How to Drive A Car in the Hills?
Most people around Dubai are used to driving around the desert or plains. But there is a lot of difference between driving on the plains, deserts, and hills.
While the type of car that a person drives is important, what else is important can be found in these questions
- HOW a person drives the car?
- HOW much a person knows about the car?
- WHAT are the specs of the car?
- WHAT all places has the person driven to?
A lot of people don’t have the know-how over driving on the hills, so they end up driving in a manner that puts a lot of pressure on the car’s engine.
Also, the lack of hill driving etiquettes causes people to compensate their poor driving skills with the excess of car horns. The understanding of what gear to drive on uphill or downhill, and how to avoid excessive braking while going uphill/downhill is essential before going on a drive around the hills.
A large percentage of drivers that are involved in an accident are from the plains with little to no driving experience of the mountains.
Let’s talk about how a person can responsibly drive around the mountains.
Overtaking in Hills
Since the line of sight vision is limited while driving uphill, and at night, even the headlights are limited, driving with the clear head is important. This is also because the vehicles that are coming downhill will have a slightly higher speed as compared to the person driving up.
Before you overtake, check if there is traffic sign that notifies you of the narrow bridges, bends, and other such information. Additionally, keep your eyes beyond the vehicle in front, so you aren’t taken by surprise by any incident ahead.
Since hilly roads can narrow down at times, before overtaking, check to make sure the vehicle in front isn’t swerving or changing its speed. As the person ahead will have a better view as compared to you, notice if there is a difference in how the person is driving before slipping past the car in front.
While on an uphill climb, gravity has a serious effect. The steeper the road is, the more a person will need to use lower gears for climbing the hill or mountains.
When coming downhill, gravity has a positive effect on the vehicle’s speed, and hence, an appropriate safe speed needs to be determined that you can control. Use of low gear, as well as proper use of braking techniques, is necessary.
Brakes work on the principle of friction, which works between the discs and the pads. Excessive braking can cause vehicles to heat up and then eventually reduce the efficiency of the brakes. This is why braking by the use of engine and brakes is essential.
It is better to plan before and obtain the road conditions or a brief idea so you can be prepared for the destination and the journey in between.
Escape ramps are built especially along the steep mountain roads as a means to allow drivers to either overtake or stop. Since hilly roads aren’t too wide normally, a person won’t be able to stop just about anywhere. These designated areas are useful and allow a driver to take a quick break or park the car for a short while.
Usually, Escape ramps have an elongated bed of loose soft material such as gravel for slowing a runaway vehicle. Check for the escape ramp locations around the route and stop accordingly.
Speed and curves
Slowing the vehicle down to reach a safe speed before entering a curve is of the essence. Turning at high speed or even a speed that is more than the posted limit can lead to the vehicle spinning out of control due to weight shift.
Make sure to keep the speed less than what has been posted for a particular curve. However, try to put yourself that will allow acceleration around the curve so as to help maintain control.
When going downhill and into a curve, you can use the gravity for providing the acceleration.
Lane Position While in the Corner
To avoid a head-on collision, it is necessary to maintain the right lane position while around a bend. One should stay centered in one’s lane for keeping a safe clearance around all the sides of the vehicle.
Going along the outside of the curve increases the chance of dropping a tire off the paved part of the road exponentially. Going over on the soft shoulder can cause the vehicle to lose traction and hence should be avoided.
While at the same time, going along the inside of the curve increases the chances of being involved in a head-on accident, especially around the right-handers. Going on the innermost side provides you with little time to avoid any oncoming vehicle or rocks that may have fallen off.
Now that you have a good idea of how to drive in the hills, why not take a trip to one of the few picturesque roads in the UAE?