Sunday, May 28, 2023


Readers say THIS is the worst kind of road to drive on. We offer tips

Back in 2021 we asked our readers, “What kind of roads do you dread driving down the most?” Of those who voted in our poll, the highest percentage answered that they dread driving down icy/snowy roads the most, followed by city/urban roads, windy roads through mountains, dirt roads and, finally, flat boring roads. We weren’t surprised that most people dislike icy and snowy roads the most. Winter driving, particularly driving on ice or snow, can white-knuckle even the calmest driver.


Reader Grant G. commented that he can stop whenever needed because they have everything they need in the RV. “I avoid icy/snowy roads altogether. I just don’t go there and if somehow I got caught in that situation I would pull over at the first safe stop and wait. In my RV I have everything I need to not drive. I always check weather reports when driving anywhere I might find that situation.”

Icy and snowy roads aren’t an issue for Irv, who writes, “I don’t fear icy/snowy roads when pulling my trailer. I DON’T DRIVE ON THEM!”

John M. knows that it is possible to lose control quickly. “Snowy icy mountain roads are, to me, the most difficult, as you must add the road conditions to the people in front of you and behind you as well as oncoming traffic. With ice and/or black ice, in a fraction of a second, you can completely lose control.

Winter driving tips

Still planning on some winter camping? If caught in an icy snowstorm, here are a few winter driving tips:

  • Go slow, resist sudden acceleration.
  • If driving a diesel vehicle, turn off the exhaust brake. Exhaust brakes can cause sudden stopping that starts a slide.
  • Turn off Cruise control. Again, sudden braking or acceleration is not a friend on ice.
  • Allow extra stopping room.
  • Use chains where allowed if winter snow and ice travel is unavoidable.
  • Pull off and wait it out.


Many people commented that they dread driving through highway construction. (This wasn’t an option on our poll but it should have been!) Our readers do not like maneuvering big, long RVs through narrow lanes next to concrete barricades and cones that sometimes go flying. I don’t blame them! These are definitely among the worst roads for driving!

Barry says, “After more than 50 years of driving a tractor trailer, travel trailer, 5th wheels, and motorhomes, I find narrow roads in construction zones the most nerve-wracking. Add into the equation 18 wheelers either passing me in these narrow lanes, or oncoming, and my anxiety level goes way up.”

Stan W. wrote: “Worst road condition for me, driving through construction zones on interstates with lane widths changing from 14 foot to 10 foot with concrete barriers for shoulders. Throw in lane shifts, rush hour, rain, snow, nighttime and people staring at their phones driving 15 mph over the construction zone speed limit. This is the worst for me.”

Another unfortunate part of driving through construction? Dirt and damage! Martin A. knows this well. He writes, “We ran into 5 miles of oily gravel construction in the middle of Kansas a few years ago, sure made our camper a mess. Had to scrub with soap and a sponge. The car wash sprayer wouldn’t get it off.”

Estep mentions bridge construction: “The worst is probably the narrow lane construction or bridges that are 1950s lane width. For example, try the twin bridges over the Mississippi and the Ohio Rivers in Cairo, IL. These are narrow enough to swap mirrors with oncoming traffic. Been over them many times and have seen mirror parts scattered on the road surface.”

Construction zone driving tips

  • Watch the merge/lane closed signs carefully and move over as soon as possible.
  • Watch for work crews and obey signs and their directions.
  • Remember: If your mirror will clear, the RV will clear.
  • Leave space between your vehicle and the one in front. 25 percent of fatalities in work zones are rear-end collisions.
  • Avoid distractions and concentrate on the road.
  • Go slow. Don’t let a vehicle behind push you faster than your comfort zone or posted speed.
  • Explore your route pre-trip for construction on up-to-the-minute apps or online maps.


Many folks said that driving through high-traffic cities is what they dread the most. One time, my husband and I made a wrong turn in Las Vegas and ended up on the Strip with a 40-foot motorhome and tow vehicle. Not good!

Joni W. left a comment saying, “About a year-and-a-half ago we were driving through El Paso, TX, and they closed I-10 through town. We had to exit and drive a very circuitous route through the downtown narrow streets. Thankfully we were only able to go about 10 mph in traffic. Swinging a 41-foot fifth wheel around sharp corners on narrow streets and on hills was the stuff nightmares are made of. We survived, though, and plan to avoid that type of driving at all costs.”

Thom agrees: “City driving, because that’s where you can get hit by someone else through no fault of your own. I’ll take a lonely mountain pass any day.”

