They say that you can just drive away from bad weather when living in an RV. But is that true? Yes, no and that depends.
Be Aware of the Weather Before You Go
Before you even hit the road for your next destination, go online to check the weather for the next week or two. While it may look nice now, there could be a nasty turn in the near future. Write it down on a calendar, if your destination will not have cell service. And if the weather looks like it could get nasty, you may want to rethink your plans.
Know Your Geography
Many people assume that states like Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Nevada are entirely burning hot deserts; that is absolutely not true. In fact, at least half of the state of Arizona is covered in pine forests and receives heavy snow in the winter. The high desert of Nevada also gets snow in the winter, as do the spectacular red rocks of Utah. The northern, higher elevations of all these states all can get very cold.
Just because a place is classified as desert, doesn’t mean it can’t get cold. Even the snowbird paradise of Quartzsite, Arizona dips down to freezing temperatures at night, during the winters. In fact, temperatures in the desert can drop 20-30 degrees overnight, all year round.
Know Your Seasons
If you want to avoid hurricanes around the Gulf Coast, then avoid the area during hurricane season; hurricane activity in that area typically peaks during the months of August, September, and October.
Camping in Arizona during the summer could be deadly; snowbird season is October through April, for a good reason. Also, driving up into the high mountains during the winter could be quite risky, due to heavy snow and icy roads.
If you want to avoid tornadoes in the mid-West, know that the climate is in transition during the spring, creating more chances for cool air to collide with warmer air, resulting in thunderstorms, which can spawn tornadoes. Late summer and early autumn are also good times for tornadoes.
While you certainly can travel to these areas during these times, be aware of the increased weather-related risks.
Can You Drive Away From Bad Weather?
Maybe, but probably not, unless you want to do a lot of driving. You need to weigh the cost of time and gas, against a few days of inclement weather. It may be cost-effective for a van to drive away, but probably not so much for a full-sized rig.
The fact is, storms often cover entire regions, and you may have to drive 500 miles or more to escape it. It’s better to be prepared to sit out a storm, and better yet, look at the weather before you go. If the weather is going to be bad, make another plan.
Parking for the Weather
If you are contending with high winds, try to get the nose of your rig pointed into the wind; the streamlined design should help to prevent rocking. However, if it looks like extremely high winds are headed your way, moving might be a smart option, as long as you can get going before it hits. Driving a motorhome, 5th wheel, or trailer in high winds is a bad idea.
If there is a possibility of rain, be sure to park on higher ground; in the desert, you want to avoid parking in a dry wash. Dry washes can sometimes look like dirt roads, but closer examination will let you know it’s a wash. For example, it’s probably sunken down more than a dirt road would be, and also sandier.
And finally, don’t become an internet meme, by parking your rig on a beach, during low tide. High tide will eventually come, and you will end up washed out to sea.
Plan for the Weather
Before you take off, check the extended weather report for your destination. Also, you can Google “weather averages” for your area, to get an idea of the average temperatures for each month. While living in an RV is comfortable, it’s not as weather-proof as a house. Extended freezes can freeze your tanks and water lines, and high winds can be very dangerous. If it looks bad, don’t go. Otherwise, simply be prepared for a few days of bad weather.