By Cheri Sicard
What is a safe towing speed? How fast is too fast to tow? The team at Keep Your Daydream wanted to cover this topic for a long time. That’s because they say they frequently get passed by all sorts of RVs, from massive Class A’s to SUVs towing single-axle trailers.
That led them to the question, “Is there a right speed to tow?”
To get the answer they reached out to three RV experts, including JD from Big Truck Big RV, Kenny from Airstream Trippin’, and Eric from TechnoRV.
In the video below, each of these experienced RVers provided their own thoughts and opinions on the need for speed in all kinds of RVs, from towable travel trailers and 5th wheels to motorized RVs.
Besides talking to the experts, the video also gives some great general towing tips, especially about cruise control, trailer brakes, and using the tow/haul feature on your truck.
According to JD from Big Truck Big RV, it depends on what he is towing and why he is towing it. However, he does admit that when he is towing a fifth wheel, his hard and fast top limit is about 67 miles per hour. Any faster than that JD just knows he is going faster than he should be, putting undue wear on tires, and generating more heat than is necessary.
When asked how fast is too fast to tow, Kenny Brooks of Airstream Trippin’ said 70 mph. He keeps his top speed at about 65 mph. When asked why, his simple reply was, “Because I want to arrive alive.”
When it comes to how fast to drive or tow with a large motorhome, Eric from TechnoRV says it comes down to your comfort level and common sense. But he does keep interstate speeds to around 65 mph.
Eric also had truck camper experience. He says the top-heaviness of these vehicles makes them more challenging. His top speed was about 58-60 mph with his truck camper. He says he just did not feel safe or comfortable above that speed.
I have to agree with these experts on top speed, and 65 mph is about where I top out when towing my travel trailer. But I am constantly astounded by the motorhomes, travel trailers and 5th wheels, not to mention semi trucks, that regularly fly by me.
Let’s face it. If your rig is not capable of or you are afraid of driving close to the speed limit you should leave it in the driveway. You or it doesn’t belong on a public road.
There are WAY to many variables to even consider this noteworthy. I have towed many different setups and weight classes through my life. On our camper I run a WD and a separate set of sway controls. Instead of one I have two. My truck is happy towing at 68-70 regardless of the hill and all my deltas stay in a safe range in OD with my TC in lockup. The one thing that should have been mentioned is if you feel you need air bags..add them, you need more sway control add it. Better brake hardware…add it. I would rather pay the extra money and never need it and not lose a whole rig then wish I had spent it and then have to replace my rig not to mention keeping my loved ones safe is priority one.
The only thing I don’t agree with is the air bags. Air bags do not increase your towing capacity at all. The way I see it is if your truck is squatting too much without them then the truck isn’t big enough.
Well I tow all my trailers at about 60-65 mph whether it my travel trailer or towing my tractor on my 2 axle utility trailer. Along with keeping the proper tire inflation. Which I use what the tire manufacturer psi not what the trailer manufacturer recommended pressure and haven’t had the first blow out. Also trailer tires are only good for 10 years it just good sense to replace the tires at or before the expiration of that 10 year life span. If you look at the tires and see dry rot cracks on the side wall replacing them is a very good idea.
I drive my 40 foot DP at 58-60 on interstates. Anything faster leaves me feeling that I may not have full control of the rig and my toad. I am not in a race with trucks so they pass me and that’s a good thing. I don’t want to be hanging around next to 18 wheelers.
Since nobody else seems to admit that they drive over 60 or 65, I will. I run my class c 70 mph, with or without my 6×10 enclosed trailer. Trailer also has tires that are rated for the high speed. Going to Texas from California without the trailer I could get 8+ miles per gallon doing 70. granted it is downhill once I get out of Arizona. On the way back I’m in the 7s. My profession I drive a semi truck. Semi truck tires are rated for 65 to 75. So I’m no stranger running fast with a trailer. I run my Peterbilt 75 but the speed limit and state allow it, I only get a couple of tents better if I slow down so put the hammer down and don’t worry about it
Full-time for four years @ 55 m.p.h. Saved a hell of a lot in fuel costs (I’ve done the arithmetic). Invested the calculated money saved with a Vanguard Mutual Fund. Look closely, you’ll see the smile on my face.
What I’m not seeing is anyone looking at the sidewalls on their trailer tires and thinking gee my tires manufacturer says DO NOT EXCEED 60 MPH.
I’m unaware of any TRAILER TIRE that is rated for speeds higher than 60 mph.
Heat kills tires.