Reader Ed K. says, “City streets are the worst. You have issues with congestion, low branches in the neighborhoods, vandalized signs, poor parking and narrow streets. Snow and ice can be avoided by waiting for the storm to pass, and mountains can be driven slow.”

Tips for city driving

  • Leave the RV behind and use your tow vehicle for sightseeing.
  • Adjust the mirrors to see the side of your vehicle.
  • Signal early to warn other drivers of your intentions.
  • Right turns – swing out enough to avoid clipping the curb or other obstacle on the right side. Watch rear in mirrors.
  • Wait for cars to clear to allow turns. Most people will move over when they realize more  turning room is needed.
  • Know your tail-swing.
  • Pick the widest, least congested roads possible.
  • Stuck and lost in a major city? Keep an eye on the city buses and follow their route. If they can make it through, your RV should be able to also.
  • Plan your trip outside of rush hour.


Towing our Jeep on I70 to Colorado shook the electrical harness so bad that it spent two weeks in the shop being rewired before we could travel again. I once directed my husband to such a bad boondocking site that every cabinet opened and spilled contents onto the floor… and him.

Here are a few things our readers had to say about roads that make you say “Yikes!”

Dr4F says, “One type of road missing from your poll choices that I absolutely HATE is one riddled with potholes, seams every 10 feet and huge chunks missing.”

Jim O. dreads bad roads too: “The roads I dislike are paved roads in such disrepair that we must slow down to 45 mph or slower to prevent damage to the RV.”

Wayne adds, “At the top of my list is poorly maintained interstates. A recent trip through Illinois was so bad that everything in cabinets was shaken loose, mats stored on bunks were on the floor.”

Tips for driving bad roads

  • Secure everything in the RV before taking off.
  • Slow down.
  • Avoid potholes if possible – but don’t swerve out of your lane.
  • Keep tools to tighten all those screws loosened!


Ken L. does not like mountain roads and considers them among the worst roads for driving: “The worst-case scenario is the winding mountain roads, especially downhill, trying to navigate narrow passes, or, second being the city roads and trying to navigate right hand turns. If only there was a class on respect, courtesy, or common sense the world may be a better place. Since this is not the case, I, for one, have more respect for other individuals towing, especially tractor trailers. I can say I have first-hand experience and know what they have to deal with.”

Anne G. says, “We did the Top of the World Highway from Canada to Alaska. Scary!!!! Not planning on doing it again, but if we did, it would be Alaska to Canada. Why? Against the mountainside and not on the very edge looking way down! Came to one place, about a block long, only wide enough for one RV. No backing up with a toad.”

Tips for driving mountain roads

  • Research the mountain roads and passes ahead of time.
  • Be aware of the season and potential for snow and ice.
  • Keep engine cool going up the mountain:
    • Turn off AC.
    • Pull over when safe and let engine idle if overheating.
  • Keep brakes cool going down mountain:
    • Use exhaust brake if equipped.
    • Use lower gear to slow vehicle.
    • Tap brakes rather than holding.
    • Pull over and let brakes (and nerves) cool, if needed.
  • Stay slow and steady.
  • Be aware of wheel placement at all times.
  • Stay focused!


I added a category: Wind! Wind is the one element that can stop our trip dead in its tracks and send me looking for a place to camp. My husband hates driving in the wind. Having been literally pushed from one side of a bridge to the other by an unforeseen gust of wind, we check projected wind speeds before even taking off.

Tips for driving in heavy winds

  • Check the wind forecast, particularly the projected wind gusts and any advisories before departing.
  • Go slower than normal speeds.
  • Be aware of the vehicles around you: Wind gusts affect everyone.
  • Know your wind speed comfort level for your rig.
  • Keep both hands on the wheel.
  • Watch ahead for the windbreaks that will alter the wind on your vehicle.
  • Stop to rest or find a campsite and wait for it to blow over.

Planning your trip? Want to avoid those bad roads? Here is a site that ranks the states with the worst road infrastructure.

Happy and safe travels!


Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon has been a full-time RVer living “The Dream” for the last six years and an avid RVer for decades more! She works and travels across the country in a 40’ motorhome with her husband. Having been a professional food photographer for many years, she enjoys snapping photos of food, landscapes and an occasional person. They winter in Arizona and love boondocking in the desert. They also enjoy work camping in a regional park. Most of all, she loves to travel.


