Driving in hilly areas is actually not a big deal. It just needs a few directions and safety measures, which are different from normal driving. Once you get acquainted with the conditions and gradually become familiar to the possible situations, it will become the most adventurous thing. But before that, you need to be determined, thoughtful and comfortable. This will help you to be a good driver, and the precautions will no longer seem troublesome.
Here are ten of them, which you should follow while driving in hilly areas. Get going:
It is always sensible to start a journey early in the morning. Night driving should always be avoided in hilly areas, especially here in India. If you need to, you must be careful about pedestrians and cyclists on the narrow roads. This is because they will hardly be visible, due to the strong beams of approaching vehicles. In winters, driving is a strict no-no at night. Chiefly because of massive fog, it will surround you completely after sunset, leaving you with almost negligible visibility. Guess what, you might even have to fish for your car bonnet!
Even if you feel you are overdoing it, you still need to be thoughtful enough to keep your head-lights on all night. Because it is more about seeing and being seen rather than anything else in hilly terrains. Most of the times, tractor-trailers and animal-drawn carts use the hilly roads for their journey, so to prevent any kind of collision it is mandatory you keep your head-lights on. Of course, during daytime you will not have to face this hazard.
Once you are going downhill, stay off the brakes as much as possible and try to shift into a lower gear. You should know that vehicles going uphill always have the right way. And try not to hit the brakes very hard because in the process you might be at a risk locking them. Always connect a lower gear when you need to go uphill and also before entering a curve or riding a slope, just to get enhanced engine compression.
In the hilly areas, most of the petrol pumps close down at 7 pm. Along the highways too, it is the same. So keep an eye on your fuel gauge and don’t bring in trouble because of your own negligence. Fill it on the plains and get set for your hilly trip.
Be particularly careful when you are travelling during a downpour. Visibility can become very low, sometime seeing 25 metres ahead can be difficult. Try not to move on a kachcha road along a highway when it is raining, and please remember to turn on the windshield wipers before troubling yourself through a big puddle. Also remember, after driving through soggy paths for some time, brakes become less effective. So retain that extra distance between your car and the previous one.
Ensure you have enough impetus as you move up a slope, and try to maintain it so that you don’t have to stop midway. Don’t let the engine go into low revs, this can bring knocking, instead let the momentum take you right through the curve. On icy or wet places, you will be making a big mistake if you drop into a lower gear. This will cause the wheels to spin even more. It will be better to move on to a higher gear and then being steady. Before packing up for the night in places of lower temperatures, do not forget to run your engine for a minimum of ten minutes.
When you are near a hill or a curve, you should slow down a big deal. Regulate the speed very carefully so that you can slow down as and when you wish, without much difficulty. If your view is blocked by a curve or a hill, pass a vehicle only when the clearance is good enough and the visibility under your control.
This may seem a little unrelated, but it is very important to have good prior knowledge of the place you are about to visit using your own driving skills. Check the weather and terrain conditions in places along your route so that you don’t have to meet up with unpleasant surprises. Even if you are up for some fun and adventure, you should keep yourself updated with basic knowledge of the place you are about to visit. Remember these are not plain lands where solutions are easier.
This is probably the most important and goes for all kinds of road trips. Do not be reckless and too over-confident to drive in hilly areas dead drunk. You will surely lose control. So, to be a responsible citizen and a good driver, it is advisable to avoid drinking, before, and while driving.
This is supremely important because you will not find a road-side food stall or a dhaba from where you can have a quick meal. Trust your hunger to come on time. So food should be there in abundance. And as for medicines, this does not require any addressing. The ones with vertigo should be extra careful. Happy journey!