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RV boo-boos – Florida wind blows ill for RVer

Imagine heading out on the highway with your almost-new—less than 500 miles on the clock—Class C. Your faithful toad car is pacing along behind. Life is good! Suddenly a gust of wind jets across your path. All sense of normalcy vanishes as your shiny motorhome departs the highway and disintegrates.

Aftermath photo says it all

Such was the story for Barbara M. “Traveling to a rally, while towing our trusty Saturn, a gust of wind caught our new Thor Freedom Elite with Mercedes diesel engine (less than 500 mi.) and rolled it over.” Rolled it over is perhaps an understatement. Take a look at the “aftermath” photo she sent us.

windWhat happened involved a wind gust and what Barbara describes as “a slight over-correction of the steering wheel.” Lest you think there could be a fault assigned to the driver, she adds, “Basically no shoulders on this road. If you run off the road from one side to the other, you’re in the weeds!” Sure enough, a bird’s-eye-view from Google Maps clearly shows if you get in trouble on this stretch, you don’t have much of anywhere to go.

wind
Google Maps

If the rubble left from the rollover is any indicator of the damage caused to the motorhome, how did the occupants come out? “Spent three days in the ICU, mostly for observation,” says Barbara. “How we survived this I will never know. No broken bones, just bumps and bruises and a nose stitched back on my face. Someone was looking out for us. 🙂 ” Nose stitched “back on my face”? Wow! All this from an errant wind!

No more Class C?

Looking back, Barbara reflects on a couple of matters. One was that of insurance. “[We] have the right insurance coverage. We could have gotten a replacement or pay off the loan. We chose pay off the loan,” she says. With the loan paid off, would you streak to the nearest RV dealer and get a new rig? Not for Barbara. “We rent from now on. But ONLY a Class A.”

It’s said it’s an ill wind that blows nobody good. In this case, it looks like this Florida gust qualifies for a sick one. Can’t see how anybody, other than the cleanup crew, might have profited.

Even if you don’t have a pickup to pull it off, if you’ve seen, witnessed, or had your own “RV boo-boo” moment and have a photo to share with others, let us know. Fill out the form below, and put “boo-boo” on the subject line. Be sure to link your photo with the attachment tool on the form.

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

Other stories by Russ and Tiña De Maris

##RVT1063

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Dennis G.
8 days ago

Wind gusts are nothing to sneeze at. It’s one thing to negotiate variable moderate cross winds, without strong gust is manageable (usually). We were traveling I-680 from Cordelia to Benicia, CA. An area notorious for winds in the Bay Area. The hills & gaps in this area make for winds that gust violently. We had to drop our speed from 65 to 50 MPH, to keep from changing lanes with our class-a. A white knuckle ride, even with all of the upgrades from SuperSteer.

Tim
8 days ago

Consider this, the passenger compartment of a C class is highly regulated and must meet stringent safety standards. The passenger compartment of an A class, almost no regulations.

KellyR
8 days ago

Stix n bricks OR stix and stix. Love our little van camper. I think would fare better. Wind gusts in the mid-west – YES. In Florida? – not so much. The only time I have seen such wind is when a thunder storm comes in. Hmmm

DW/ND
9 days ago

Two lane roads in ND are very similar with no shoulders. I like quieter roads but they are unnerving with no place to go in the event of….. Oft times we can experience wind gusts, called “dust devils”, some come with no dust – so invisible. Always be alert in windy conditions when passing tree groves and underpasses. Be prepared for the surprise on the windward side when emerging! Slow down!

Thomas D
9 days ago

I can relate to the highway and no shoulders. Driving in Kentucky on roads with no shoulders sent a chill thru me. If you relaxed for one second and your front wheel left the pavement,you could easily rolled it. I often thought, “” all this land and no shoulders. What if you had a flat or going flat tire. Absolutely no place to pull over.

Lisa Adcox
9 days ago

Just this past Thursday I was driving through a storm in Nashville area. Wind and blinding rain. 18 wheelers were either pulled over or driving very slow. I had two 5th wheels pass me. They were still driving at high speed on interstate. After us traveling fulltime up till this past spring, I worried if they would be seen ahead overturned. We have witnessed a couple in GA and FL overturned in storms. Scary.

Gene Bjerke
9 days ago

The description and picture (almost cloudless sky) made me wonder if she wasn’t the victim of a relatively rare white squall. They are very powerful, and happen when there is no other wind. There is no way to predict them.

