How to Drive in the Mountains?

I plan on a road trip from Ohio to Idaho starting the Memorial Day weekend. We will travel over the continental divid in WY. Why do I ask? The last time two years ago I did the trip my friend basicly said I do not know how to drive in the mountains. What expertice or formal training she has is limited to drivers ed in HS. I my self I used to drive trucks over the road for 10 years to WV. And by the way we are using a hybrid SUV. Any tips? It is a automatic.

Are you towing a trailer? In many cars and SUV’s you can hit the OD off button which takes you out of the overdrive gear. This gives you more power going uphill, avoids numerous up and down shifts by the transmission (easier on the trans), and gives you some engine braking on the downhill side of the mountain.

In a hybrid SUV I don’t know if your model has an OD off button? When you hit the brakes in your hybrid you are really just recharging the battery. It is only when you put firm pressure on the brakes that you use the car’s brake pads contacting the rotors. Therefore you shouldn’t have to worry about your brakes being overworked and fading on long downhill stretches of road.

Your owner’s manual should give to good info on the topic that is specific to your make, model, and year of hybrid SUV.

Modern cars are capable of just about any on road experience you’re likely to encounter. I agree with “Uncle” and reading your owners manual carefully, a talk with the dealer and a little discussion on a chat line that deals specifically with your car might be all you have to do. Preparation for trips in general are more important than too many specifics on the terrain you’ll be traveling over.
Have a safe trip.

This Q is kinda toung and cheek. My friend was infering I was not using the brake or gas or maybe not passing other cars@ the right times. She Q my driving like she had some type of special knowlage but did not let on . @ the time we where on I90

If you are on a narrow mountain road, up-hill traffic has the right of way. If you driving down a steep grade, use the same gear as you did (or would) going up hill. Other than that, common sense prevails.


I understand the gearing and all that and staying to the right but We are talking about a expressway with parts 3 lanes going up hill no power problems not towing any thing not much more than just two people in the car. Is there something a driving instructor would have told my know-it-all friend that that I do not know? Oh yes and being right is more important than any consequences suffered

The only obvious thing is to not ride the brakes on long downhills. Downshift instead and let the engine braking take care of it. However, you say you’re driving a hybrid - check what the manual says to do. One other thing- pass going downhill, rather than uphill, that’ll save gas.

I don’t think the “friend” that questioned your mountain driving skills has any special knowledge, insight, or credibility. Why are you so struck by the criticism? If this friend couldn’t or wouldn’t provide information on how you could improve your mountain driving then I’d give he or she no credence.

So forget the comments by this friend. You’ve gotten some good tips on mountain driving from the responses. If there is any info in there you can use then you are getting what you need.

One issue that some people have in hilly country is trying to pass a truck at the crest of a hill and not anticipating that the truck will almost certainly speed up as soon as it starts downhill. This can lead to the left lane getting jammed up and people making some not-so-safe maneuvers until the situation sorts itself out.

Are you sticking to I80 accross WY? If so, you might have some long down-hill sections, but it’s a wide highway and you can easily maintain 75 the whole trip. No special driving skills, other not riding the brakes, required. You have more hilly sections crossing Iowa than you do accross Wyoming.

My advice is if you are the driver your job is driving, not sighteeing. You don’t say you are dealing with a underpowered vehicle (which would require adjustments on your part) and I really don’t think you are dealing with a 4 wheel drum brake hybrid. Drive on, but stay on both your side of the road and guardrail.

I myself have no idea what people mean when they use the phrase "you don’t know how to drive in the …pick your spot or condition. Just adjust you speed and allow for increased stopping distances for adverse conditions.

Remember, ice can and will make the best of us look foolish.

Best advice is to put duct tape on your friend’s lips before she talks in the future.
This way you won’t have to listen to her critiquing of your driving style.

Don’t block traffic by staying to the right is the best advice I can give you.

Since you aren’t actually driving on mountain roads, I won’t tell you to let motorcycles pass you on tight twisty mountain roads, since that’s not an issue, and they want to have fun on that road, but you’re there blocking them.