Driving in bad weather

So, you want to keep using your motorhome through the autumn and winter? Good for you – there’s more to motorhome life than barbecues as the sun sets! Just be prepared and take a look at our advice for driving in bad weather and you’ll be ready for year-round adventures.

Driving in bad weather - Camper Van Free 540 parked in the snow

Check your motorhome

You should always make sure you vehicle is in a good, safe condition before setting off, but it’s worth taking extra care if you know the weather is going to be bad.

Ensure all your lights are working well and that the wipers are clean and able to clear the windscreen effectively if there is a sudden downpour.

The legal limit for tyre tread is 1.6mm – or 1mm for motorhomes over 3,500kg – but most experts recommend at least 3mm for additional safety. Tyre tread is even more important when the roads are wet as braking distances can increase dramatically if tyres are too worn. A tyre’s tread helps disperse water away, so if there’s less tread you’re running the risk of aquaplaning. The outer edge of a 20p coin is about 2mm, so this can be used as a guide to how worn your tyres are.

Worth mentioning, also, that four tyres below the legal limit on a vehicle could result in a £10,000 fine and loss of licence (£2,500 and three points per tyre) for the driver.

Ensure you are topped up on screenwash for when the wet or snowy roads get dirty.

The basics

If you take just one piece of advice from this blog, let it be this: slow down.

A good rule of thumb is if it’s time to use your wipers, it’s time to reduce speed. Nine out of 10 weather-related deaths and serious injuries on the road happen in the rain.

Plan ahead by checking the weather. If it’s forecast to be severe weather, consider waiting for a better time to travel. Stick, as much as possible, to the main roads and put additional space between you and the car in front.


This is Britain and you can’t avoid driving in rain all of the time. As well as adjusting your speed accordingly, the main things to watch out for are aquaplaning and flooding.

Most motorhome drivers will have experienced aquaplaning in their cars. It’s when you go through a patch of water and the tyres lose contact with the road momentarily. You’ll know it’s happening as the engine might suddenly get louder, the revs will increase and the steering will feel light. It’s quite disconcerting but it’s important to stay calm, take your foot off the pedal slowly and try to keep the steering wheel straight. Wait for your vehicle to slow down by itself and regain contact with the road, at which point you can begin to gently steer and brake again.

To avoid aquaplaning, try to follow the tracks of the vehicle ahead and avoid sudden acceleration or braking when it’s raining.

Flood water can damage your motorhome in a number of ways. Your engine could get flooded, you could damage the electrics or, if the water gets in, it could ruin your fixture and fittings.

When you come across an area of flooding it’s tempting to put your foot to the floor and to ‘go for it’. Don’t be one of those people who get stuck in the middle. Instead, take a breath and have a think. Get out and have a look at the water. Don’t risk driving through if it’s deeper than 10cm, there is debris in the water or the water is fast moving. Motorhomes are particularly susceptible to being swept away by fast moving water as the strong seals around the doors give them extra buoyancy.

If you’re absolutely certain it’s safe, proceed at a reasonable speed in a low gear. Once through, press the brake pedal a few times to get rid of any excess water.


Fog can be very dangerous indeed. If you can’t see more than 100m ahead of you, it’s time to get the fog lights on. Don’t use the full beam as the light can actually reflect back off the fog and will restrict visibility even further.

Switch the air conditioning on as this will help keep the windows clear from mist and turn on the windscreen air heater.

If visibility is very bad, wind down the windows at junctions so you can hear other vehicles coming but, if you’re having to resort to this, it’s probably time to consider whether this journey could be done another time. Don’t forget motorhomes will take longer than cars to pull out of junctions.

When the fog does clear be careful not to go too gung-ho as another patch might be just metres away.


Motorhomes are bigger than cars and that bigger surface area makes them more prone to problems in strong winds.

Slow down and focus, paying extra attention on the road in case there are branches or other debris.

Grip the steering wheel more firmly than you ordinarily would in case the wind makes your vehicle shake.

Try to allow extra room on either side of your vehicle in case you are blown sideways and look ahead for gaps in trees and buildings so you know when to expect a gust.

Snow and ice

Stick to the main roads as much as possible as these are more likely to have been ploughed, gritted or just cleared by volume of traffic.

Avoid hills as your motorhome is going to struggle to make it to the top and accelerate slowly using a high rev, leaving a whopping 10 times as much room as you usually would to the car ahead.

Your wheels can lock if you brake too suddenly so keep it gentle and be aware that not all road markings will be visible.

Some motorhomes have a winter driving mode, so turn that on if it’s available.

If you do get stuck, place a traction aid under the drive wheels of your vehicle, shovel any snow away and you should be able to edge away.

And stay aware from gritters as these hero salt-spreaders can damage your motorhome’s paintwork!


Hail is slippery and impairs vision – a dangerous driving double-whammy. If at all possible, pull over and wait for the storm to pass – it usually only lasts a few minutes.

With some extra care and forethought, you can absolutely continue to enjoy travel right throughout the seasons. Why not check out our guide to making your motorhome more comfortable in winter?

Related posts