Pulling out of an RV campground only to find yourself towing a travel trailer in high winds is no joke.
For people who regularly end up needing to tow their trailer (or camper for that matter) when the storms are predicted, we’ve put together this guide to keep your family safe. We also advise when you should park up and wait out the perfect storm too.
Towing a Travel Trailer in High Winds
Towing a trailer in high winds or even when the outdoors is fairly breezy might give you pause.
However, the good news is that it’s not as bad potentially as handling fifth wheels in high winds. That’s typically worse because the greater length and especially the added height creates substantially greater wind resistance.
How Much Wind Can a Travel Trailer Withstand?
A travel trailer should be securely hitched to the truck. Something like a Ford F150 or F250 truck is ideal for towing. It does depend on how heavy your travel trailer is when fully loaded and the pulling capacity of your truck too.
When it’s securely hitched, then that provides added stability when stationary. However, what’s it like when towing a travel trailer in strong winds?
How Much Wind Does It Take to Flip a Trailer?
Overturning a trailer only requires strong gusts of wind of over 30-35 MPH to do so.
Sometimes, RVers get lucky driving over 60 MPH with a steady crosswind of 30 MPH without any difficulties. However, other drivers may find that too unnerving to attempt it themselves.
It can be easier to drive with a strong crosswind than with an equally defiant headwind. Certainly, a good tailwind is less of a problem, and the three types, it’s probably the easiest to drive through. Getting a pair of sway bars can help to stabilize and avoid sudden shifts in position when towing due to high winds.
The thing to look out for is whether the travel trailer has begun to wiggle as it’s being driven down the road. You’ll know how the hitch and trailer usually behave under normal towing conditions, so how is it behaving differently? The greater the movement, the more you should be slowing down because higher speeds can exacerbate the problem.
Read Also: Driving Class A RV in Windy Conditions
Also Read: How to Secure a Travel Trailer in High Winds
What is a Safe Speed to Pull a Travel Trailer?
The max speed towing a trailer is 50 MPH or below. It’s sometimes possible to ride (or glide) at 60 MPH, but that’s not for the faint of heart.
We would definitely say that if you’re new to towing a trailer or camper, then air on the side of caution. Don’t be in a rush to get anywhere! Slowing your roll to 30 MPH or so is going to be far more comfortable for the driver and other passengers than trying to push any RV speeds limits.
Besides this, all that bouncing around at higher speeds with the wind buffeting the trailer is going to make a mess inside. You’ll probably spend a while cleaning up if everything isn’t properly secured before heading out. So, it’s not worth towing any faster.
Towing Travel Trailer in 20 MPH Wind?
For reasonably modern travel trailers, a wind speed of 20 MPH isn’t so bad.
Many trailer owners living in states where the wind is regularly this gusty think nothing of it. However, it can be understandably unnerving for inexperienced people.
If it’s your first time, just drive slower than you normally would do. This can help to deal with potential potholes in the road that could put the trailer off-balance for a moment. Combined with a sudden gust with the trailer off-balance, it could lift one set of wheels completely off the ground. It’s best to avoid that.
What Wind Speed is Dangerous for Towing?
If the wind speed begins to edge nearer to 50 MPH, we would pull off and wait for the storm to pass.
It is just not worth risking the safety of the driver, passengers, and other vehicles and people on the road to get somewhere that little bit sooner.
Also, there’s a good reason why many states having informational displays on the side of the road advising all drivers to slow down due to high wind speeds. Heed this warning, otherwise, you may have an expensive repair bill come the morning.
Is a Larger Travel Trailer More Stable Than a Smaller One?
Not necessarily and often it’s not the case.
Wind resistance is the main problem when towing a trailer. A strong headwind when driving on the highway can cause the trailer to buck about. The larger the trailer, the greater the resistance. That’s ever truer with crosswinds.
While logic suggests that a camper or small travel trailer is lighter and so will bounce around when towing in high winds, it’s also true that they offer less wind resistance. The towing vehicle also takes the brunt of any headwind, so it’s felt less than you might think. But we’d also suggest driving more slowly with a lighter travel trailer or a camper of some kind because they’re not as heavy.
How Do You Pull a Trailer in High Winds?
Here are a few tips to doing it right:
Get Sway bars installed: To benefit from greater stability when towing, purchase a set of sway bars. One is okay and will make a difference; two will make a more noticeable difference in keeping your travel trailer in the correct lane.
Monitor Weather apps: Have a reliable weather app on your phone to check the local wind speed. Also, ensure that you have a decent 4G LTE or 5G cellular package with sufficient data capacity too.
Head into the wind: Don’t try to drive on highways where you’re getting battered like a fish by a crosswind that’s blowing your trailer all over the road. Try to reroute your journey to a more circuitous one to strategically head into the wind.
Locate back roads: Using backroads rather than highways may reduce your exposure to the full strength of the wind’s power. That’s assuming the back roads won’t become a dust blizzard or off-roading is so bumpy that it’s doing more damage than good.
Plan places to stop: In case you reach a point where the wind speeds have picked up and it’s necessary to pull off the highway, plan for several places on the route to stop. If these have a form of shelter that the travel trailer can be parked behind, whether that’s a tall building or other structure, all for the better.
S-L-O-W D-O-W-N: Speed quickly multiplies the problems associated with windy driving conditions. Don’t make it worse. Don’t be so heavy-footed.
Do not consider towing a travel trailer in high winds of 50 MPH or greater.
Stick to towing speed of 20-30 MPH to be on the safe side of the weather. Keep a good eye on the weather reports from your smartphone too. Wind speeds can change quickly as a storm gathers pace and ferocity. Also, when you’re traveling and crossing either country lines or state lines, the weather can change surprisingly fast. Be mindful of that to not get caught out by it.
By leaving a margin of safety between the acceptable wind speeds that you can safely tow and the maximum wind speed that your travel trailer can handle, these give you a useful margin of safety for those times when the wind picks up speed quickly.