Chances are you are making your way back from a great adventure and just ran into some winter weather. Or maybe you intended to be in the elements and enjoy the ambiance of the winter season. Whatever the situation, don’t take that journey without listening to a few tips that could help make your winter RV driving travels safer and more enjoyable.

Words of Caution

RVing in the Mountains

Even if you are the best driver in winter weather, be humble and respect the elements. Some of the best out there have been caught in a situation that they could not get out off due to snowy or icy conditions. But if you follow a few good rules and take your time, you can depart and arrive safely.

Motorhome RV Tires

Motorhomes, are drove off the lot with highway tread tires. These tread tires are an extra layer of tread to give a quiet and comfortable ride and create a longer life for the tire. However, in icy or snowy conditions it will be that much harder to feel and react to slipping on the roadway because of the cushion from the tread.

In some way, the weight of your motorhome helps to stabilize you on the road. More weight means more pressure applied per square inch through your tires onto the road which helps maintain traction. But it also means with more weight, it will take more time to stop. In addition, you will need to utilize extra caution to be aware of your stability on the road. Between the tread and weight of your RV it can be hard to judge exactly how much traction you have, but if you take it slow and easy, the safer you are.

Extra layer tread tires for motorhomes

Motorhome Drive Train

Most cars on the road today are front wheel drive. If you are driving a motorhome, you’re driving a rear wheel drive vehicle. Understand that all the driving techniques you learned while driving your car will not work with your RV. The rear wheels have to push the weight of your vehicle forward (And that’s a lot of weight). Front wheel drive pulls the weight of your vehicle which is easier to control on the road because the drive is leading the weight. When caught slipping on the road in rear wheel drive, you have to steer with the slide while pumping the brakes gently to regain control of your vehicle (Warning! This is not a fail-safe technique. It can only give some assistance if you’re caught in the situation). The best rule is to get off the road before conditions get bad.

Pressing on your accelerator as you would with front wheel drive, can make things worse when driving a rear wheel drive vehicle (RV). This is unlike front wheel drive vehicles (Your car), where accelerating can help you to steer out of a slide.

RV Body Structure

Motorhomes and trailers are not built tough enough to handle a slide or collision on the road. If you slide off into a ditch, you will more than likely create some expensive damage to your RV and put yourself and others in danger.

Use extreme caution on wintery roads

Driving Tips

1.  The best rule is, be prepared to stop and wait it out. If a snow storm occurs, get off the road as soon as you can and find shelter (Truck stop, rest stop etc.) until the weather subsides or the roads are cleared.

2.  Brake gently, steer smoothly and accelerate at a steady pace to avoid slipping.

3.  Bring an extra gas tank full of gas in case the storm causes you to slow down and eat up your fuel.
Use your low beam headlights in the snow to avoid glare for a better view of the road.

4.  Always leave enough room between you and the car in front of you. If someone cuts you off and shortens the space in front of you, then slow down to regain that safe level of distance.

5.  If you are caught in a slide situation in a motorhome (Rear wheel drive only), steer with the slide and pump the brakes lightly to stop. This technique may save you from ending up in the ditch (But understand there are no guarantees in icy or bad road conditions; the best rule is to get off the road before it gets that far).

6.  When towing a trailer in the snow or ice, understand you have a lot of weight behind you. Braking can be dangerous if not treated with caution. If you brake too hard or too fast, the tow weight could pull you off the road or get you into a Jack-knife. Even the best tow vehicles with the best snow tires and best drivers are susceptible to these situations in snowy conditions; so be careful, be patient and think things through.
Have your snow chains ready in case you need them.

7.  For Diesel Pushers, turn off the exhaust brake on your diesel Motorhome. It could cause the back end of your RV to sway and pull you into a ditch.

Hopefully you are not out there braving the elements. But if you do run into snowy or icy conditions; maybe these tips will help to make your journey safer. Drive Safe!


Robert Norman
Author: Robert Norman
Robert Norman works for Valley RV Supercenter in Kent, WA and has been in the RV business since 2013. Robert shares his experiences with the public writing about RV tech tips, how to's, destinations and culture. You can see more of Robert's articles at

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