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Roger B
1 month ago

Avoid at all costs I65 south through Montgomery Alabama. Roughest piece of interstate l’ve been on in a long time. Every concrete slab is tilted about 2″ out of line with the next.

1 month ago

Roads and weather events really don’t bother me. They are a part of traveling and getting thru life. I feel great when I come out the other side.

1 month ago

I-5 from Seattle to San Diego can ruin your trip!

Bill Byerly
1 month ago
Reply to  bill

Dang… part of my trip this year is going up the I-5 from San Diego through Washington 🙁

Left Coast Geek
1 month ago
Reply to  bill

I5 isn’t bad at all in California (once you get out of LA) and Oregon, although I prefer more interesting drives. I haven’t been through Washington on I5 in 40 years so I can’t really comment on that part.

1 month ago
Reply to  bill

im running up central cali up to weed and getting off I5 at that point on our way to Crater Lake. i used to drive I5 all the way to Tacoma when my sister lived up there. i dont remember it being bad.

Neal Davis
1 month ago

Thank you, Nanci! Our RV GPS is tied to our wifi, so theoretically it “knows” the latest road conditions as well as the dimensions and weight of our RV. So far (but in only 9 months) it has not put us somewhere we do not fit. As to snow and ice on roads, I strongly concur with your advice and the admonitions of the readers; thank you!

Jim Johnson
1 month ago

Get off the Interstate Highways as much as possible! This will also allow you to avoid major city traffic.

I truly wish GPS programmers would create a ‘rational’ route finder. While I want to avoid Interstates, I mean just that: ‘avoid’ and not ‘drive 300 extra miles to never use an Interstate’. Fortunately TomTom (maybe other?) GPS units allow me to create custom routes on my PC and store on the GPS. I start with ‘avoid Interstates’ then override to move the route to an Interstate sparingly where it makes sense. 95% of our travel is on US or State highways. We also dodge all the major metro areas on migratory trips between the Continental US north and south border without adding big miles. Typically RV perfect 55-65mph roads without cars and semis whizzing around and cutting me off to use the exit a quarter mile ahead.

1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Johnson

Google Maps has great trip planning and GPS features. It is always up to date, even to the minute! You can customize your route, add stops, and pic your own poison on which route.

Matt Colie
1 month ago

Pull Off and Wait It Out, has been our method on more than a few occasions. It used to be that my wife’s schedule forced us to travel late in the year. Early on I elected to always provision for three days minimum. This served us well when things got bad, we would just find a place to hold up and be warm and safe and watch the chaos as best as we could through the frosted windows.

Jesse Crouse
1 month ago

Dams. Particularly Conowingo in Md. Built late 1800’s or early 1900’s.

Bob p
1 month ago

I will disagree on the adjustment of your mirrors, you know what color your vehicle is so why do you need to see it in the mirror? Proper adjustment is having the mirror looking down the side of your vehicle where a simple tilt of your head lets you see the side of your vehicle. Now you have vision of what’s coming alongside you all the time. When backing you have more visuals before you hit something. Truckers don’t look at the side of their trucks, they safely drive by knowing what’s around them at all times.

Tom H.
1 month ago

“twin bridges over the Mississippi and the Ohio Rivers in Cairo, IL”
Crossed those bridges many times. Both with/without our rig. They are really narrow! Seen a lot of mirrors on the road.

Bob p
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom H.

I’ve been across those bridges in a 18 wheeler many times, I know what you mean. They were designed when no vehicle was more than 7’6”, now they are 8’6”.

1 month ago
Reply to  Tom H.

I thot them to be fun and challenging. One year going Northbound it was bright and sunny but when we got off the bridge on the North side it was blinding rain. I guess the rain did not want to cross that bridge either. I thot is a neat weather event.

Steve H
1 month ago

We just returned from a trip from Denver to OK and NM. We had everything from melting snow to narrow Interstate lanes through construction zones to continuous potholes for miles to 25 miles of gravel road. But mainly we had wind, lots and lots of wind to 40-50 mph. We knew we would have the wind, so I planned our entire route based on forecasts from the Windy app on my phone. This is my best tool for daily route planning and, if the wind direction shows high headwinds in a direction we must go, we don’t go, we stay!

Betty Studzinski
1 month ago

I’ll go for the narrow lanes in construction zones. Once in California I found myself in one with heavy traffic both directions, cement barriers and I was driving a 30’ class A. It was going well till my lane went lower on the right side and my MH tipped to the right scraping the entire side on the concrete barriers. It was over $5,000 in damage.

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