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Old 22nd May 2006, 14:16   #1
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Default Tips required for hill driving?

Mod Note : Please continue the discussion on Our Article : Safe Highway & Ghat Driving (ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats).

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Hi guys

We are planning a trip to one of the hill stations. As have never driven myself on the mountains of India( and mountains in general), would appreciate if you could give specific pointers on hill driving, the differences between driving on the plains and hills ,the things to be kept in mind and helpful tips.Any specific dos and donts would be appreciated.

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Old 22nd May 2006, 14:35   #2
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* most imp : same gear downslope as you'd use on the same gradient uphill
* riding the clutch is that much more dangerous
* the uphill traffic has right of way - esp on narrow roads - anticipate single-lane stretches and stop for them
* if its a cold place - brakes may need a little warming up in the early morning - try getting them "pumped-up" before you *need* them
* lights on are a good idea anyhow - more so if you keep darting in and out between sunfacing and dark hillsides
* use the horn when in doubt, and then some, around hairpins, blind curves
* use the 'racing' line carefully
* cool weather may cause lowered liquid intake, remember to drink water
* to see beautiful waterfalls - stop first
* stop where vehicles from both directions can see you well in advance
* enjoy the drive
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Old 22nd May 2006, 14:41   #3
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mrhap,
hills needs some extra inputs from driver, both physically and mentally.

u need to overcome the fear/butterflies-in-stomach while watching deep valleys and sudden inclines and declines. rty to concentrate on track where you are driving and try not to look into valleys and at the height of hills.

now regarding driving and car:

- STICK TO YOUR LEFT LANE.
- make sure your horn and lights are working in perfect conditions. honk at EVERY curve and corner and turn.
- if road is narrow, remember, right of way is for upcoming vehicle or the one which is going uphills. but donot expect such courtesy from bus and cab drivers. some of them will give you respect and some will try to cross that narrow lane b4 you, so use cautious approach.
- use lower gears for uphill drive and also for downhill drive.
NEVER EVER COME DOWNHILL IN NEUTRAL OR ENGINE SHUT-OFF. use lower gears and brake judiciously.
- if inclines are getting steeper, first of all switch off the AC, if using it.
- make sure tyres have enough treads left in them coz bald tyres will not provide you with requisite grip in hills.
- keep some strong rope in boot, might come handy if towing is needed.
- keep a battery operated torch too, really comes handy during car break-downs at night!

hope u have a happy and safe driving in hills.

by the way, where are you heading to?!
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Old 22nd May 2006, 15:18   #4
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Add to the comments by revharder and zenx,
>>Please check the fluid levels before driving off. Especially the coolant and the brake fluid, PS fluid besides others.

>>Usually hilly roads many a times will be in bad conditions and off reach for proper service stations. Use your judgement how fast you want to drive. You dont want to be in a situation: had a surprice on coming traffic, and had to get off the road suddenly. Next thing you realize is something broken underbelly (like oil filter case or something) and the service station is 100 kms eitherway.

>>If you r driving in foggy areas, fog lamps will be of good help.

>> Collect info about nearest service stations enroute.

>> watch out for loose soil on the edges of the road. Specially during monsoon. It may look firm with grass on it, but you would never know.

Play it safe always, and enjoy the drive.
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Old 22nd May 2006, 17:09   #5
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In case of hard mist while climbing the hill, try sticking on the tail lights of a bus which's climbing the hill..Keep a lil distance from the bus too..

avoid breaking often while coming down from a hill as it can heat up the brakes and can coz failure of it..try to stick to lower gears while coming down ..

try giving space to a vehicle which's climbing the hill when u r coming down..

As a matter of fact, higranges are least prone to accident because ppl are so cautious while driving.
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Old 22nd May 2006, 17:23   #6
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everyone has already put in most of the TIPS i'd say

1. Dont drive on Highbeam
2. Give way to traffic going up [ this is a MUST ]
3. Use engine braking.
4. Watch were u park
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Old 22nd May 2006, 17:27   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kphilip
In case of hard mist while climbing the hill, try sticking on the tail lights of a bus which's climbing the hill..Keep a lil distance from the bus too..

