The first tip for how to drive your RV in poor weather conditions is to not drive your RV in poor weather conditions.
Check the forecast and if there’s a threat of severe weather, leave it parked in the driveway and delay that trip for a while. Stay at the campground a little longer, even overnight if you have to. If you’re on the road, then pull over into a rest stop or at the next exit and wait it out.
If the conditions are not suitable for driving your RV, then don’t drive your RV. It’s as simple as that.
Having said that, there are times when driving your RV in poor weather conditions is unavoidable. When you’re caught in those situations, there are certain tips that can help you navigate safely and arrive at your destination.
First and foremost, slow down and increase the distance between you and the driver in front of you. Think of what it’s like driving a passenger vehicle in severe weather. Now, factor in the additional weight, height, width and length of your RV and you can understand how poor weather can exaggerate its unique driving requirements.
Keep in mind that if you have to slow down so much that you are now a hazard for other drivers, then you should pull over and wait it out. In addition, if you do choose to pull over,
avoid stopping under or near trees, power lines or other structures which could damage your RV should they fall.
Second, turn on your lights. Many states require motorists to turn on their exterior lights during a rainstorm. This is simply a good practice no matter what state you’re in, as the lights increase the level of safety for yourself and other motorists.
Third, in the event of high winds, there is simply no better course of action than to get off the road and wait it out. Find the nearest exit and seek the safest spot available. If you insist on trying to drive through the storm, your RV will become a sail and high winds will you’ll be fighting to keep it under control. Worse, a powerful enough wind gust will flip over your RV, as well as you and your occupants.
Fourth, never drive through standing water, especially under overpasses. You have no idea how deep that water may be. If you’re driving through what amounts to be a puddle, be aware of hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is when your vehicle tires no longer are in contact with the road, instead travelling over a thin layer of water. If you are in a hydroplaning situation do not apply the brakes, as this could cause you to lose control of your RV. Instead, simply lift your foot off the gas pedal to slow down until the tires regain traction on the road.
Fifth, in foggy conditions, slow down and make sure your lights are on, but refrain from turning on your hazard, or caution, lights. Other motorists might see your blinking lights and mistakingly think you are about to make a turn. Again, if you slow down so much that you
feel you must turn on your hazard lights, then you’re probably going too slow and creating a hazard for others.
Sixth, keep in mind that your motorhome, as well as your truck/SUV towing your RV, are most likely rear wheel drive. This means it behaves much differently in severe weather than your front-wheel drive passenger vehicle. Be aware of the difference and drive accordingly.
Finally, if you are intent on driving your RV during severe winter weather such as ice and snow, please reconsider your actions. Do you really want to make life miserable? Do you really want to jeopardize your health? Do you really want to put your RV at risk?
Instead, I’d like you to sit down at home and gaze out the front window. While enjoying the lovely snowflakes adding to the peaceful layer of snow blanketing your surroundings, every now and then you might catch a glimpse of some idiot trying to drive in snow and ice. Sliding and slipping and spinning his wheels, eventually that idiot will take out your mailbox and come to a nose-down stop in your ditch. When that happens, open a cold beverage and toast yourself, because you’re smarter than that idiot – you stayed home.
See you next week when we talk about “Games to Play when RV Camping (for kids and adults).”
Gr8LakesCamper celebrates the world of RV Camping in the Great Lakes region. Gather around the campfire and share tips, ideas and stories on RVing, camping and travel destinations. Follow Gr8LakesCamper on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and the Gr8LakesCamper blog.