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There are several safety tips for driving in hilly areas you should consider. Remember, hilly roads can be some of the most scenic and enjoyable drives, but they can also be the most dangerous. 

This post will provide you with safety tips for driving in hilly areas to help you stay safe and avoid accidents.

Keep reading!

Safety Tips for Driving in Hilly Areas

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1. Keep Left

Narrow mountain roads can present drivers with many “blind turns,” which can leave them unaware of oncoming traffic until it’s too late. 

To stay safe, it’s best to stay in your lane and avoid abrupt steering maneuvers. Driving on mountain roads can be exhausting due to the constant turning, so it’s essential to take breaks if you feel fatigued.

2. Cling to a Gear

When it comes to mountain driving, the usual city driving rules don’t apply. Many people upshift early to save fuel or out of habit, but this can be a dangerous practice on hills. 

Upshifting causes the engine’s revs to drop, leading to a reduction in power and torque output. In the mountains, you need all the power you can get to climb steep inclines. 

Furthermore, the air in hilly areas is thinner than in cities, so when you upshift, the engine has to work harder to compensate for the lack of air. 

To maintain your car’s power and torque, it’s best to stay in a lower gear and in its power band while driving uphill.

3. Watch Out for Emergencies

When embarking on a journey on a remote mountain road, it’s essential to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances such as weather changes or car breakdowns

To ensure your safety, it’s crucial to inform someone about your plans, including your expected return date. 

Additionally, it’s important to pack a survival kit, including a first-aid kit, a flashlight with spare batteries, extra clothing, and food. 

This way, if you get stranded for several hours, you’ll have the necessary provisions to survive until help arrives.

4. Don’t Depend Fully on GPS

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Planning a trip to new places? Don’t forget to do enough research on the alternate routes, stopovers, and roads. 

While dedicated GPS devices work great, smartphones with assisted GPS or A-GPS still require mobile data to plot your position. 

Poor signal reception in remote areas can leave you without reliable navigation. To avoid getting lost, consider bringing old-school backup plans such as maps or traveling with someone familiar with the area. 

And when all else fails, don’t be afraid to ask for directions from the people you encounter on the road.

5. Using Your sprinklers

When driving in freezing temperatures, it’s important to take precautions to ensure your visibility is not impaired. 

Avoid using your windshield sprinkler as the water can freeze, obstructing your view. 

If your windshield does become frozen, pull over to a safe spot and clean it off, or use your car’s thermal windshield heating system, if available. 

Keeping your windshield clear is crucial for safe driving in cold weather.

6. Handling Hairpin Bends

Navigating through hairpin bends on hilly roads can be daunting, but with the right technique, you can do it with ease and peace of mind. 

The golden rule is to slow down when approaching the turn, regardless of whether you’re driving uphill or downhill. 

When going uphill, reduce your speed before the bend, shift to a lower gear, and accelerate through the turn. However, always be on the lookout for vehicles coming from above.

When driving downhill, slow down before the bend and release the accelerator pedal. Gravity will help you through the turn, so you don’t need to put extra pressure on the gas pedal. 

If necessary, modulate the brakes while turning, then accelerate once you’re through the bend. Since you have a better view of oncoming vehicles while moving downhill, spotting them won’t be much of a problem.

7. Fill up Your Tank

To avoid getting stuck on mountain roads, it’s crucial to ensure that your vehicle has enough fuel before embarking on your journey. 

Driving uphill consumes more fuel than driving on flat surfaces, and mountainous areas often have limited fuel stations. 

Additionally, mountain roads typically have poor visibility and narrow shoulder space, making it dangerous to run out of fuel. 

To minimize the risk of being stranded, make sure to fill your fuel tank before setting out on your journey and research the locations of gas stations along your route. 

This way, you can easily refuel and continue on your journey without any delays.

8. Watch Vehicle’s Temperature Gauge

When driving uphill, your car’s engine is under more stress and can easily overheat. To avoid any damage, it’s important to keep an eye on the temperature gauge and take necessary actions if the engine temperature rises beyond the normal level. 

One way to cool down the engine is to turn off the air conditioner and avoid hard acceleration. However, if the engine is still hot, it’s best to pull over at a safe spot and let it cool down before continuing your journey.

9. Overtaking

how to drive in mountains with automatic transmission

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Navigating a mountain road can be challenging, especially when it comes to overtaking. Limited visibility and fast-moving oncoming vehicles can make the process particularly tricky. 

Before attempting to overtake another car, it’s crucial to ensure that the road ahead is clear of oncoming traffic and that there are no sudden changes in elevation. 

Additionally, it’s important to wait until the other driver has given you the signal to pass. Uphill overtaking requires extra caution as the opposing cars tend to move faster. 

By following these guidelines, you can safely and successfully overtake on a mountain road.

10. Stay at Sight all the Time

When traveling in remote locations, it’s essential to make your vehicle visible to others on the road. 

Turning on your external lights and using your turn signals are effective ways to do so, but it’s important to avoid using hazard lights unless you are stopped in the middle of the road. 

This is particularly crucial when driving on winding mountain roads, which are often plagued by low visibility. 

By making your presence known on the road, you can significantly reduce the risk of accidents.

Final Word

By taking the time to prepare and follow these safety tips for driving in hilly areas, you can minimize your risks and maximize your enjoyment on the road. 

Always remember that caution and awareness are key when navigating steep inclines and winding roads.

Enroll for the 5-hour pre-licensing course online to learn the ropes of safety driving on hills and anywhere else.

Lastly, you can book driving lessons and increase your chances of driving safely always.