Here in Colorado, driving in the mountains is a common thing. Those of us who’ve lived here for years, or who grew up here, are familiar with it. Still, it never hurts to be reminded of some tips for driving in the mountains when you’re out on your summer explorations.
Our mountain roads certainly don’t look like this, thank goodness! However, switchbacks can sometimes make it feel that way. Our biggest tip for switchbacks is the common phrase:
LOOK WHERE YOU WANT TO GO.
Don’t want to veer off the mountain? Look at the spot in the road where you want to go. Take it slow and be aware of oncoming traffic.
Another great tip for driving in the mountains is to
USE YOUR LOWER GEARS.
Most cars these days have several options besides “drive” and these can be quite helpful when you’re driving down off the Grand Mesa or Pike’s Peak. Using your lower gears saves your brakes too!
Weather in the mountains is unpredictable. It can be sunny down in a valley, and stormy in the mountains in the summer.
BE PREPARED FOR INCLEMENT WEATHER.
Depending on the altitude, inclement weather can mean rain or snow. So, while you might not have planned on driving in the snow on that June day, you may find yourself doing so. Chances are it won’t last long, but be ready for all that comes with it: potentially slick roads, unsure drivers, and limited visibility.
Our final tip for driving in the mountains is this:
WATCH FOR ROCKS.
Rockslides are more common in the mountains. The changing temperatures cause expansion and contraction and all that can cause dirt and rocks to shift. So while you’re driving along enjoying the mountain scenery, you should also be aware of rock fall areas. If you’re in an area where rock falls occur (usually there are signs) be sure not to pull over. Keep moving and wait to stop for photos until you’re in a safer place.
Colorado’s Rockies are a beautiful place to visit in the summer! We want you to get out and enjoy the mountains and be safe doing it. We hope these tips for driving in the mountains will help. Injured in an accident? Contact us today!