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Motorhomes in High Winds

The Autumn storm season has arrived with a flourish. As I write this, a powerful gust of 40mph wind blows from the East, singing against my office windows. Today I have already read two forum discussions about the safety of driving your motorhome in such weather. So I decided to write a brief article about it.

Motorhome Blown Over

Strong winds are dangerous for high sided motorhomes

Because motorhomes are often tall, we are vulnerable to crosswinds when driving or stationary. And of course, trees or blown debris can damage your van.

My Motorhome in High Winds Story

I was driving on a motorway in France; it was blowy. The wind was coming directly from my left. I really had to concentrate as we were getting buffeted quite a bit. I changed to the left lane, so if it pushed me right, I would avoid hitting a crash barrier.

Despite powerful gusts, I found could steer the vehicle effectively by steering into them.. I thought we’d be okay and was comforted by the fact I was in a fully loaded 6.5 ton motorhome. Nothing was going to be moving us very far.

Then it came, a gust so strong that steering had no effect. I’m not even sure if my front wheels were in contact with the ground as the wind caught our large over cab luton. In a crazy two seconds, it pushed us hard from the left lane 20 metres to our right into a slow escape lane for trucks that luckily had just appeared on our right. Otherwise we’d have been over the barrier and in a field, if we were lucky!

Of course, I should’ve just parked up and sat it out, but I was stupid enough to keep going. I shudder when I think I had three kids in the vehicle as well! Why did I push on? Stupid!

It’s not like stopping in a motorhome is a hardship. There is no reason not to stop, put the kettle on and sit it out.

Top tips for driving a Motorhome in very windy conditions

Plan to Avoid

When winds are over 35 mph and gusting higher, it is good advice to avoid driving a motorhome. In the UK and Europe, we rarely experience prolonged periods of high winds of more than a few hours, maybe a day at most.

Sit it out

The very best advice I can give is to sit the high winds out. These days we can use apps on our mobile phones or visit websites, which will accurately tell us the wind-speed, the direction and the duration of the winds, so you shouldn’t really be caught out like I was. 

Use a weather app to check thewind before driving your motorhome
There are lots of apps that will show you wind speed and direction. If it looks like this on a travel day, consider staying put for the day.

High winds are always only one part of the bad weather. You might come across flying debris, fallen trees, and flooded roads. Unless your journey is really important, it’s just not worth it. Being late for a ferry is far better than being upturned on a road!

If you get caught out..

It’s important to check beforehand, but sometimes we forget or the weather changes unexpectedly. If you find yourself on the road and are getting buffeted, follow the few tips below.

Avoid country lanes

Use main roads whenever you can, country lanes can suffer from trees or lines down and other hazards. Falling trees bring a genuine danger to life.

Slow down

High speeds can help the wind move us or blow us over, slow down in strong wind. The faster you are going, the easier it is for the wind to move or tip you.

Overtake only when necessary and with care

Vehicles can be blown into you as you overtake, light vehicles and bikes are especially vulnerable. If you must overtake give as much room as possible. 


Strong winds from one direction create driving challenges that require 100% attention. To compensate for the wind, drivers hold their steering wheel slightly off-centre. However, when overtaking or being passed, a substantial drop in wind force means that unless you are quick; you’ll have serious over-correction and be in danger of driving directly into adjacent traffic lanes!

Make Room

If the wind is gusty, ensure you have plenty of space on both sides of your Motorhome in case it is blown sideways. Make sure you give any other high sided vehicle plenty of room.

Look Ahead!

Watch for other vehicles being moved, or trees being bent, go even slower and anticipate. 


Two Hands on the Steering Wheel and expect the worst. Expect to be pushed, especially when overtaking, or if there are gaps in natural windbreaks like hedges or fences. And know that some of the strongest winds are found as you go over bridges .

If you sit out the storm

Whether you are sitting the storm out on a campsite or lay-by, very strong winds can still pose a danger. It would take a powerful wind to blow a parked motorhome over. However, if the wind is hitting you side on, it will be uncomfortable. It’s always best if you can get your nose into the wind. Ensure all windows and hatches are closed, and don’t even think about putting that satellite dish up! If you have stabilising jacks, put them down, they will help. 

Be safe as you wait.

Look at trees that are in the wind. If they get blown over, are you in danger of being hit? If so, move. Move to another lay-by or another pitch.

Spooky or what!

While proof-reading this article, a large tree in our garden has just blown down and demolished our (thankfully empty) chicken coop. More proof if it was needed, in strong winds, don’t park your motorhome near trees!

Hi winds can blow trees down on to your motorhome.

Jim Brown
October 2023

STOP PRESS: Stay away from trees in high winds

Three days after writing this article, this news story appeared on the BBC website




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