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PhilC

When would it be too windy to tow?

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As I am planning on towing in The Scottish Highlands in October and other places over the winter, what wind speed would people start to consider not towing?

 

I assume there must be a rule-of-thumb for when it is not recommended and better to cancel plans or delays journeys 

 

Thanks

 

Phil

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There isn't a hard and fast wind strength - it depends on direction and terrain as well as outfit stability and driver competence/confidence.

 

If the highway authority is banning high-sided vehicles on bridges, then that's a good clue not to tow in that area

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If the forecasts are for wind gusting to 50mph I would be a bit leary.  But it's pretty rare.  And would only be a problem in exposed locations such as bridges, causeways and wide-open spaces..

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As a rule of thumb, if the wind strength outside starts to cause increased wind strength inside then it's too windy to tow! 😉😁

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I don’t think there’s a hard and fast recommendation. I’ve towed in some pretty strong wind, gusting crosswinds are the worst, or passing from exposed crosswinds to shelter and back. 

My towcar is over a ton heavier than my caravan, which must make things easier and I slow down a bit. If trucks are still running, I’m happy to tow.

 

I wouldn’t be as confident if I was running at 85%, never mind 100%. 

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As others have said, there isn't really a rule but common sense should prevail. When lorries are being blown over or bridges are being closed then definitely not. In the end it comes down to how stable your outfit is and how confident you are. Even a light van being towed by heavy car is susceptible to being blown over or off course.

 

Don't forget it's not just you who might be at risk, other vehicles are just as likely to be blown into you and what about rescue services if you've chosen to take a risk and it's all gone wrong. Check the forecast, wind direction and terrain but most of all beware of gusts, they can sometimes be 2-3 times the average wind speed and can catch you unawares especially on exposed sections of road or gaps between trees or buildings.

 

There's no shame in altering your travel plans by leaving a day early or staying an extra day to avoid it rather than putting yourself or others at risk.

 

I've abandoned a couple of trips when the wind strength and gusts have made it imprudent to continue, once last year in the Lake District when we opted to stay an additioaln night at Troutbeck Head when vehicles were being blown over on the M6 and A66 and several years back when again we chose to leave a day early rather than risk it.

 

Being a sailor I'm quite used to the vagaries of the wind and forecasts so have a healthy respect for the strength and power of the wind

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I use a wind speed site that gives the predicted wind gusts . I got cut off last year on Skye when a storm moved in with 80 mph gusts but I use 50 mph as a cut off . My twin axle used to get a bit hairy on motorways with 40 mph gusts at times .

 

 

 

Dave

 

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Thanks everyone.   Been towing for nearly a year - BMW X3 and Lunar Clubman SB; so I will be cautious if it is windy with gusts above 40 mph and delay travelling

 

Phil

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Sometimes if you're already away, you have no choice but to tow home in very strong winds.

If this happens I try to find an alternative route using A and B roads rather than motorways or large dual carriageways because, although slower, they're generally much more sheltered from crosswinds

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9 minutes ago, bspks said:

Sometimes if you're already away, you have no choice but to tow home in very strong winds.

If this happens I try to find an alternative route using A and B roads rather than motorways or large dual carriageways because, although slower, they're generally much more sheltered from crosswinds

Did that once when sailing and got shipwrecked whilst trying to get home to beat a  forecast of F5-6 (18-30mph) which ended up as a F9  (47-54mph)and the boat got washed ashore when the engine failed. The sea then smashed the bottom out of it whilst it sat on the beach.

 

No one was hurt except my pride and the insurance paid out but it made me a lot more wary of the strength and vagaries of the shower

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On 02/08/2019 at 18:49, matelodave said:

Did that once when sailing and got shipwrecked whilst trying to get home to beat a  forecast of F5-6 (18-30mph) which ended up as a F9  (47-54mph)and the boat got washed ashore when the engine failed. The sea then smashed the bottom out of it whilst it sat on the beach.

 

No one was hurt except my pride and the insurance paid out but it made me a lot more wary of the strength and vagaries of the shower

? 🤔 I don't understand the connection, you didn't try sailing down more sheltered A and B roads.🛶

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The connection is taking a chance and hoping that you don't get caught out and that weather forecasts can be miles out. Even sheltered A&B roads can still have open spaces where  a hefty gust can catch you unawares.

 

You suggested than sometimes you have no choice but to tow home, however you do have a choice and common sense should prevail rather than putting yourself or others at risk.

