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Tornado Causes RV Driving Fatality on State Highway

Tornado Causes RV Driving Fatality on State Highway

An unexpected tornado caused an RV driving fatality in South Dakota yesterday. The storm touched down in Miller, South Dakota (about 15 miles northwest of Sioux Falls).

Miller isn’t know as an RV destination. Rather, its located on State Highway 45, which acts as a “non-interstate” RV travel route in South Dakota.

Here’s the very scary part of the story – there was no tornado warning issued by the National Weather Service. There was only a strong thunderstorm warning.

According to local news service Argus Leader, “The tornado touched down, crossing the road east to west, according to the report. It caused the trailer to detach from the RV. The trailer and sedan ended up in the west ditch. The RV came to rest on its roof 150 to 200 yards west of the road in a nearby field. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.”

Tornado Safety for RVers

RVers need to be extra prepared when bad weather approaches. Driving is never a good idea during hostile weather conditions. RV owners should avoid travel during:

  • High winds
  • Heavy rain
  • Snow
  • Fog

I know it seems elementary to warn RVers of these conditions, however, it bears repeating.

We can get accustomed to operating traditional vehicles. When driving an RV or towing a trailer, braking and maneuvering is much harder.

Before RV travel day, remember to check local weather conditions and the conditions at your destination.

Have an evacuation game plan and a place to shelter.

One terrifying part of this specific tornado fatality is the rural nature of South Dakota state highways. We’ve driven hundreds of miles on them in SD and know shelter is hard to find.

It may seem that out running a tornado would be the last option in the situation.

This is why we encourage you to do research in advance and never try to push it. Stay safe out there!

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  1. I was looking at that weather all day (and evening) yesterday. Storms intensify extremely fast in the Dakotas. Dangerous stuff for cars and aircraft. Just park the RV when a storm approaches.

  2. Deborah Kerr says:

    That is very sad…. thank you for the information. We are traveling from Ohio to Yellowstone via I-90 starting 9/16/20 and will need to be extra vigilant – seems like it’s all wide-open spaces there…

  3. Bob says:

    At this time of the year anywhere in the midwest or south is a problem. One of the things i like about being on the road in AZ during winter is they are nearly tornado free. When I come back to MN in late April I avoid the whole Oklahoma, kansas, Missouri area as already tornado season. I head N on I 25 and take I 90 across S Dakota as they are usually still too cold to form tornadoes at that time of the year. In late October when I’m leaving MN I take those more southern routes to avoid icy, snowy roads in the north. The tornado danger is usually gone by then. When I travel to Gulf of Mexico areas I do so only in winter to avoid hurricanes. One has to be aware of the weather. I got used to that in decades of boating before spinal issues made me land bound in my motorhome!