Mountain driving can be a wonderfully exhilarating experience, but it can also take a huge toll on your vehicle if you aren’t aware of the hazards and the safety tips and tricks of driving in the hills.
It is no wonder that a large number of hill road accidents are caused by drivers with little to no mountain driving experience. Here are a few tried and tested tips that can help you avoid being one of those people that fall foul of mountain driving hazards.
1. Overtaking other Vehicles
As your line of sight will be shorter during uphill driving due to the gradients, you will need to drive with extra caution because the traffic against you is moving faster as you are driving uphill and they are driving downhill.
Before overtaking any vehicle, you should always look for traffic signs indicating narrow bridges, bends, U-turns, or any other potential risk. You should also be attentive with the vehicle immediately in front of you watching for any signs of swerving or changes in speed.
Remember, the driver in front of you has a better view of the road in front of him/her and might be looking to take avoiding action before you can even see an obstacle ahead.
2. Try not to go downhill any faster than you can go up it
Do not use your brakes excessively as means to reduce your downhill speed.
You can downshift on your gears and use engine braking to keep your speed down. Also, resist the urge to race down the mountain as is often the case with people not familiar with mountain driving.
3. Keep an eye out for escape ramps
Escape ramps are built on steep mountain roads to allow drivers to stop or overtake as the roads themselves aren’t very wide. They are also there for emergencies if your brakes fail and you need to slow your vehicle.
Some are roads made of sand or gravel to slow your vehicle and you need to make sure you know where these are to avoid damaging your vehicle or sustaining an injury in the event of your vehicle becoming a runaway.
4. Ensure your windshield wipers, heater, defroster, exhaust, and brakes are in good condition
Make sure that your transmission and brake fluid levels are correct and that fluids have been replaced at the recommended interval.
Over time brake fluids take on contaminants and moisture lowering its boiling point. Extensive use of your brakes can then overheat the fluid causing you to lose braking efficiency which can be dangerous in mountain regions. Make sure you know the condition of your brake fluid and the condition of your braking system, including discs, brake pads, and brake hoses.
Note: Also check the condition of your tyres prior to mountain driving as worn treads can be dangerous.
5. Avoid hugging the centerline
Almost all mountain roads are narrower than national highways.
Some drivers have a tendency to drive by the centerline of the road. This technique can create serious issues when driving in the mountains. For example,
If you’re hugging the center line and another center-hugging car comes around a corner traveling in the opposite direction, you may collide head-on.
Quick Tips for Uphill driving
- Watch out for hazardous signs. Hidden dips, falling rocks, and deceptive gradients, all need to be considered. Look out for these potential hazards and drive accordingly.
- Be prepared for surprises, so that any vehicle, animal, or obstruction doesn’t result in a collision.
- Keep a watchful eye on the weather. Wet or icy roads can make it too challenging to get up the steepest of hills and think about taking snow chains with you.
- Prepare yourself for low visibility particularly during storm periods and during winter periods.
- Always yield to downhill travelers as they will find it more difficult to stop.
Quick Tips for Downhill driving
- Slow down. Downhill driving will cause some natural increases in speed. It’s also difficult to stop quickly, so a slower initial speed should be used to avoid excessive speed when driving downhill.
- Run a lower gear. Engine braking will help to hold you back ensuring you don’t drive too quickly. This also helps in the reduction of wear and tear on your brakes and overheating of your brake discs and brake components.
That concludes this article and we sincerely hope you had an interesting and informative read.
**This information is shared by Premier Plates UK