 

You do what ever you feel comfortable with

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There are so many variables; wind direction in conjunction with your direction of travel, altitude, exposure, shelter, other traffic, confidence, ability, weight of tow vehicle, weight of trailer. Weather apps and websites are all well and good but often wrong. Common sense and experience are the only things to go by. 

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whoever is out this Friday and Saturday , it's going to get stormy, they reckon winds of 60mph  in Cornwall. If you have to travel then you slow your speed right down.

 

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On 04/08/2019 at 12:37, matelodave said:

 

You suggested than sometimes you have no choice but to tow home, however you do have a choice and common sense should prevail rather than putting yourself or others at risk.

 

You do what ever you feel comfortable with

My point, really, is that often, particularly this time of year, the sites are fully booked and you simply may not be able to stay another night.

If that is the case you have little choice but to tow off.

That is when I try to stay to sheltered routes, and of course take it slow and get ready to correct any sudden sideways movement. 

Unless the gusts are really extreme that is generally okay, if a little nerve wracking. 

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Indeed. And for those of us still working, if it’s blowing a bit on the last few days of our holiday, we’ve still got to get home for work. Occasionally, it might be possible to leave the caravan and return for it in a few days, but if you’re 7 or 8 hours drive away and can’t get back for a week or more, it’s far from practical. 

 

We got caught that way in the Cairngorms last autumn, and it was a very slow and somewhat fraught tow home. Very grateful for such a heavy and stable towcar. 

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41 minutes ago, bspks said:

My point, really, is that often, particularly this time of year, the sites are fully booked and you simply may not be able to stay another night.

If that is the case you have little choice but to tow off.

That is when I try to stay to sheltered routes, and of course take it slow and get ready to correct any sudden sideways movement. 

Unless the gusts are really extreme that is generally okay, if a little nerve wracking. 

If you are concerned about the safety of leaving a site because of adverse weather conditions you need to speak to the warden who can usually find you somewhere even if it's only on a road

  After all if its not safe to leave, it's not safe to arrive, so there's a good chance of some no shows

 

Edited by rovinmad
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Not quite wind, but a few years ago we were on site when it snowed heavily on the day we were due to leave.  However by about 11am it stopped however it was blowing hard.  I then took the 4x4 out onto the road to find that the wind had caused the snow to freeze hard and it was like being on a skating rink. 

We asked if we could leave the caravan on site and this was not an issue plus no charge.  It was not a CMC site.  Collected the caravan about 2  - 3 days later.

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On 01/08/2019 at 14:09, PhilC said:

As I am planning on towing in The Scottish Highlands in October and other places over the winter, what wind speed would people start to consider not towing?

I assume there must be a rule-of-thumb for when it is not recommended and better to cancel plans or delays journeys 

Hi Phil,

I go by weather warnings for "high sided vehicles", or if no warnings issued then good old fashioned "gut feeling" will make me err on the side of caution and either stay where I am or choose a route that is least exposed to cross winds. I take my time, and if the weather worsens while on the road, I will stop, even if I have to temporarily use a layby or side road 'till the storm passes.

ExTenter

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Hi Phil, 

 

I am due to travel down to Dorset from North Yorkshire in the morning (5 o'clock start). At the moment it doesn't look like it will be an enjoyable journey due to the high winds and gusts (upto 57mph) along the route and with them forecast upto about 22:00 on Saturday night I'm contemplating delaying the journey by 24 hours, from a common sense approach. Whilst I have no issues of taking it steady (24 years of driving and 6 years of caravan towing experience) I know a minority of other road users won't. I will be keeping an eye on the weather forecast over the next few hours and with the bad weather due to hit Dorset later today I am planning to phone the CMC site to just see how bad it is....

 

I guess the keything is if you are not happy or have doubt, don't risk it. You are there to enjoy the break away. With having a caravan or motorhome you have a level of freedom to choose what you do and when. 

Edited by tramman

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On 07/08/2019 at 16:10, joanie said:

whoever is out this Friday and Saturday , it's going to get stormy, they reckon winds of 60mph  in Cornwall. If you have to travel then you slow your speed right down.

 

 

60mph gusts in south and west Wales forecast for Saturday

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We live up in the Northern Highlands and if I hear on the radio warnings for high sided vehicles on the Kessock  bridge (A9 crossing from Inverness to the Black Isle) then for us it is too windy! Mind you the advantage is that the 'midgies' won't bother you! :o

 

You can check it out on Traffic Scotland.

 

BH

Edited by Blackhart

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21 minutes ago, tramman said:

I am due to travel down to Dorset from North Yorkshire in the morning (5 o'clock start).

You may find this link useful for wind speeds

Link

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