Hill and Mountain Roads

Driving on steep hills or mountains is different

Driving on steep hills or mountains is different from driving in flat or rolling terrain.

If you drive regularly in steep country, or if you are planning to visit there, here are some tips that can make your trips safer and more enjoyable.

• Keep your vehicle in good shape. Check all fluid levels and also the brakes, tires, cooling system, and transmission. These parts can work hard on mountain roads.

CAUTION:
If you do not shift down, your brakes could get so hot that they would not work well. You would then have poor braking or even none going down a hill. You could crash. Shift down to let your engine assist your brakes on a steep downhill slope.

CAUTION:
Coasting downhill in NEUTRAL (N) or with the ignition off is dangerous. Your brakes will have to do all the work of slowing down. They could get so hot that they would not work well. You would then have poor braking or even none going down a hill. You could crash. Always have your engine running and your vehicle in gear when you go downhill.

• Know how to go down hills. The most important thing to know is this: let your engine do some of the slowing down. Shift to a lower gear when you go down a steep or long hill.
• Know how to go uphill. You may want to shift down to a lower gear. The lower gears help cool your engine and transmission, and you can climb the hill better.
• Stay in your own lane when driving on two-lane roads in hills or mountains. Do not swing wide or cut across the center of the road. Drive at speeds that let you stay in your own lane.
• As you go over the top of a hill, be alert. There could be something in your lane, like a stalled car or an accident.
• You may see highway signs on mountains that warn of special problems. Examples are long grades, passing or no-passing zones, a falling rocks area, or winding roads. Be alert to these and take appropriate action.

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