Trailer tires generate more heat than vehicle tires.
High heat causes rubber to degrade and the degradation is accumulative.
I don’t know what your RV sidewalls are made of but mine are a combination of thin fiberglass, some kind of styrofoam and 3/16” plywood. All glued together. It does a great job of being a wall but doesn’t survive being beaten with steel belts and long strands of rubber. RV tire blow outs equal thousands in damage. Just so I can keep up with traffic, not worth it to me.
No offense man but you need to look at some new for tires. Goodyear for one has a brand new tire for trailers that’s like 80 plus miles an hour speed rating. They’re even some bias flies now that are rated for 80 miles an hour. They’re all trailer tires. I for one have trailer tires with the higher speed rating and behind my class c I’ll run 70 miles an hour
There are no trailer tires rated for 60MPH on the market. They also use a speed and load rating, not a printed speed on the sidewall. All of my tires are rated to 87MPH, not that I would ever go that fast. I haven’t seen a tire with a speed rating below 75 MPH in at least a decade. Someone is either running extremely old rubber, or has been reading the spare tire in the trunk of a sedan.
To everyone in this thread. Most tires have a “Speed Symbol” that informs the owner of the speed that tire design, when the tire was brand new, was able to run for 10 minutes when loaded to 88% of the max load on the tire sidewall. The test is an SAE Passenger tire test and can only be used to compare the relative resistance to heat failure between two tires of the same size and load capacity. It is not the speed you can run your used tire for hours on end and not damage the tire structure. If you have ST type tires on your trailer you should know that the formula used to establish the load capacity is based on a stated max operating speed of 65 mph. RVs are not race cars and I don’t understand the need or desire for so many to risk an accident due to excessive speed. In my opinion as a Tire Design Engineer and Professional Race car driver I set my highway speed to 62-63 mph. Many RV trailer tires failures are the result of excessive speed sometime in the past.
It’s OK to try and be the first one up the hill but it’s never OK to try and be the first one down the hill. It’s all about braking. Downhill, typically 50% posted speed or lower depending on grade.
Uphill 5% grade, with XX,XXX lbs I shoot for 90 mph but haven’t got there yet.
Flatlands is well within my personal limitations, traffic, road quality, concrete or asphalt, shoulder width, wildlife, open range, passing lanes, 2 lane or 4 lane and Tire Temperature but even then, it’s all about braking limitations.
I know nothing about Kenny or Eric. However, the vloggers posting videos from KYD and BTBRV are a small collection of the worst narcissistic, nattering nitwits on YouTube. At one time, I subscribed to both of their RV channels. However, in no time at all, it became clear that they suffered from a gross distortion of reality and a personality disorder which distorted their beliefs of personal infallibility and self importance to others. Other than YouTube or Amazon remuneration, none possess any visible means of support. They may have followers, but I would caution that listening to their brand of ignorance and foolishness is at your own risk. Caveat emptor.
Yeah, I think that this is a pretty worthless video too. It’s not how fast you can go but how quickly you can stop. To me, the most dangerous part of towing or RV travel is descending a steep and long mountain pass. Driver skill is relevant, but so is knowing the limitations of your braking systems and handling capabilities. A big trailer can push a 2500, 3500 or bigger pickup truck around like a feather -60-65mph might be very safe on the flat but lethal in a descent.
Personally, I do find 65’ish is the sweet spot for pulling a 5th wheel. It’s more relaxing, quieter and saves a little go juice. Having said that I do open the throttle on long flat straight stretches of dull scenery, but always keep a few lengths back from the vehicle in front.
Another tremendously informative piece Cheri and with 25 comments posted, we now know that 9 in 10 RVers are bad liars. I know this because I never speed and especially not in Canada where it says you can legally go 100.
I suspect the kind of people that speed while towing probably aren’t the kind to read informative info on safety, such as this site.
In Canada it is 100 kilometers per hour, or a tad faster than 62 mph.
Cancelproof didn’t say 100MPH. If we are being pedantic there are 110 and 120 kph max limits in parts of Canada.
That 100 is in kilometers per hour not miles per hour!
I find with my Suburban and towing our trailer that I get the best gas milage on the freeway at about 58 mph, I’m retired so never in a hurry. I want to enjoy the trip and get there in one piece.
The thing to remember is the faster you go the faster s*&t happens. 63 mph is a happy speed for me under optimum conditions. I’ve been passed many times by speedy gonzales and a few miles down the road he/she is in the ditch. If they’re still on their wheels I don’t even stop. I’d like to honk my horn but that would just be mean, justified and appropriate but mean. Ford dually diesel with 40 Bighorn 5th wheel grossing 26,000 lbs.
