Low Hanging Branches

We are told to be knowledgeable about the height of our rigs when it comes to bridge and tunnel clearances, but that also extends to the extensions from trees.


A thumb sized branch and a larger one…both will do damage!

A low hanging branch can be just as damaging as a man made structure. But how do you judge branches as to whether or not they pose a risk? Well that’s a good question. Some like to use an old rule of thumb…if a branch is larger in diameter than your thumb it can scratch. If its larger that your fist it will not only scratch but tear holes and rip off appliances and equipment mounted on your roof.


The leaves at the end of a thin branch are like a knot at the end of a thread. They grab and hold onto what ever they are being pulled through.

BUT! Don’t rule out those wispy branches either! Think what happens when you tie a knot in thread looped through a needle to sew. The knot at the end holds onto the fabric enough so that the thread can be pulled taunt. Branches can do the same thing. It could be a bundle of leaves at the end or a where smaller branches split off the main branch. Get either tangled in anything on your roof and SNAP! something will break…hopefully the branch. What you have to remember is plastic dries out with age and it loses its strength to resist such pressures.


A roof vent can snag onto small diameter branches.

I know we can’t avoid all branches, although it would be nice if every park we visited trimmed limbs and branches up high enough to prevent them from reaching our expensive RVs. Insurance is a wonderful thing, but you’ll still have to deal with the repairs and if its your home, you might be inconvenienced for some time.

What to do. Drive slowly and watch those low hanging objects whether branches, wires or structures. When in doubt…STOP! Step outside and investigate and use a spotter when and where practical.
If you hear a strange crunching or tearing sound. STOP! Do not back up until you have checked to see what the cause was. Sometimes backing up will only make the tangle worse.

I met on 5er owner who added a forward facing camera to the front top of his rig which allowed him to view what the camera was seeing from the cab of his pickup truck. A roof level view.

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Gerald Voigt

Gerald's interests are wide and varied. His work career started in the United States Air Force and since then has worked in logistics management, retail & service management as well as manufacturing. He's an author, photographer, pilot, radio show host and marketing consultant who enjoys RVing which allows him greater freedom to explore, meet new acquaintances and serve his clients.