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Mountain Driving Tips

When visiting the mountains take along a road atlas or any of the many local and regional maps.  Be sure when taking on the big mountains your brakes, pads and tires are in good condition, you’ll need them. Check to see you have plenty of fuel, most of the greatest drives are thru the National Forest, and fuel is only available in towns and on well-traveled highways outside the National Forest. 

Climbing mountain roads is no problem provided your vehicle’s power train systems (engine, transmission and rear end) are in good condition. When descending mountain roads you’ll find in some places the roads are steep and winding to avoid constant braking it’s suggested that you place your automatic or manual transmission in a lower gear or second gear for automatic transmissions which is one down from Drive. This procedure will automatically hold your power train back slowing down your vehicle’s progress, it’s best to do this when you crest the mountain gap or at of slow speed or full stop. Dropping your transmission gear at a high speed can possibly damage your transmission, this lowering of the gear will save your brakes pads, heavy braking heats up your brakes and hot brakes can cause brake failure.  Also maintaining a proper speed will help your vehicle on the curves, high speeds can cause you to over steer your vehicle possibly forcing you vehicle to cross the line and entering the other lane of traffic. In other words watch your speed when descending roads on mountain slopes.  When you reach the bottom of the mountain grade be sure to shift back into drive or higher gear, it saves gas and takes the strain off your power train while traveling on more level terrain.

If you like listening to music I suggest you use CD’s or tapes, fiddling with the radio takes your attention of the road and stations aren’t always easy to find when traveling thru National Forest, and please turn off the DVD players if you have one and show the kids what the other world really looks like. Also cell phones aren’t always reliable unless you’re in the vicinity of local of a signal towers.

More tips:  If it’s raining slow down, if it’s snowing or icy try to stay off the roadway gravity rules especially on snow and ice sometimes it’s not just the going down or rounding curves it’s the going up that’s the hard way to go.  On sunny days the vistas are breath taking though some summer days produce that hazy smoky mountain look causing a decrease in visibility.  If visibility is low hiking, fishing and other outdoor recreation, festivals or just going to town are fun.  Drives through the forest or just hanging out at the cabin or lodge are also great ways to enjoy the mountain experience.  If mountaintops are hidden by clouds your not going to see mountain views yet a drive thru the clouds is a wonderful experience as long as its not raining, snowing of icing. 

Often while driving mountain roads you’ll notice three lane pavements, two lanes going up and one lane coming down. The two up lanes are for slower traffic to the right passing traffic to the left.  Even though these high mountain roads can be intimidating to some visitors and sight-seers it customary while driving on the two lane only roads, that slower drivers should pull over at safe location and allow the faster moving traffic to pass. That way you can pull back onto the road and continue your sightseeing with greater pleasure and get those pesky tail-gater off you bumper.  Local folks are often in a hurry to get to work or where ever their going, the sights are less than new for them.  We mountain folks appreciate your visits and enjoy sharing our personal lifestyle with you, your friends and family.

Happy motoring...the Highlander

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Travel and Real Estate Guide to the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains, including North Georgia, Western North Carolina, Tennessee River Valley and Up Country South Carolina
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