Thursday, November 30, 2023


Around the campfire: How fast do you drive when towing your RV?

How fast do you drive when you’re towing your RV? This was the question posed to the campfire crowd a few nights ago. A robust discussion followed. My husband told the others that we usually stick to the speed limit or a bit below, depending on road and weather conditions.

We’ve not towed our rig on highways that post 75 mph like those in Nebraska, North Dakota, New Mexico, and others. Nor have we towed our RV through Nevada, Montana, South Dakota, or Oklahoma. Some roadways in these states post an 80 mph limit. Yowie! That seems really fast to me. Especially when I think about having to stop a 38+foot RV. Not everyone agrees, however. Everyone seems to differ on the speeds they drive when towing their RV.

Getting there fast

Friends from California commented: “The speed limit may say 60 mph, but if every other vehicle on the road is going 75+mph, we’ll go faster than the 60 mph posted limit. We don’t want to be a hazard to the speeders. We feel safer staying with the flow of traffic rather than chance being rear-ended.”

Sandy agreed: “If you drive the speed limit in California, you are a danger to others on the highway. If you don’t keep up with traffic, you’ll be pushed out of the way.” (I think she was exaggerating a bit, but we all understood her point.)

Another Western states driver said, “I will usually drive about 5 mph over the posted speed limit. But I keep my rig in top mechanical condition. I always install the best tires my money can buy and so far I’ve gotten along really well.”

Allen, from Georgia, joked: “How fast do I drive my RV? Depends on if I’m running late and in charge of bringing the beer.” (Always one jokester in the crowd, right?)

Going slow

Bernie shook his head. “You all are going way too fast. Have you ever seen what happens when an RVer loses control of his rig? It’s not pretty. I try to stay 5 mph below the speed limit. And I never go faster than 60 mph. Ever.”

Retired and long-time RVers commented: “We take our time. We’re in no hurry. Yes, others pass us. But we like the ‘travel’ part of RVing just as much as being parked on our site.”

Candice and her husband are new to RVing. Candice offered, “I don’t feel comfortable exceeding the speed limit. I’d rather go slower and not tear up our new rig.” Others around the fire nodded at this rationale. We agreed that many of our nation’s highways are in very rough shape. Hitting a pothole at 55 mph as opposed to 75 mph could mean the difference between extensive damage and little to no damage at all.

Conditions, conditions, conditions!

Wet or snow-packed roadways called for slower speeds when towing an RV, agreed all around the campfire. Same goes for curves and turns. Wind speed and weather conditions also play into most RVers’ decisions on how fast to drive their RV.

One RVer commented: “If you are familiar with the road, and conditions are good, you might be okay to exceed the speed limit by a little. But you risk getting a ticket. The time lost talking to a Highway Patrol Officer cannot be redeemed. And the cost of the ticket is money you might have used for something else. It’s just not worth it.”

Cost savings

Several folks admitted to driving a little slower now that fuel prices are so high. By experimenting a little, you may be able to determine the speed at which your RV gets the best fuel economy. Most of the time, that speed will be at or below the posted highway limit.

The law

“Why are we even discussing this?” an old-timer wondered out loud. “It’s the law. The speed limit is there to keep every one of us safe on the road. We need to obey the law.” He’s right.

What did the majority of folks conclude? Drive at a rate that allows you to have the greatest control of your rig, within the limits of the law.

How fast do you usually drive when towing your RV? Let us know in the comments below. And give us a reason for your speed decision, too, if you don’t mind.



Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.



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Terrielynn Sloan (@guest_248618)
3 months ago

We tow a 43′ 5th wheel. We keep the speed to 62 on the highway and 5 under the speed limit on streets. Helps with gas mileage and speed is dangerous towing these things. We get passed by all the time by other towers and are always surprised they would drive that fast. Slow down and enjoy the ride!

John the road again (@guest_248534)
3 months ago

Even though the limit on the interstate around here is 80, we cruise at 60 max with our truck towing our travel trailer. Just don’t feel comfortable going faster, and the mileage starts going to hell after 55 anyway.

Bill Byerly (@guest_248523)
3 months ago

Not part of the discussion but I go 65 driving my class A and flat towing my CR-V

Dennis M Johnson (@guest_248510)
3 months ago

60 tops. Always feel the tires and hubs every stop, tire pressure before hitting the road. Have never had a blowout.

Doc (@guest_248503)
3 months ago

Usually 60 to 65 in truck lane. I love to wander so never in a hurry. Solo RVer and my dog, towing a 46′ toy hauler.

Mike (@guest_248481)
3 months ago

The posted speed limit is the safe design speed of the road for ‘normal’ vehicular traffic.

Those who “stay with the traffic” to not cause a hazard – You are the hazard – Not the driver obeying the speed limit operating in the proper lane.

Gary Stone (@guest_248474)
3 months ago

On interstates I’ll do 60 mph and stay in the far right lane. On secondary roads, 55. Country roads, a safe speed. I use truck lanes on mountain grades and hold whatever 2500 rpm gives me. Remember, whatever bad things that can happen at 55 mph are exponentially worse at 65. You do you, I’ll do me.

