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Old 05-13-2021, 02:02 PM   #1
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Traveling in the wind

When pulling your travel trailer on a trip, do you have a rule when it comes to stopping to let the winds subside before continuing on your trip?
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Old 05-13-2021, 02:47 PM   #2
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We don't have a "hard and fast rule" about it, but we do tend to avoid travel when it's super windy. Probably sustained in excess of 30 mph, and I'm probably looking to get out depending on the forecast, our travel plans and the road conditions.

Other than that, I base it on what I can feel. I towed my trailer back to storage one night as a storm was blowing in. About 4 miles to my storage place? Maybe 5? I was just about exhausted after that trip. The wind was howling cross-ways. Probably at least 30-40 mph sustained with gusts up higher than that. The trailer was leaning pretty good. In hindsight, I shoulda just waited it out.

Coming home from Colorado a few years ago, driving across N. NM W to E with a pretty hefty North wind. DW pulled driving duty during that little part of that adventure. She kept complaining the rig was "all over the place". I had to keep telling her to slow down and let the equipment work. I don't know what the wind speed was that day, but it had to be 20-30 mph sustained?

But if it's a good tail wind, I've been known to "ride the wind". Coming back to S. TX after Hurricane Harvey a few years back, we got stuck in OK for a few days waiting for him to finish up so we could come home. I watched the storm, and the intended track, and we left just when the wind turned out of the North right along I-35. I had my truck towing my 28BHBE up over 80 easily and got the best fuel economy ever! As we got closer to home, the wind was more Westerly, which was cross-ways to our travel path. I got pretty tired that last 2 hrs of the drive, slowed way down and fought pretty hard to keep her between the lines.

Gotta love a tail wind, but cross-winds are tough. And everyone's comfort level is different. Across areas with potentially high winds, you'll see wind socks, and warning signs about cross-winds. Heed them when available, and if in doubt, sit it out. I tend to follow truckers sometimes too. If those guys are sitting it out, I have NO business being out in it.
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Old 05-13-2021, 03:17 PM   #3
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25 mph max for me with my 18’ trailer.
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Old 05-13-2021, 03:19 PM   #4
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We got off the Interstate once where we had a 30-40mph tailwind. Turned to go south and now it was a direct crosswind. We slowed to about 35 to go the 10 miles to the campground...pretty intense driving for a while.

Once I was behind a semi in a crosswind and the trailers rear wheels were coming off the ground about 2-3 feet! That would be the time to park it.
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Old 05-14-2021, 09:07 PM   #5
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We saw 2 travel trailers and 1 semi on their sides near China Lake in California. There were still dudes in their lifted trucks hauling campers going down the road even with police pulling semis off the highway. Cops had the trucks line up in the median facing into the wind. The container truck we were sitting behind in traffic had it's tires lifting off the pavement on one side and being held there until the wind would subside.

If I'm going to tip over I'd rather it be while parked then trying my luck going down the road, even at low speed. I don't need to be anywhere that bad.
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Old 05-15-2021, 05:19 AM   #6
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We saw 2 travel trailers and 1 semi on their sides near China Lake in California. There were still dudes in their lifted trucks hauling campers going down the road even with police pulling semis off the highway. Cops had the trucks line up in the median facing into the wind. The container truck we were sitting behind in traffic had it's tires lifting off the pavement on one side and being held there until the wind would subside.

If I'm going to tip over I'd rather it be while parked then trying my luck going down the road, even at low speed. I don't need to be anywhere that bad.
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Old 05-15-2021, 07:56 AM   #7
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I think there are large number of factors, involved here. While I agree that high sustained winds make towing more challenging, it has been my first hand viewing experience that gusts are what causes catastrophic issues. We commonly have high winds here coming down the mountains. Trucks and RVs never flip from those winds alone. They flip from a either too high of a traveling speed, in the wind. Or, they flip from high gusts. The combination is worse, so slow down.

The semi's you see with one side in the air, are either empty or lightly loaded, in all but the highest gusts. For an RV, I feel it is less safe in gusty winds with either a lightly loaded trailer, or a high center of gravity load. Packing low and heavy will help in wind, just by the weight and lowering the center of gravity. A full load of canned goods in upper cabinets won't help.

