There's a storm coming.
They say that the winds will be gusting up to 65mph.
That's quite daunting when you are living inside of an RV.
You're wondering if your stationary rig can be flipped from the high winds.
The quick answer is: you might want to be somewhere else.
Depending on what kind of RV you have (What are the different classes of RVs?), whether or not you are fully exposed broadside to the wind, if you are using stabilizers, yada, yada, yada, you may be in trouble.
So Am I Flippable Or Not?
There's a lot that has to be factored in for your RV to be flipped.
The size of the RV, its weight, the direction and duration of the wind and windbreaks are just a few factors.
If you think about it, a rig is made to be able to sustain winds it encounters during driving speeds.
We are only talking head-on wind.
Mother nature has other plans when she blows and it's not always coming in a straight line - it may be coming broadside.
Want to put your mind at ease?
You've come to the wrong place.
Read this study (PDF) on the effect of wind on vehicles.
Then proceed to have nightmares about your RV tipping over in high winds.
Are we being dramatic? We wish we were.
Your RV Is Pretty Safe In Winds Under 53 MPH.
Yes, you read that correctly.
53 miles an hour!
That's for an 18-foot travel trailer.
Motorhomes theoretically can withstand (slightly) higher wind speeds.
In the study, scientists concluded this:
"They reported minimum overturning wind speeds (perpendicular to the vehicle) of 24 m/s (53 mi/hr) for a 5.5 m [18 foot] travel trailer, 29 m/s (65 mi/hr) for a 9 m [29.5 foot] motor home, 33 m/s (73 mi/hr) for a 13,600 kg semi-trailer, and 45 m/s (101 mi/hr) for a 5 m [16.4 foot] camper van [class B]."
Not sure about you, but reading the above section of the study was a HUGE eye-opener.
Camp Addict co-founder Marshall spent a couple of months in Albuquerque in the spring of 2014, right after he went full-time.
For those of you that don't know, the ABQ experiences some very high winds in the springtime.
Marshall had the 'pleasure' of experiencing broadside winds close to 60 miles an hour in his 24-foot travel trailer and felt at times he was close to tipping over.
Now he understands why!
He had his stabilizers down which most likely helped keep things upright, but still, it wasn't any fun.
How To Prepare For Heavy Winds In Your RV
Here are some tips for feeling the wind as little as possible in your rig:
- If possible, point your rig in the direction the wind is coming from. This will greatly reduce the impact compared to if you are getting hit broadside.
- Stay informed ahead of time. Keep a weather radio handy or have alerts sent to you from your weather app.
- Put those slides in! Not only can slides get very noisy if they have an awning on top, but putting them in reduces the real estate that the wind can hit.
- This should be a no-brainer but put your stabilizing jacks down. It helps a lot.
- Keep your your tow vehicle (RV hitch) connected to your trailer if possible, or hitch-up. Being attached to another large object can lessen the impact somewhat.
- If your motorhome has air bags release the air so that you have less bounce.
- Park next to a wall or hillside to potentially lessen wind impact.
- Move your rig if you are parked under trees. This is VITAL. Limbs have gone through the roofs of rigs many a time, creating major damage and/or totaling a rig.
It took tornado force winds to topple the RV's below, at a dealership.
Most of them survived only because they were sheltered by the building.
Notice how the exposed trailers are the ones that tipped over.
If you know there's a tornado in your area, you should try to get to a more secure shelter!
Driving your RV in the wind is another story.
This article is only about being stationary in wind.
You should avoid driving in high winds, especially if you are going to be hit broadside by the wind.
A vehicle in motion is subject to different aerodynamic forces and you don't really want to be hit broadside by a 60 mile an hour gust of wind when you are traveling at freeway speeds.
Bottom line is be aware that you are in a slab-sided box on wheels.
Strong wind hitting the side of your rig has the potential to make things interesting.
Do what you can to avoid having high winds hit the side of your RV.
Now, go camp in peace, once you find a nice tall stable building to park your rig next to...
Author: Kelly Beasley
I dedicated myself to living the full-time RV life for over 6.5 years, immersing myself in the unique quirks and joys of the boondocking lifestyle and gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience along the way. In December 2020, my business partner and I made the transition to part-time RVing, but in January 2023, we hit the road once again, this time in our trusty vans. My mission is to help others embrace the RVing lifestyle with confidence and excitement, armed with the knowledge and resources needed to make the most of their adventures. I believe that the more you know, the more you can truly appreciate and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of the open road.