Tips for Mountain Driving

Tips for Mountain Driving

Planning a road trip to the mountains soon? The mountains offer a beautiful change of scenery for those who are from out of town. Each season has postcard-worthy views to offer all its visitors, with wildflowers popping out of every corner in the spring, beautiful lush greenery in the summer, a festival of colors in the fall, and crisp white snow in the winter.

When planning your trip, it’s easy to remember the essentials like weather-appropriate clothing, phone chargers, and your favorite snacks, but did you remember to check out the road conditions? 


When you’re visiting up in the mountains, it won’t take long for you to quickly notice the vast difference between driving on mountain roads versus driving in flat lands. Not only are you dealing with rapidly changing weather, but you’re learning to adapt to steep hills, blind curves, and the threat of wildlife. 

Six Tips to Help You Prepare for Mountain Driving

1) Plan ahead.

Benjamin Franklin said it best, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” There are several things you should plan ahead for driving in the mountains. Make sure you take a look at the GPS prior to leaving so that you can review your route. 

It’s also a good measure to print out the directions before leaving. There’s a good chance that you are going to lose signal and won’t be able to use your GPS properly.

Also, make sure you check the weather forecast before heading out. If you’re visiting during the colder months, you’ll need to be aware of slick roads. Mountain roads are higher in elevation and are usually shaded by trees, creating the perfect recipe for black ice. You may want to keep a set of tire chains with you. 

2) Check out your brakes.

Definitely make sure you get your brakes checked out by a certified auto mechanic before starting your trip to the mountains. Mountain roads can be full of surprises, and your brakes could be the deciding factor between a near-miss and a fatal accident. 

Not checking your brakes before driving on mountain roads could also be costly. If the brake pads are worn down already, and you continue to add pressure onto them, you will soon begin wearing down your rotors. If your car starts to shake when applying the brakes and it’s been a while since you changed your brake pads, you’ll need to contact your mechanic to check your rotors.

3) Be aware of your surroundings.

When driving in the mountains, there are endless possibilities of what you could encounter on the roads. Make sure you avoid interacting with your phone and keep your attention straight ahead. Wildlife could be standing around a blind curve at any moment, cyclists could be just on the other side of a hill, or you could encounter other vehicles on a narrow stretch of road. 

When maneuvering around obstacles like wildlife or cyclists, it’s best to proceed cautiously and check for oncoming vehicles. Also, make sure to only pass on a stretch of the road where you can clearly see ahead of you for oncoming traffic. Never pass an obstacle in a blind curve or before a blind hill. 

4) Fuel up before you leave.

Before you start your trek into the mountains, you’ll want to stop by the gas station. It’s extremely rare to find a gas station once you enter a National Forest or National Park. You’ll want to make sure that you have enough to last until you can find another stop.

It helps to do your research beforehand and plot out gas stations along your route. This way, you’ll be fully prepared for your drive each day, and you won’t have to worry about running out of gas in an area without a cell phone signal.

5) Create a checklist before you leave.

It’s helpful to have a checklist ready to reference before driving to the mountains. With these tips for mountain driving, you can easily create a list to refer to before heading out the door. Here’s our quick, comprehensive checklist of things to do before you leave:

  • Have your brakes checked by a certified mechanic
  • Plan out your route 
  • Print off directions
  • Plan out gas stations along the route

6) Locate a local expert.

Planning ahead is key. If something goes wrong and your car is damaged while driving in the mountains, you want to make sure that your vehicle is being taken care of by trustworthy experts. 

First Aid Collision is conveniently located in Asheville, North Carolina right outside of the Pisgah National Forest. We pride ourselves on our commitment to quality with extensive experience, high-quality materials, and excellent customer service that will get you back on the road in no time. 

If your trip to the mountains takes an unexpected turn, contact us for your complimentary estimate.