RVs are not all the same, either. A class C has a heavy chassis and an engine/trans. Wind certainly affects their driving experience, but flipping one purely by a wind gust is another story. Trailers vary from low profile popups to high profile 5'ers. They vary in length from short to really long.

TVs vary in capability an weight, helping or limiting the planted nature of the front of the trailer. Towing a 20 foot TT with a small SUV, or 40 foot TT sail in high winds with a 150/1500 isn't your best bet. But towing a 30 foot TT with a 250/350/2500/3500 might well be OK.

Even tire pressure can be more of an issue in high winds. Allowing more flex at the base of the TV and trailer just gets the ball rolling.

Certainly not an engineer, but I have driven through many high wind situations that others have failed, to negotiate. So, I think personal responsibility can due diligence have a large part in this. Personal comfort is worth something, as well. You just need to figure out what you, your TV and your load can handle. When you reach any of those limits pull over and wait for some respite from Mother Nature.
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Old 05-16-2021, 05:05 PM   #8
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I like all of the information here. All of it is great! Now, let's say you decide the wind has broken your threshold of safety and you decide to get off the road. Where do you pull off for your stop? A truck stop? Rest Area? What if the wind event lasts for say more than a day?
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Old 05-16-2021, 05:11 PM   #9
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Wind = fatigue. I would factor that in more than focusing on a critical number of miles per hour, which sounds good on paper but is fairly difficult in practice.
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Old 05-16-2021, 05:41 PM   #10
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I like all of the information here. All of it is great! Now, let's say you decide the wind has broken your threshold of safety and you decide to get off the road. Where do you pull off for your stop? A truck stop? Rest Area? What if the wind event lasts for say more than a day?
If you feel the wind may last for a day or more, I'd find an RV park in the area, if possible.

As for the OP's question, if you see 18 wheelers pulling over, it might be a good idea to do the same.

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Old 05-17-2021, 09:09 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Rodek View Post
I like all of the information here. All of it is great! Now, let's say you decide the wind has broken your threshold of safety and you decide to get off the road. Where do you pull off for your stop? A truck stop? Rest Area? What if the wind event lasts for say more than a day?
When we had to wait out a storm, we were already camped at a private CG on our last scheduled night on the road. Every day, I'd go down to the office and say "give me one more night". CG Staff was cool about it thankfully, and the park wasn't full, so they were glad to have us.

In a situation where I'd have to stop "on the side of the road", any of those options would work for us, and we've used all of them before for different situations. If it's going to be more than one night, I'd look for a local CG though.

This is one HUGE advantage to having a motorhome. We can pretty much stop wherever, whenever, and for as long as we need without much trouble. All we need is fuel.

When I was towing a trailer, I'd have my generator and 2 Jerry cans of fuel with me for those kinds of stops, but usually only if we were going "cross-country". It was a little less convenient, but again, we could stop wherever we needed to and be in relative comfort indefinitely, so long as we had fuel...

This is also why I have insisted since the beginning that our rig be 100% livable with the slides IN. We've over-nighted in plenty of "side-of-the-road" type stops (in our trailer AND our MH), and since we have pretty much full access to everything we need, it's easy to do.
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Old 05-17-2021, 09:24 AM   #12
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I would have had one answer before last year. But my wife was at the wheel of our Class C last summer when a sudden blast pushed us into the ditch.

She was moving about 55mph on I-25 northbound and we had just crossed over into Wyoming.

After we all got out and changed our underwear, I started looking for a way out of the ditch. By the Grace of God, she had managed to keep it upright and find the one spot of the ditch where the slope was gentle enough that it didn't put us on our side.


I was in the back and was tossed around so violently I was sure we were going over.


That one episode now means we have "Windy", the app on our phones, and if it starts blowing, we pull over. Try to put our nose into the wind, but we pull over.
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Old 05-19-2021, 12:13 PM   #13
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If you feel the wind may last for a day or more, I'd find an RV park in the area, if possible.

