Taking A Trip To The Mountains? Here Are Some Safety Tips

Nothing can make a weekend more exhilarating than a drive to Lonavla, Munnar, Manali or some other destination up in the hills. However, driving in the ghats is not quite the same as driving on city roads – greater skill and caution are necessary.

Of course, if you happen to be a skilled driver, you may not need any advice, but it would be good to review these safety tips before you set out.

Thumb Rules Of Driving On Hills


The mountains reflect nature’s beauty but also hold some risks. If you know the basic traffic rules, it will be easier to drive safely in the hills. Bear in mind that ghat roads aren’t like your usual highways. So, remember these driving tips:

  • Always be considerate to vehicles going uphill; pull over and let them pass.
  • Try and stick to your (left) lane at all times.
  • Slow down before every turn or blind curve.
  • Overtake with caution in the hills; avoid doing so on blind curves.
  • Do not go faster than necessary; overspeeding can be especially dangerous.

Give Way To Traffic Going Uphill

Going uphill, especially on steep climbs, can be a tricky affair. You have to keep the car in right gear and build enough momentum, else there’s always a risk of rolling down. And it can become rather challenging to control a vehicle rolling backwards on curvy hill roads. As a courtesy, it’s important to always give way to vehicles going uphill to help them stay on course and make their experience safer.

However, if you drive a Ford SUV, you won’t have to worry about your vehicle rolling back. Ford Freestyle, EcoSport and Endeavour offer hill launch assist feature that holds the car in its place for a few seconds while going uphill, making it easier for you to negotiate those steep curves.

Do Not Coast In Neutral

Your car’s gearbox can work magic on steep inclines. While driving in the hills, remember that you are acting against gravity as well. You can use the gears to your advantage if you keep these things in mind:

  • Do not be tempted to save fuel by putting your car in neutral gear while going downhill.
  • Always remember to change to a lower gear before beginning your descent.
  • Slow down to a crawl before attempting to change to a lower gear in hilly areas.

Use Horn, Especially On Blind Curves

Our roads are full of surprises. You can never assume what is lying in wait around the corner. Honking unnecessarily is bad, but in the hills, it’s good to use the horn wisely. So, to stay safe, do honk before every blind curve or turn.

Use Hand Brake

Do not apply brakes abruptly; anticipate stops. Use the handbrake if you need to halt on an incline. When juggling throttle and clutch inputs while driving in the hills, the handbrake can be your best friend.

Downshift Regularly Around Bends

Even experienced drivers are often confused about whether to downshift or not, specifically at steep turns and bends. The answer is simple. It’s always better to downshift instead of lugging your vehicle in the wrong gear. But do not wait until the last moment.

Stay Within Speed Limits

You may feel your adrenaline pumping when you are behind the wheel on hilly roads, but remember, you’re not on a racetrack. So, maintain minimum speed and always stick to your lane when entering a curve and while coming out of it. Even if you consider yourself an ace driver, resist the temptation to drift through corners.

The Ford Advantage

Ford cars are well equipped to make driving on ghat roads safe and comfortable:

  • Electronic Stability Control: Ford’s excellent Electronic Stability Control (ESC) comes in handy on hilly terrains; it helps prevent your vehicle from skidding even in adverse conditions.
  • Anti-Lock Braking System: Another indispensable safety feature is the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS). It detects and prevents the locking of wheels and thereby eliminates the chances of an accident.
  • Hill Launch Assist: Hill Launch Assist (HLA) feature in Ford Freestyle, Ford EcoSport and Ford Endeavour offer a ‘3-second hold – no roll’ that is especially useful while driving in the hills. HLA comes to your aid at all times, whether you are driving uphill or downhill.
  • Hill Descent Control – This feature on Ford Endeavour enables you to descend downhill safely and at a steady pace, no matter how tough the slope is. Just control the steering, and your Ford will take care of the rest.

Last Words

Before hitting the road, here are a few things you need to check:

  • Get your car serviced a few days before your trip
  • Make sure there are no mechanical problems that can trouble you on your trip
  • Gain experience with short hill drives before exploring the ghats at length