Whether you're trying to negotiate a mountain or a molehill, most current roads
that cut through elevated terrain are largely smooth and present little risk.
Since the most frequently traveled mountain roads are Interstate highways, few
advanced skills are necessary to maneuver the highways' gentle curves and
inclines. Before you navigate these long and winding roads, however, head
straight to the mountain driving tips below.
When driving on a hill, avoid driving crosswise or turning on steep slopes.
You could lose traction and slip sideways. Drive straight up, straight down, or
avoid the hill completely. Know the conditions on the other side of a hill
before driving over the crest.
When climbing a steep hill, start in a lower
gear rather than downshifting to a lower gear from a higher gear once the ascent
has started. This reduces strain on the engine and the possibility of stalling.
Observe all posted speed limits on curves, inclines, declines and
Avoid riding the brake when travelling down steep grades. If
you're driving a manual vehicle, shift to a low gear before beginning your
descent to allow your engine to slow your vehicle.
and increased gasoline volatility can lead to engine failure. This can happen at
any altitude and is called a "vapor lock." Pull over to a secure, clearly
visible place and allow the engine to cool.
Be mindful of vehicles behind
you when hauling a trailer or driving a heavy recreational vehicle up a long
mountain slope. Pull over and let other vehicles pass whenever safe and
Most roads that are particularly winding or hilly are clearly
marked as such. Still, before your mountain trip, plan your route and be
confident that your camper, vehicle-trailer combination or RV can handle your
On all mountain roads (but especially on curves), staying to
the right is imperative. Don't be worried about a cliff that seems too close to
your wheels. If a nearby cliff posed any extraordinary threat, then the road
would be closed.