If the changing leaves have you thinking about a mountain trek to check out the fall foliage, keep these mountain driving tips in mind.
Start with stopping
It takes considerably more force to slow or stop a vehicle traveling down an incline than it does one driving on a level surface. Ensure that your brakes and tires are in good condition before you attempt a mountain descent.
Downshift to decelerate
Your trip down a mountain road will certainly require you to brake at times, but you should not use braking to maintain a constant speed, as this may result in your brakes overheating and a loss of braking effectiveness. Instead of “riding your brakes,” downshift and let your engine slow the vehicle.
Downshift to accelerate
When traveling up a steep incline, be prepared to downshift in order to maintain your speed. And keep an eye on your temperature gauge. If it climbs rapidly, get safely off the road and allow your engine to cool.
Be environmentally aware
Temperature and humidity can change rapidly as you gain altitude. Ensure that your windshield wipers, defroster, and heater are working properly before your trip. Don’t forget to verify that you have a full wiper fluid reservoir.
Yield to climbers
In situations where a narrow road or an obstruction will allow only one vehicle through at a time, you should always give the right of way to the vehicle traveling uphill.
Hold your horses
Higher elevations decrease a vehicle’s available horsepower. Keep this in mind as you pass another vehicle or another vehicle passes you. Allow plenty of time and space.
Don’t be the bottleneck
You have every right to slow down to view the spectacular scenery. But, if doing so starts to create a line of vehicles behind you, be courteous and use a designated pullout to let them pass.
Rest and rehydrate
Mountain driving requires more focus than driving on the flatlands. If you plan to make a day of it, take rest breaks frequently. And, dehydration can cause fatigue, so drink plenty of fluids on your trip.
At higher elevations, fall can turn winter-like at a moment’s notice. Have the appropriate inclement weather gear with you – ice scraper, blankets, flashlight, food, and a small shovel for example. You should also have a full tank of gas when you start your trek.
Fall in the mountains is glorious. Take the time to properly prepare for your trip so you can fully enjoy it.
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