Rocky Mountain Driving Tips for Staying on the Road

Posted on: December 21st, 2015 by Accurate Auto Body Denver No Comments

Mountain driving tips Mountain driving is unavoidable for Colorado motorists. The Rocky Mountains provide some of the most stunning scenery in America to be seen out of a car window, but they also make for some pretty nerve-wracking drives. If something goes wrong in the city, it’s easy to get your car down to the our Denver Auto Body Shop at Accurate Auto Body to have it looked at. But in the mountains, you are your own lifeline. Here are some Rocky Mountain driving tips to keep you and your vehicle safe while cruising around those mountain curves.

Tip #1: Proper Braking and Downshifting

Mountain driving requires much more vigilance when it comes to shifting and braking. Relying only your brakes on a mountain decline is very bad for your vehicle and will heat and wear through your brake pads in no time. Always be sure to downshift and brake before downgrades to minimize wear and tear. If you wait until you are halfway down the grade and have already picked up speed, you will pay the price in maintenance costs. And when you are pumping those breaks, be sure to use the pulse method, alternating pressing the brakes and allowing your vehicle to coast so that they don’t get too hot from all the friction.

When it comes to turns in mountainous areas, always brake before the curve. Being able to coast or accelerate through turns instead of braking will aid with vehicle stability by putting momentum at the rear of your vehicle. This will also help save you from going too fast around hairpin turns, a bad practice which could prove fatal.

Tip #2: Always Be Prepared

When it comes to mountain driving, the Boy Scout motto rings especially true. Weather in the mountains is especially unpredictable and being ready for anything is the best way to ensure your safety and that of your passengers. Recently we let you know the best things to have on board during a winter emergency – having a survival kit ready is essential for mountain driving. If you find yourself stranded after an unforeseen accident or unpassable weather, having food, water, and emergency gear (especially some extra warm clothing) could save your life.

Finally, nothing will leave you stranded faster than running out of gas and in the mountains there can be quite a lot of distance between fill up stations. And if you do find one up the pass, chances are the prices are going to be pretty steep (pun intended). Plan ahead and make sure you have a full tank before heading up the hill.

Tip #3: Staying Aware

The importance of staying alert and focused on the road during mountain driving cannot be overemphasized. Mountain areas are often full of wildlife so be sure to keep an eye out. Do not attempt to swerve to avoid the animal – stop and wait for the wildlife to cross or depart from the side of the road before continuing on. Also be sure to look out for the other beasts on the road; tractor trailers have an especially difficult time on mountain passes, so be sure to give them plenty of space and yield on tight curves.

Colorado scenery is breathtaking and you should most certainly appreciate it, but don’t let yourself get too distracted. Be sure to keep an eye on the weather and the state of your vehicle, especially the heat of your engine, the effectiveness of your brakes, and the level of your gas tank. And if you can’t pull your eyes away from the view, don’t hesitate to pull over; you’ll enjoy it more that way anyhow.

How to use this information

Staying safe in the mountains is sometimes easier said than done. If you get a little too brake-happy and smell some strange odors coming from your vehicle, you should most definitely have it looked at. Be sure to give Accurate Auto Body a call at 303-344-2122 or contact us through our website information and we will be happy help!

 What is your favorite part of Colorado for mountain driving?

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