Bob M
9 days ago

I was just returning from a camping trip by Niagara falls. Driving down interstate 81 it started to rain. When all of a sudden it seemed like I was in a tornado. Wind blowing very hard against my 33’ travel trailer and rain released from the sky in buckets. Couldn’t see 5’ in front of me. Road was like driving in a stream covered with water and no where to pull over. Luckily I was driving slow and was able to slow to a creep. Had wife put flashers on since I had to concentrate on driving. I guess I had a good Guardian Angel because we safely made it thru.

Last edited 9 days ago by RV Staff
John Koenig
9 days ago
Reply to  Bob M

NIAGARA FALLS; slowly I turned, step by step, inch by inch……….

Youngsters here can Google this. 🙂

Last edited 6 days ago by RV Staff
Steve Murray
9 days ago
Reply to  John Koenig

Moe!!!

Mitzi Agnew Giles and Ed Giles
6 days ago
Reply to  John Koenig

I luv it!

Jesse Crouse
9 days ago

Insurance coverage- Replacement coverage!!!!!!!!!!

Don
9 days ago

If she thinks renting a Class A will protect her from this problem, she’s dreaming. Most Class A’s will react at least as badly to a severe cross wind has her Class C did. And almost any of them will disintegrate on roll over just as did her rig. The only Class A’s that are strong enough to come out of a roll-over relatively intact are the Prevost conversions and the old Country Coaches with the Dynomax frame. Virtually all the others are just boxes built on a pair of frame rails.
Even worse – I’m sure the Class A she’s going to rent will be a Gasser, since I’m not aware of any Diesel Pushers that are out there for rent. The Gassers are far less stable and generally more flimsy than any DP. I’d suggest she get some driving lessons. Clearly her driving skills aren’t up to the job. Then she can go back to whatever rig she can afford to buy.

Bob p
9 days ago
Reply to  Don

My one question is what was the speed when the gust of wind caused the accident? I don’t know how many times I’ve been passed driving 62 mph by these type of motor homes like I was going in reverse. To many people drive RV’s like they do their cars, you can’t do that. The profile is too high and is very sensitive to wind, if you’re driving in the 70’s you’ll be in the ditch before you have the chance to react.

Jewel
9 days ago
Reply to  Bob p

That was my first thought as well. Too many drive faster than they should – oh, their tires are rated for 85mph, or they are underloaded so no problem – but anything that crosses their path out of the ordinary: blowout, gust of wind, traffic slowdown, etc. will cause problems. They are fools if they think they are in control. You are till you aren’t.
I’m glad this couple survived with little injury but should have learned, if you are on a road that has no shoulder, slow down to a speed that you can control the steering (if you have to, drive 45-50 but don’t use flashers!)

Roger V
9 days ago
Reply to  Don

Completely agree. Class As, Semi truck rigs, Cs – they can all roll over. The structure of that original truck cab in that Class C on a cutaway chassis probably saved Barbara’s life. One of the big reasons I’ve stayed away from Class A’s. Except for the high dollar ones you mentioned, Class As just explode in rollovers.

Spike
9 days ago
Reply to  Don

The fault for unstable rigs starts with poor design by the manufacturers and ends with poor driving habits of many RVers.

Manufacturers many times have wheel bases too short for the length of the RV as well as too little carrying capacity and or poor weight distribution resulting in overloading one or more axles.

Many drivers go WAY too fast for what they are driving and I see lots with only a few fingers on the wheel vs BOTH hands. A hard wind gust, a blowout, an object in the road causing a swerve suddenly become a disaster.

RVers would do themselves a favor when buying an RV by first studying the underlying QUALITY and factors affecting driveability or towing instead of focusing first on blue strings of lights or other glitz…even floorplans!

Don’t trust the manufacturers to do this for you! It has been reported right here on RVTravel by Dave Solberg and Tony Barthel that many RV’s lack critical safe drivability designs in terms of weight or other features.

Billinois
9 days ago
Reply to  Don

One of the first things I did when we bought our Class C was fix the horrible handling. The thing wandered all over the road whether there was wind or not, and passing trucks would almost put me in a ditch.
I weighed the coach, adjusted tire pressures, had an alignment done (that was a huge help!) and finally bought a SteerSafe. Now I can drive it with one finger on the wheel, no wander, minimal truck push. No more white knuckle driving!
Class C truck chassis’ are shipped with a generic alignment. The chassis manufacturer has no idea what the builder/manufacturer is going to put on their chassis. It might be a box truck, flatbed, tanker or RV. When buying a new RV one of the first things one should do is get an alignment.
I would assume the same for a Class A as well, especially a gasser.

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