14 Tips for Driving in the Mountains

Posted:

11 June,2024

Updated:

11 June,2024

Driving in mountainous areas can provide a breath taking experience and offer stunning views and challenging roads. However, it also requires a different set of driving skills compared to driving on flat terrain. As the saying goes, “Smooth sea never makes good sailors. Whether you're a seasoned driver or embark on your first mountain drive, driving on mountains will require special skills and alertness. Here are a few tips you need to remember while planning a trip to the mountain ranges

tips for driving in the mountains

Understanding Mountain Driving

The Terrain 

Mountain roads usually have sharp curves, steep inclines, unstable roads and weather conditions. These roads demand a higher level of skill and attention from drivers. Additionally, you will be unable to drive during the early morning or at night as the roads will be foggy. So you might think the perfect day to drive is during the day. But if you think so, you might be wrong. As mentioned earlier, the weather conditions are unstable, so before starting a ride, make sure you check the weather update.

 

Vehicle Check-Up 

Whether you're riding to the mountains or your office, make sure your vehicle is in good condition. Check the tyres to see if the air pressure is up to the manufacturer’s recommendation. The recommended tyre pressure is mentioned in the vehicle handbook or printed on the sill of the driver’s door.

 

Apart from the tyre check, also check the vehicle’s breaks, lights and fluids. Driving in the mountains can strain vehicles, and it is important to address any issue immediately.

 

Make sure your vehicle’s cooling system is in good condition, as driving in high temperatures or climbing steep grades can cause additional strain. 

 

Make sure to pack all the useful accessories

When travelling or driving to mountain areas, having all the necessary accessories is essential. Here is a list of the accessories you should carry. These accessories will benefit you, especially during the winter season.

 
  • De-icing spray

  • Scraper to de-ice the windshield and windows.

  • Shovel to remove snow

  • Blanket and warm clothes

  • Non-perishable foods

  • Water

  • First aid kit (It should always be in the car despite where you are driving)

  • Mobile charger

  • Shoes

  • Maps

  • Torch

  • Hiking boots
     

Plan beforehand

Before starting your drive, plan the route accordingly. As mentioned earlier, mountain routes can have unstable weather conditions. So check the weather forecast before leaving. Additionally, plan your route in advance and choose the route according to your driving comfort level.

 

Altitude Effects

As you travel to higher altitudes, the air becomes thin and can affect you and your vehicle. Because of the low density, the engine will not be able to develop power since the oxygen levels are reduced in the atmosphere. Oxygen is required in the air for your vehicle to mix with the fuel for combustion.

 

Additionally, reduced oxygen levels can also affect the human body. Some of the common symptoms include

 
  • Tiredness

  • Headache

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Loss of appetite

 

Drive Slowly and Steadily

Most mountain roads have steep inclines and sharp turns. So, it is essential to maintain a safe speed, especially while travelling downhill. A safe and steady speed will help prevent accidents and also will not strain your vehicle.

 

If you’re driving up the mountain and your car is struggling to climb up the mountain, shift to a lower gear. By shifting to a lower gear, you will be able to maintain a steady and consistent speed.

 

Do not give any sudden accelerations, which can lead to loss of traction.
 

Don’t try to overtake

Try to avoid overtaking while driving on mountain roads. Keep in mind to stay in the same lane. In case you have to overtake, be watchful while doing so and never try to overtake in the middle of turns.

 

Wait for the broader and longer sections of the road to turn and then overtake. This will prevent you from colliding with any vehicle and will also keep you safe.

 

Shifting gears

When driving down the hills or slopes, make sure you shift to lower gears. As you drive down without any pressure, the car will move. So, better control of the vehicle shifts to a lower gear. This will also reduce the load on your vehicle and prevent the brakes from overheating and failure.

 

Stay Alert

While driving on the mountain roads, always be alert. There can be a sudden intrusion of wildlife, or a falling rock and other hazards in common. This can be common in mountain roads.

 

Pull over for short breaks

Driving in the mountains can drain yourself and your vehicle, as there will be steep and sharp turns. So, it is recommended that you pull over for short breaks. Additionally, if you are not used to driving in the mountains, you may drive slowly, which can cause a traffic build, and you might hear frequent honking.

 

This can be stressful for you and also for others who are driving. In such cases, you can stop for a while and allow the others to pass by. Frequent honking can make your ride less enjoyable and people driving behind can become restless and try to overtake you, which can lead to accidents.

 

Watch for Signs

While driving in the mountains, always be watchful of the signboards. They can guide you with the speed limits, turns, and wildlife crossing areas.

 

Avoid Distractions

Try to keep your focus on your driving and do not get distracted. Avoid using mobile phones and never take your attention away from driving.

 

Avoid Overloading

Keep in mind not to overload your vehicle. If the vehicle is overloaded, you might not have proper control. This can be dangerous while driving in the mountains.

 

Respect Local Traffic

There can be local crowds in the mountain ranges. Respect the local drivers as they may be used to the region.

 

Be Prepared for Emergencies

It is important that you always carry a emergency kit in your car. This will help you during emergency situations.

 

Conclusion

Driving in the mountains can be thrilling and can be a one-in-lifetime experience. At the same time, it is important to be prepared for any emergency situation.

 

Make sure you drive with reliable car insurance like Shriram Car Insurance. Shriram Car Insurance offers comprehensive coverage with valuable add-ons like roadside assistance, engine protection covers and more.

 

Stay safe, and Happy journey!

 

FAQs

1. What are the risks while driving in the mountains?

Common risks while driving in the mountains include blind curves, sharp turns, unstable weather conditions and sudden landfall.

 

2. How do you drive in the mountains?

Driving in the mountains can be challenging. While climbing up the hill, it is important to drive steadily and with proper brake application. By doing so you will have a good control of your vehicle while driving.

 

3. Which gear can be used while driving down the mountains?

While driving down the mountains, drive in low gears. Let gravity do the work and save your brakes.

 

 

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Save up-to 85% off on your Car Insurance

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