Think rubber tires will protect your RV from lightning? Think again!


When lightning is striking all around, do you think your RV, riding atop rubber tires, will protect you from being struck? Well, hate to spoil your confidence, but they won’t. The fact is, in some RVs you will be heavily protected, but in others you might as well just stand outside. Learn more from RV electricity expert Mike Sokol in this two-minute segment of Ask the RV Expert, then read safety tips from Mike below.

From Mike Sokol:
So here’s the takeaway from my video. Standing on something insulated, or the rubber tires of your car or RV, won’t protect you from harm if your RV sustains a direct lightning hit. What tends to protect you inside of a metal car or RV (or other metal box) is something called the Faraday Cage Effect, which is basically the magnetic shell that forms around the metal body of the vehicle when an electric field contacts it, and which bends lightning around the outside of your car or RV, not letting it pass through to the inside of the vehicle where you happen to be sitting. But this Faraday Cage Effect doesn’t occur with an all-fiberglass or fabric (tent) RV, so don’t even think about riding out a lightning storm in one of those.

In the final analysis, while the safest place to be in a lightning storm is in a permanent structure like a club house at a campground, you may not have access to one if you’re boondocking due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In that case it’s best to unplug your RV shore power cord from any external power source (such as a portable generator), and ride out the storm in your fully metal-skinned RV, or your tow vehicle if you have an all fiberglass or pop-up tent RV.

Let’s play safe out there. —Mike

Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
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Wilf Bussey

So, I assume from Mike’s video that even if a fibreglass-skinned RV is framed with aluminum the Faraday Cage Effect will not occur. Is it correct that the aluminum frame offers no protection from lightning?


My mother always told the story when she was younger and living on the farm and during one storm a bolt shot from their phone mounted on the wall across the room to the hand pump at the sink. They assumed the lighting hit a telephone pole and traveled to their farmstead and found a good ground in the kitchen!
As to disconnecting your RV from a portable generator? Why? I know why you unplug from the service pedestal, but that is the next thing I would do is to start the genny and continue to enjoy the comforts it would bring.
Also I had worked for the power company and heard a few stories of people trapped in vehicles after hitting a pole. The high tension wire would be sparking and dancing on the vehicle… you are practically safe in there, the high voltage will go around the metal shell, DO NOT STEP OUT as scary as it may be!

Michael Flank

So does that mean that all class A motor homes except for Prevost are unsafe in a lightning storm?? All current production Class A motor homes are clad in fiberglass.

Donald N Wright

I have never been in a lightning storm. Here in Texas we what we call Thunder Storms, but we get lightning & thunder, rain, wind, hail, sometimes Tornadoes.