well, you now know why windy conditions are risky for RVs. But what to do if you end up in the middle of such a situation? Here are a few ways to slowly stabilize an RV when it’s extremely windy outside:
The resistance level of a stationary RV is much higher than that of a moving one. So, needless to say, which one is the better option when high wind enters the equation.
If the weather starts to get crazy, find a safe enough spot and just park your RV there. That way, your RV will get to withstand much greater wind velocity than it would have while moving. Wait for surrounding situations to get a little better before driving the RV again.
Deploy The Stabilizers
Pretty much all heavy vehicles like RVs come with in-built stabilizers to, well, stabilize them in a complex situation. So, make sure to deploy these stabilizers right before parking to get back in control of your RV.
Stabilizers work by creating extra contact points between the RV and the ground i.e. road. You should find pre-installed stabilizers in the underbody of the RV. But if you don’t have them or want better ones, you can check out the mechanical shops for added counterparts.
Even Distribution of Weight
The ultimate reason why a vehicle topples over is the sudden disruption in overall balance. And not having an even distribution of weight plays a huge role in that.
So, it’s important to level your RV properly to stabilize it. If you are carrying heavy items, make sure to disperse them in a more or less even way. Something as simple as that during prepping can save you loads of time during emergencies.
Precautions To Follow While Driving An RV In Windy Conditions
Finally, here are a few precautions that can help you out while driving an RV in windy conditions.
Use A Buffer
If you are using a carry-on or if the RV itself is a travel retailer, you can use the entire thing as a buffer. For instance – you can attach the travel retailer to the actual tow vehicle for better stability.
And while you’re at that, make sure you anchor the two vehicles in the same direction. If done properly, the combined weight will help to keep your RV grounded much longer. And the vehicles will face head-on whatever wind velocity tries to topple them over.
Wind velocity becomes crazy high in stormy weather conditions. And when they are that high, they are super destructive. So, unless you want the insides of your RV to look like a tornado ran over them, keep the windows closed.
This applies to all the ventilation outlets as well. If you are driving through a windy place, it’s best to keep all the possible open places closed. It’s an important precaution to follow so that outside dirt and debris don’t get inside easily.
Retract All Awnings
Finally, like closing windows, retract all of your awnings if they are out. And not just awnings, anything that’s handed outside which can be retracted back into the RV.
The reason? For one – retractable slide-outs may just break and fly off if the velocity is high enough. Plus, they get in the way of the RV stabilizing itself. So, best to retract these parts under windy conditions.
Turns out, it highly depends on whether the RV is in a moving or stationary state.
And even though the withstanding limits drastically decrease while in motion, it’s entirely possible to prevent hazardous outcomes. As long as you can keep your RV stabilized and the velocity in control, you don’t have to worry about the windy conditions.