As for the OP's question, if you see 18 wheelers pulling over, it might be a good idea to do the same.

Murff
I am bound to hurt feelings by saying this, but I don't take my safety cues from the average tractor trailer driver these days. Unfortunately, some of the least safe driving in adverse conditions is performed by professional drivers.

Point is, if you wait for their decision on whether to stay or go ... it may be too late.
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Old 05-19-2021, 12:20 PM   #14
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I am bound to hurt feelings by saying this, but I don't take my safety cues from the average tractor trailer driver these days. Unfortunately, some of the least safe driving in adverse conditions is performed by professional drivers.

Point is, if you wait for their decision on whether to stay or go ... it may be too late.
I don't disagree with this. Those drivers are out there to churn miles and make money, so sometimes they may take chances leisurely vacationers may be less willing to take.

That being said, their behavior is but one cue. If I'm bopping along, and I see some kind of weather, and I see a bunch of trucks making an exodus, I probably want to pay attention. Knowing they'll be a bit more aggressive, if THOSE guys aren't willing to continue, I should definitely consider this in my decision of whether to proceed.

Just one more bit to consider in the decision matrix.
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Old 05-19-2021, 12:51 PM   #15
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That's true, CamperBob.
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Old 05-19-2021, 01:59 PM   #16
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That's true, CamperBob.
And, that was my point.

No feelings hurt, Vista.

After traveling across Northern Colorado a few years ago with hailstorms dogging us, SWMBO noticed the Big Rigs were pulling off the boulevard and parking. We found a not busy service station and bought fuel and stayed under the pump canopy as the last hailstorm, and heavy wind went by us. Station canopy saved my skylight and roof vents.

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Old 05-19-2021, 03:05 PM   #17
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And, that was my point.

No feelings hurt, Vista.

After traveling across Northern Colorado a few years ago with hailstorms dogging us, SWMBO noticed the Big Rigs were pulling off the boulevard and parking. We found a not busy service station and bought fuel and stayed under the pump canopy as the last hailstorm, and heavy wind went by us. Station canopy saved my skylight and roof vents.

Murff
Yeah, I just don't want folks thinking the inverse is true: "If the big rigs are still out, it must be safe"!
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Old 05-20-2021, 11:16 AM   #18
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It's often very windy in CO. OFTEN. Going through "South Park," in particular, almost always means driving in wind. On our motorcycle, we'd often find ourselves leaned over 15 to 20 degrees just to go in a straight line. But South Park has some great boondocking.

So my rule of thumb is to drop my speed substantially (65 mph posted speed limit, but I'd drive 40 mph). In these cases, I have to pull over to let folks pass pretty often, but the RV has no difficulty traving safely in high winds and theses low speeds.

CAVEAT: South Park itself is a vast, wide-open mountain prairie...home to many ranches, etc. The road itself is a 2-lane. What you don't face here is turbulance around under and over-passes, mountain wind funneling, and so on. While wind speeds will vary, the only heavy turbulance comes from oncoming semis and other large vehicles, and you can prepare for this. There are many long, straight stretches, so an overtaking semi can be dealt with by just slowing down a lot to allow for a quick pass while the RV is at a low speed.

Since driving in wind is so common out here, the idea of just parking the rig is impractical. Instead, adjusting driving style can make it safe to travel in wind...unless the semis are parked...and then that's a matter of whether the wind can topple your rig while you're stopped.
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Old 05-20-2021, 12:06 PM   #19
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When ugly ol' ladies fly by riding a bike with a dog named Toto, we pull over.
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Old 05-20-2021, 01:07 PM   #20
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Jeremiah Johnson.."Keep your eyes on the skyline and your nose into the wind" We were on 2 lane road hwy 12 in Montana some cross wind but doable
Looked over at the foot hills and saw a large gust coming dust rain etc, pulled over where there was a large high bank on both sides of the road, it mostly passed over us but if we would have been in the open it could have been trouble. I agree with those who talk about the danger of wind gusts.
My two cents follow Johnson's advice.
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