About 40 years ago I was up in the Cascade Mountains on a narrow, windy, dirt logging road. A Jeep was coming up behind me pretty fast so I pulled over as far as I could. They whizzed by me, oblivious to the hazard of speeding on that road. About a mile up the road I found them wrecked. None of them were hurt, luckily, but the Jeep was “out of commission,” shall we say. I took the three teenage boys several miles back down the road to the nearest gas station on Hwy. 2 so they could make the necessary calls (e.g., to parents, etc.). I hope they learned their lesson that day. They were very lucky they weren’t injured or killed. Take care, Impavid. And no speeding. Wouldn’t want to have you pulled over by the RCMP, especially one in particular. 😆 –Diane at RVtravel.com
Whatever the maximum speed is that is posted is the MAXIMUM under ideal conditions, for the typical vehicle AND NOT US with trailers or huge motorhomes or such. I repeat, it’s the MAXIMUM speed allowed by law…..no one says you MUST drive that speed. A number of interstate signs post the MINIMUM speed also, because that in itself can be dangerous too.
Given the range of interstate speeds…..ranging from 55 to 70 (and maybe beyond) most here have posted we drive 60-65, and if no one is lying, there’s not a cop anywhere that would pull you over if you maintain 62-65 through all those zones. Much simpler using cruise control, relax a bit, and take in the ride and the adventure.
I am really surprised that the individual State speed limits for towing were not addressed in the article. An example is California’s speed limit when towing is 55mph !
Interestingly, California’s signs used to say 55 all vehicles with trailer. Now they say 55 all vehicles towing. Minor differentiation but It has slowed a lot of motorhomes with the towds on 4 wheels. Yes, i did get a ticket once and tried to make that distiction to the CHP. Got a smile but no consideration. I’m sure someone or likely an insurance company, fought off a lawsuit using that argument of trailer versus vehicle flat towed on 4 and that is the rub on that. Now it says 55 towing.
No comments from anyone reporting to drive 70+ mph…we know you’re out there.
They are indeed. People pass me going faster than that all the time. Recently had a huge Tiffin type bus towing a Jeep pass (on a windy mountain road no less) easily going 85 or more.
I guess I am the only one that pulls trailers fast.
28 foot enclosed race trailer, (2) 5000# axles, load range E tires, 8000# trailer weight.
Pulled with 2001 Chevy 2500 HD Duramax.
Cruise set at 80 MPH in West Texas.
Let the hating begin!
When people blow by me on the highway, pulling a trailer or not, I don’t angst, I think of them as “heat” seeking missiles. If there are any police directly ahead, I think of them as clearing the way for me. Plus I want them as far ahead of me as possible. I find no rationale to drive by this beautiful country faster than 60 – 65.
I often have that thought, well if there are any speed traps ahead, I’m in good shape.
What scares me most is when I am overtaken by a lifted truck, sporting off road tires, towing a large toy hauler down a twisty mountain interstate without any type of sway control and weight distribution. But no worries, clearly its being driven by Superman with superior driving skills and lazer vision to quickly cut through the wreckage and retrieve the bodies.
Very interesting. I drive a 36′ DP towing a Grand Cherokee and, given that our loaded weight tends to be almost 39,000 pounds plus the 5,000 pounds of the Jeep, I drive 60-65 miles an hour. I try to be 2-5 mph below the posted speed on interstates. Elsewhere, I drive the speed limit or less if there is a lot of congestion. The deal with me is not moving, but stopping. I try to drive speeds from which I can stop if something unexpected happens. We do see lots of trucks pulling travel trailers or fifth wheels go flying past us, especially on interstates. In the unlikely event that I pass a truck towing either, I call it to DW’s attention, adding “I must be going too fast.” Sometimes I am, so I slow, but sometimes the other RV is actually moving at a safe speed. 🙂
What the speed rating on my tires tells me what the top speed is. The conditions of the road, weather, load weight, and simple physics of controlling and stopping the weight is the 2nd factor.
As many of the people commenting below I rarely drive our 40 foot DP towing a small Jeep over 62. I’m retired, leave plenty of time to get there, usually drive only 5 hours. We regularly see many people towing trailers and driving motorhomes blowing by us like we’re standing still. When that happens we guess they are still of the working class and have not learned to slow down and enjoy the scenery!