Pro tips for driving in the mountains

If your summer plans include a road trip through the mountains, Verizon IndyCar® Series driver James Hinchcliffe has some helpful tips to make your drive as safe as possible.

Preparing for your trip

Before a race, James and his pit crew make sure that his car is in tip-top shape – and that’s exactly what you should do before your mountain drive. Check your tire pressure and treads, make sure all of your fluids are topped up and that everything is running smoothly. It’s also a good idea to check mountain road conditions in advance. The Canadian Auto Association (CAA) is a good place to start or the Ministry of Transportation for the province you’ll be visiting.

Plan your fuel stops

Before you head into the mountains, James recommends that you make sure you have enough gas in the tank as it could be awhile before you come across another gas station.

Keep your eyes on the road

Along with the fact that a mountain drive is distractingly beautiful, the tight twists and turns of mountain roads are unpredictable. Anticipate that there could be a vehicle coming around any given corner or that there could be wildlife on the road.

Drive during the day

If you can, avoid driving at night which can dramatically reduce your visibility.

Don’t over brake, especially going downhill

You might be tempted to use your brakes a lot when you’re going downhill but this could actually cause them to overheat and become less efficient. James advises that you keep your speed slow and consistent. If you have the option, shift to a lower gear.

Give yourself extra room on corners – and take it slow

Drivers often make the mistake of taking a corner too quickly causing them to creep into the oncoming lane.

Avoid overheating

Monitor your temperature gauge, making sure it stays within the safe zone. One way to keep your engine from overheating is to turn off your air conditioning – instead, roll down your windows and enjoy the fresh mountain air.

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