Tips for Driving Safely Through Mountains
Driving through the mountains can be a breathtaking experience, but there are plenty of dangers that you need to be prepared for. Mountains are nothing your Jeep Wrangler can’t handle! However, there are some adjustments to your driving style and preparations you will need to make to ensure your safety. Here are some tips for driving safely through mountains.
Fill up on Gas
Before you head out to the mountains, you should make sure that you fill up your tank. Gas stations are usually few and far between up in the mountains, so you will want your tank to be full so you don’t run the risk of being stranded. Plus, you can save some money by getting it beforehand too because gas is typically more expensive up in the mountains.
Get a Checkup
To avoid any other issues, you should also get a checkup done prior to traveling in the mountains as well. You will want to make sure that your brakes are working properly, you have enough oil, your tire pressure is good, and everything else is in good shape. Again, you will want to enter the mountains with the mindset that there will not be a lot of resources available, so be prepared.
Plan Your Trip Out
For any kind of road trip, you should have a plan in place. This is even more essential when you are heading up to the mountains. One of the most important things you should do is have a physical map on you and also have directions downloaded on your smartphone or written down. When you are in the mountains, there’s a good chance you will not have any phone service. To avoid getting lost, have a backup map. Also, look on the map for potential areas where you can stop and plan your route accordingly.
Have an Emergency Kit Handy
In addition to having a physical map, you should also have an emergency kit stored away in your Jeep. An emergency kit should consist of a few different items such as:
- First aid kit
- Jumper cables
- Spare tire
- Lug wrench
It’s a good idea to carry many different tools in your vehicle so you can be prepared for a potential problem that might come your way. Plus, your Jeep Wrangler has plenty of storage space, so you can easily fit these items in the vehicle.
Watch Your Temperature
As you are driving along the mountains, there are a few things you will want to keep an eye on, the first being your temperature gauge. Because your Jeep might be working a little harder, there is a chance that the engine could overheat. If you find that your Jeep is running above the recommended temperature and the warning light turns on, then you should pull over and turn off the engine to let it cool down.
Watch Your Surroundings
When you are up in the mountains, you also need to be very mindful of your surroundings. The main reason is because there’s a high possibility that you could run into an animal crossing the road. You may come across cyclists as well. Mountain driving deserves your utmost attention, which also means looking for any warning signs that might be posted. This is even more dangerous at night. Since there usually aren’t streetlights in the mountains, make sure you are using your lights to increase your visibility.
Downshift on Steep Topography
The majority of Jeep Wranglers are stick shift, which means you might have to be making some adjustments you aren’t used to as you travel up steep topography. When you are in this situation, you will want to make sure that you are downshifting to a lower gear when you are traveling downward on a steep surface. Try your best to shift to the lower gear before you hit the decline because it can be dangerous to do it as you are going downhill.
Follow Speed Limits
If you are someone who likes to press on the gas pedal a little bit more than what the speed limit allows, avoid this when you are in the mountains. Driving too fast can be extremely dangerous, so keep to the speed limit. If there isn’t a speed limit posted, use your best judgment and stick to 20 to 30 mph.
Be Extra Cautious in Certain Weather Conditions
Driving in the mountains is already dangerous enough as it is and requires plenty of caution. You will want to take this to a whole new level when it is snowing or raining. Because conditions might be slick, this is the perfect time to put your Jeep Wrangler’s four-wheel drive into action so you can get some more traction on the road. There’s truly no better vehicle to be in than a Jeep Wrangler in this situation, so take advantage of the awesome features it has to offer for your safety.
Avoid the Center Line
The roads up in the mountains are usually narrow with tight, two-lane roads. Because there are so many turns up in a mountain, it’s important that you stay away from the center line to the best of your ability. If you are too close to the yellow center line, you run the risk of potentially hitting oncoming traffic.
Brake Early on Turns
A final tip for driving safely through mountains is to make sure that you break early when you are about to make a turn. Like we mentioned previously, mountain roads are usually tight with little space to maneuver. Plus, your visibility of what is ahead of you could be obscured by rock formations or trees. By braking early on turns, you give yourself more control of your vehicle, because those turns can be sharp.
Traveling through the mountains is something every Jeep Wrangler owner should try at some point. Before you go, make sure your Jeep is equipped with all the accessories to make your drive smoother and safer. At AM OffRoad, you can find JK tail lights, light bars, mirrors, and so much more to improve the safety of your travel in the mountains.