Bob P (@guest_248468)
3 months ago

If your trailer has ST rated tires they are rated for 65 mph, that rating was measured for 30 minutes. Driving a motorhome with truck tires they are rated at 65 mph also a 30 minute test. I know you’ll see many “cowboy truck drivers” driving 75 mph, they are pushing their luck. In the trucking industry we always said if you’re running late you should’ve left earlier

Peter (@guest_248462)
3 months ago

We live on Vancouver Island and most of our towing is through hills and mountain passes. We have enough truck to reach the top of the longest, steeping passes at speed limit or better , and when towing that’s all I’m after. Flat stretches I’m fine going speed limit or a hair over on freeways, but I don’t drive at excessive speeds.

Irv (@guest_248460)
3 months ago

I drive 90% of the miles at 60. There are times such as heavy interstate traffic with 3 lanes or more, that I’ll speed up to go with the flow of traffic. I don’t want to be in the rightmost lane due to heavy merging traffic, and I don’t want to be driving 15 mph slower than the traffic in the second lane. Sometimes it’s not possible to avoid rush hour or the interstate.

Matt Storms (@guest_248456)
3 months ago

I live in a rural CA county. I & my dog pretty much camp within our county driving on secondary roads with very low traffic volume. Our preferred speed is about 45. Get excellent MPG & the stress level is very low. Due to many steep climbs/descents & blind corners, we’re often going slower. Road hazards are frequent. Our trailer is 15′.

Andrea (@guest_248453)
3 months ago

On interstates with 75 mph speed limits, we’re generally towing at 68-70 mph; on secondary roads, at the speed limit. We adjust for conditions, so will slow down as warranted.

Ramon Milam (@guest_248449)
3 months ago

In WA State if you are in a VW towing trailer you are considered a truck and must obey the truck speed limits ask me how I know. I got a speeding ticket for doing 70, I was going 73 actually, in a 70 for cars, 60 for trucks. I was in a pickup towing an empty horse trailer.

Karen (@guest_248447)
3 months ago

I’m usually under everybody else’s speed. The most in comfortable driving is 60, on good highways, n on the rough ones usually around 50. Partly because of that I try to stay off major highways. I’m retired, with no set schedule n like to “see” along my journey.

Jim Johnson (@guest_248445)
3 months ago

+/-60mph with good road conditions. But others are correct, you will be a hazard for other drivers on most Interstate highways because you are not going with the normal traffic flow. So we do our best to stay off Interstates and stick mostly to US or State highways.

Steve Lane (@guest_248438)
3 months ago

I agree with Luke, having had almost the same work experience. I know my Endurance tires are speed rated at 80, have I towed at that speed, at times (not many though and not very long). It seems if you don’t travel 5 miles above the speed limit you will get run over from the back (especially on the freeways). I vary rarely tow above 70. I still have RVs, trucks, etc. passing me or tailgating me. I think a person has to think about road and traffic conditions, to include what they are comfortable with and their equipment.

Wayne C (@guest_248485)
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve Lane

👍+1 to this and to Gary Stone’s comment “You do you, I’ll do me.”

NonGrumpyVet (@guest_248432)
3 months ago

We tow a 35 foot Montana 14,000+ pound fiver with a F350 diesel and our normal speed on interstates with posted speed limits of 70 and above is around 65 mph. I stay in the far right lane unless passing and watch all the crazies fly by, weaving in and out of traffic (yeah, I’ve seen fellow RVers doing this at 70+ mph). I get better fuel mileage than going at 70+, I am in better control of our rig and it is more relaxed driving. I like to leave plenty of space between the vehicle in front and us–you don’t stop 24,000+ pounds on a dime. Oh, yeah, our rig’s tires are rated for 75 mph and I replace them frequently and use a TPMS.

Last edited 3 months ago by NonGrumpyVet
Luke (@guest_248428)
3 months ago

I drive at 55mph usually, however the max I’ll go if it’s a long haul day is 60mph. After 40 years as a State Trooper, I’ve seen the devastating effects of crashes at speeds above that. Additionally, most trailers and 5th wheels, especially new ones, running stock tires have speed ratings at about 63mph. It seems that a lot of RV’ers don’t know the speed rating of their tires, nor do they maintain them as they should. Look along the freeways with speed limits of 75 or 80mph and you’ll see a lot more road-kill deer and shredded tires. THAT is what we use to call a “clue”… So, run right on past me at whatever speed you want. I’ll be a lot more relaxed and safe when I arrive at our next camp!

Tommy Molnar (@guest_248426)
3 months ago

I see I’m in ‘good company’. I set the cruise at 60. If we’re on an interstate, all the better. Lots of room for those who want to go faster to zoom right on by. On two-lanes (usually with less traffic) I will sometimes even slow down to let others pass (especially big rigs) more easily. Besides, aren’t most ST type trailer tires rated at 65 mph?

Bob (@guest_248414)
3 months ago

Driving at or 5 mph below the speed limit means you will arrive a little later. But you will arrive safely and use less fuel. If you remember the fuel shortages back in the 70’s, some governments reduced the speed limits to 55 mph to conserve fuel. Still, the sweet spots are around 55-60.

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