Traveling on winding, steep, high-altitude mountain roads places more demands on both the driver and the vehicle, compared to typical city driving. The most common mistake is to drive too fast — a miscalculation that can lead to loss of vehicle control.

Here are some mountain safe driving tips culled from the Colorado Driver Manual and the National Park Service:

  • Make sure your vehicle is up-to-date with preventative maintenance.
  • On long, winding mountain roads, service stations are often few and far between. Make sure the tank is full before you start your trip.
  • Check weather forecasts to help ensure driving conditions will be safe.
  • Use lower gears while traveling downhill. You can slow down without wearing down the brakes. If your vehicle is losing power while traveling uphill, use a lower gear to help prevent power loss.
  • Always slow down when approaching curves and stay centered in your lane.
  • If your vehicle experiences difficulty traveling up steep roadways, pull off the road when you can do so safely or stay in the right lane to allow other vehicles to pass. Many mountain roads have turnouts.
  • Pay close attention to speed-limit signs and warning signs, such as those warning of curves, steep hills, or other hazards. 
  • Keep an eye out for wildlife, fallen rocks, and bicyclists. Keep scanning the road ahead.
  • When driving at night, don’t forget to use the high beams when no vehicles are approaching. They can really help improve visibility.
  • Always yield to vehicles going uphill if you’re traveling downhill on a narrow road. 

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet