What’s the point of having a car if you can’t use it on off the beaten tracks? Those that are not paved, filled with potholes, and are considered risky and deadly. At some point in your driving life, you might crave a spot of adventure that mountain driving could offer. But how can you maneuver your vehicle without rolling down or doing a 360-degree tumble?
Know how to drive smart when going uphill or downhill
- To avoid overheating your engine as you go climb steep mountain roads, shift into lower gear. This enables you to maintain a consistent speed, making it easier to reach the summit. Doing so also helps keep the engine stay cool.
- Get rid of anything that might put a strain on your engine during the steep climb. Since running the AC is a number one culprit, you should turn it off, roll down your windows and enjoy the fresh air and breathtaking view.
- Allow your engine to cool down when you reach the top. Set it in idle to keep it from overheating or, if you still need to look for a place to park, turn up the heater to its highest setting, so the engine can bleed off the extra heat.
- When climbing down, don’t use the brakes when slowing down your car. Use the engine and transmission. If you drive on automatic transmission, shift into 2 or L. If your vehicle has a manual transmission, stay in a lower gear.
Anticipate possible mountain mishaps
- Map your route using a paper map to help you pilot through the winding terrain and familiarize those blind curves and other obstacles. If you chart out your path, mountain driving would be less dangerous.
- Remember to always stay on your side of the road, follow the speed limits, have enough gas to travel to and from your destination, and pull over to let faster-moving traffic pass if you want to drive slow and enjoy the scenery. Don’t forget to stay sharp for animals that can just jump out of nowhere, especially when driving at night.