With the explosive popularity of travelling by recreational vehicle (RV), many people new to the lifestyle have not yet experienced driving such a large, heavy vehicle in high wind. One especially important thing to keep in mind is that handling an RV in high wind is nothing like driving a passenger vehicle in the same circumstances.
Typical Behaviour of an RV in High Wind
The height of an RV compared to a car means that it can respond more like a sailboat than a heavy-duty vehicle on especially windy days. You may find that your RV rocks back and forth as you try to drive. This experience is already unnerving, but you should know that strong wind can push your RV into another lane or even flip it over on its side or top.
The best way to avoid an accident on Canadian highways is to avoid travelling when the weather forecast includes high winds. However, that is not always possible since some weather patterns can develop with little warning. All you can do in that situation is control the RV through slowing down and careful steering.
Depending on the severity of the wind, you might want to consider getting your RV to the nearest parking lot and waiting there until the windstorm passes. We recommend that you spend at least a few hours preparing for your first cross-country RV trip by driving in as many weather conditions as possible.
Safety Tips for Keeping Your RV Under Control during Windy Weather
Since strong gusts of wind can come on suddenly, it is a good idea to keep both hands on the steering wheel as you travel through Canada. The problem with keeping only one hand on the wheel is that you may panic when you feel strong wind blowing against your RV and over-correct. Unfortunately, steering too aggressively can cause you to lose control of your RV completely. You may also not be able to get both hands on the steering wheel fast enough when wind gusts seem to come out of nowhere.
Here are some other tips to incorporate when driving an RV in high wind.
- Slow down as much as you can without impeding the flow of traffic. Allow other drivers to pass you if they seem upset with your reduced speed but remain at this speed until you can safely manoeuvre your RV off the road.
- Stay even more alert than usual to the surrounding vehicles, especially other RVs and commercial 18-wheel trucks. Remember that drivers of these larger vehicles will probably be struggling as much as you are to keep their vehicle under control.
- Be mindful of things that can reduce the impact of the wind on your RV. Trees and concrete road barriers are two common examples. You will want to reduce your speed while driving the RV out of these more protected areas into wide open areas with little wind protection.
- If you cannot stop for an extended time, at least take breaks as often as you can. Trying to maintain control over a heavy-duty vehicle in high wind is stressful, and the stress will naturally affect your mind and body. While taking a break, be sure to stretch your arms and legs to relieve tension and focus on something more relaxing if possible.
You might consider installing a weather application in your RV if you plan to cover a lot of kilometres in your RV each season. The app details weather patterns at every point along your drive to help you anticipate or avoid driving in high wind. The most advanced weather applications allow you to avoid severe weather by changing your departure or anticipated arrival time to your destination. You will also want to ensure that you have emergency roadside assistance available should your RV become disabled.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to Wayfarer Insurance Group for additional driving safety tips or assistance with finding the best insurance coverage for your RV.