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Driving on a hill road has many challenges compared to flat areas, and you can be nervous if you do it for the first time. If you are not careful, it can lead to accidents. So, you should first learn how to drive on a hill road before deciding to test your new truck on the hills.

However, in the article below, we will learn how to drive on a hill, and you will never stall or roll backward.

How to Drive on a Hill Road Using Manual Transmission

Step 1: Accelerate the Speed as You Approach the Hill

how to drive uphill manual

As you approach the hill, steadily increase your speed but remember to maintain a safe speed. By increasing your speed, the inertia will help your car climb the incline. However, you should stay within the posted speed limit while gaining inertia.

Step 2: Depress the Clutch

Press the clutch, ease off the gas pedal, and shift the gear stick to a lower gear. The revolution per minute (RPM) will decrease when you ease the gas pedal. However, the RMP varies from one vehicle to another.

Step 3: Release the Clutch

After shifting to a lower gear, gradually release the clutch while you step on the gas pedal. The RPM will continue to decrease while in the lower gear, so press the gas harder to balance your road speed with the RPM. 

Step 4: Downshift to the First or Second Gear

If you are climbing a steep hill or driving a heavy truck, downshift to first or second gear before approaching the hill. If you have trouble climbing the hill in your third gear, your car might move backward when trying to downshift.

Step 5: Downshift to the Third Gear

Third gear is fine if you are driving in moderately hilly terrain. You should downshift quickly if you notice you are losing speed or your engine whines and roars. If an engine whines or roars, it means that it’s struggling. 

To prevent your vehicle from stalling back or overheating, depress your clutch, shift to the second gear and then increase the speed as you release the clutch. If your engine cannot keep up with the incline, and the road speed has decreased to below 10mph, then downshift to the first gear and increase the speed.

Using Automatic Transmission

Step 1: Speed Up as You Approach the Hill

Depress the gas pedal steadily to increase the speed before climbing the hill. Remember to maintain the indicated speed limits as you increase the speed. If the road is slippery, drive slowly and not press the accelerator hard.

Step 2: Downshift on Steep hills 

Do not manually downshift an automatic transmission if you are driving a heavy vehicle, climbing a steep hill, or hauling a trailer. However, downshifting your vehicle manually enables you to control the speed more and is also easier on the engine.

Step 3: Ease Off the Gas Pedal

If you want to downshift your automatic transmission vehicle, reduce the pressure on the gas pedal, press the release button of the gear stick and move it towards D2. If you are driving at 4000 or 4500 RPM, don’t downshift until the meter is at 3000 RPM and press the gas to resume to a steady speed.

However, most new models automatically prevent the gear stick from shifting if the RPM and road speed are too high. 

Step 4: Downshift to the Lowest Gear

If you are driving on a very steep hill, Shift the gear stick to the D1 after slowing down to 15 to 25 kph. Steadily ease off the gas pedal, shift the stick to D1, and then accelerate to ascend the hill. However, if your vehicle is of the new model, check for ‘’Hill Assist’’ or the power button settings to make driving on the hill road easier.

How to Be Cautious While Driving on a Hill Road

1. Slow Down When You Reach the Crest of the Hill

steep hill driving tips


You should lower your speed when approaching the crest of the hill, as your car will gain its speed when driving downhill. To be safe, depress the gas pedal in case of any oncoming hidden vehicles or cyclists. If unfamiliar with the road, decelerate further to prepare for turns and twists.

When driving on a hill road, it’s essential to leave a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead, especially if it’s a heavy vehicle or a truck. So, leave at least 4 to 10 seconds of the following distance.

2. Drive Downhill on a Low Gear

Whether driving on a manual or automatic transmission, you should descend the hill in the same gear you used while climbing it. If driving on manual, don’t coast down or drag your brakes. If you are using automatic, using your brakes while driving down the hill might wear out your discs and brake pads. However, you can engage them gradually and gently.

3. Avoid Running the Air Conditioner

Driving on a hill road takes a toll on your engine, so running your air conditioner might overheat your engine, which is very risky. Instead, you can open the windows to get some fresh air.

4. Pass Other Vehicles Only If You Can See 150 m Ahead

When driving on the hill road, only overtake other vehicles when necessary and if you can see at least 150 m ahead. Ensure you signal the vehicle ahead with a turn indicator if you want to overtake them.

5. Maintain a Good Distance Between Your Vehicle and the One Ahead

driving up a steep hill with an automatic


Wrapping Up

You should be very careful when driving on a hill road, especially because of the hills, curves, and oncoming vehicles. Drive on low gear while driving down the hill and on slippery roads. So, if you want to try your new truck on a hilly road, above are steps on how to drive on a hill road, either on a manual or automatic transmission.

For more driving lessons from our expert instructors, see the available packages.