My little 91 Sentra in the mountains

I need some support and advice. A few years ago my husband and I moved to NC from Wisconsin. The drive through the mountains via West Virginia scared the living daylights out of my because my Sentra does not have the power to make up the inclines at the same speed as other cars on the road. I had trucks barrelling down on me and I was practicly in hysterics.

Now we’re moving back. My husband thinks going through Ashville and Tenn will be easier but I’m still afraid the same thing is going to happen.

So will I be the only car out there struggling to make it up and therefore really shouldn’t be out there? Or should I just suck it up and realize people should pass me if I’m going to slow.

Freakin out in NC


Well different routes will be different.  I don't know the area enough to say.  However I believe the solution may be found in some relaxation techniques. People will pass you if they want and if they don't then it is not your problem.  Don't feel you have to suck it up, just relax. Make an effort to provide opportunities for drivers to pass anytime they want.  After all, you don't really want someone who is uptight about wanting to pass you to be driving behind you do you?  

That is all assuming you are staying up with the speed limit, for the most part.  If you are driving 15 mph under the speed limit and it is not because the car can't keep up, then you may need to adjust your driving habits.  You can move up to the speed limit or make special efforts to allow others to pass, even to the point of pulling off the road where safe.  

While IMO the driver who wants to go over the speed limit should realize they are accepting the responsibility for any problems, likely they are too self centered to accept that.  They tend to believe it is their right to speed.  Keep that in mind.  It is far better to be safe than right.  

If you can't be comfortable driving under those situations.  Don't drive.  It is your safety and the safety of others on the road.  It is not about being right or wrong, it is about staying alive.  Let your husband do the driving.

If you want, you could have the car freighted, by car carrier truck or train (no, I don’t know if a train goes near there). You could take a bus, train(?), or plane. Bone Voy-ah-gee as BUGS Bunny is apt to say.

thank you. You are right about trying to stay relaxed. And the problem is not that I don’t want to keep up speed, it’s that the peddle is to the metal and the car still drops speed when climbing. I’m trying to remember exactly how much, but I guess at least 10 miles per hour. I’m driving because my hubby is driving the moving truck. We are trying to make other arrangement but they may not be financially feasible. Then again, we’re to the point that the peace of mind may be worth it even it is out of our range.

we’re going on a “test” run this weekend. We start in Charlotte, so it will take all day, but we can drive over the mountains into Tenn and back in a day. At least my husband will see for himself what I’m talking about and stop thinking I’m smoking crack.

If you are renting a large enough truck you can tow the car and enjoy the company in the truck cab. I would use a transporter rather than a dolly if that is possible.

The biggest factor here -and I hope this doesn’t sound rude, because it’s not intended that way at all- isn’t that your car can’t maintain highway speed on the hills. It’s that you can’t stay calm when that’s happening. There’s nothing wrong with kicking the little Sentra down a gear and doing 45 through the hills. You may have tractor-trailers barreling down on you, but they have eyes and brakes and a steering wheel, and they are just as interested in not having an accident as you are.

Again, I’m not trying to sound rude, but it’s a simple reality that what WILL cause an accident is you having a freak-out and reacting poorly, or overreacting to a situation that isn’t as bad as it seems.

If you’ve got your foot to the floor and you are only doing 30, then that’s a case of something wrong with the car and you need to take a look at it. But, as was said, if you are just afraid to put your foot in the carpet and maintain speed on the hills, then that’s something you’ll have to work on yourself.

Going west and then up will be less mountainous, but I agree with the others. Going hysterical is the unsafe part of your driving. Drive your own speed and tune them out; most big rig drivers are safety conscious and they’re not going to plow into you no matter what you think. West Virginia is a state to avoid if you want to make good traveling time; there’s not a straight road anywhere.

Hit I-40 west and if your car bogs down a bit on the hills, so what? If someone does not like it they can go around in the other lane.
A lifelong friend of mine lives in Asheville now and has made a dozen trips back and forth to Oklahoma on I-40. He makes pretty good time and his cars are usually 4 cylinder models.