.
Hey, I would correct you a bit on this statement of yours or rather modify it a bit --

In case of hard mist while climbing the hill, try sticking on the tail lights of a bus which's climbing the hill..Keep a lil distance from the bus too and don't focus on the parking lights of the bus for too long in one go . Keep looking away from them once every 30 secs atleast . The reason why I say this coz if u keep looking at the tail lights for too long there are chances that you get into a hypnotised kind of effect and makes your reflexes much slower and cud lead to drowsiness as well .

And the two main imp things while driving in the hills which should never be done are --

1) NEVER OVERTAKE ON A TURN NO MATTER WHAT THE SITUATION
2) NEVER TRY AND DRIVE IN NEUTRAL

Rest is that you should drive within your comfort levels and don't think that you are driving on the Delhi roads !!!

Have a nice & safe trip !!

Cheers

PS -- Another tip is that try doing the journey at night ... though the bad part is that you get to miss the scenery !!! The avg speed in the hills is faster if you drive at night and its safer as well .... ;-)

Last edited by khaadu75 : 22nd May 2006 at 17:29.
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Old 22nd May 2006, 17:46   #8
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one more suggestion from my side:

try to get full expertise in stopping a car on incline and then moving ahead without sliding backwards!
you can practice it on any deserted flyover in delhi!

it'll sure help you in case you stuck on an incline!

use of handbrake is must for such a stoppage!!

Last edited by revharder : 22nd May 2006 at 17:49.
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Old 22nd May 2006, 17:53   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khaadu75
Another tip is that try doing the journey at night ... though the bad part is that you get to miss the scenery !!! The avg speed in the hills is faster if you drive at night and its safer as well .... ;-)

i dont agree on that ...do a night journey only if you know teh road properly ...else just avoid it ....you can be blinded by headlights ...always when overtaking ...give way to vehicles which are climbing ...and use engine braking as much as possible ....when inside tunnels ,remove goggles .....
and never brake in the middle of a curve ...ur car can go into a skid ....dont try and race with another similar looking vehicle ...it may have better tires or may be modded ...


drive safe
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Old 22nd May 2006, 18:11   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speedsatya
i dont agree on that ...do a night journey only if you know teh road properly ...else just avoid it ....you can be blinded by headlights ...

drive safe
Hey .. U have it wrong there . Even if you don't know the roads it easier to drive in the hills at night unless u sleepy ( in that case it doesnt matter day or night ) !! Let me try and explain it ... At night you might get blinded by lights but you can see the lights way before they actually blind you so one can always slow down or park on the side . During the day no matter what you will have to brake before every single turn as you don't know some other ***hole might be overtaking on the otherside . This leads to much slower avg speeds whereas at night you know when there is something headed your way and if u don't see no lights you can go around turns at ur normal speed . TRY IT AND U WILL UNDERSTAND IT !!!

Quote:
....dont try and race with another similar looking vehicle ...it may have better tires or may be modded ...
And yes if anyone is driving to Simla or back pls refrain from racing with a mad *** driver usually spotted in a white palio GTX or at times even in a golden zen ( dont look at the DL numbers and think he's a delhiite ) and flying through the winding road up and around Simla -- usually spotted pretty easily as he's the only mad guy who has his lights on 24 hrs a day while driving . Wave and he mite stop but don't try racing , he knows the roads like the back of his hand and mite whip even a faster car on this stretch !!

Cheers
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Old 22nd May 2006, 18:17   #11
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Yes, I go with satya... try to leave as early as possible in that way you do not need an AC and also you can have a feast for your eyes, Hey whats in a point where u r travelling and u don't enjoy the ride?
and follow all the tips from "revharder" those are good ones. and while parking in the uphill or downhill make sure you follow the parking standards(wheels tilted away from the curb if there is one :-)) or else its always good to keep a big stones to the wheels when parked.
usually the hills are curvy so, watch out for those bigs vehicles and the taxi walas.
and huh, don't forget to keep your camera handy and have very lil food while in the ghat sections.. (we don't want you to throw up all the way up and down heehee)
Happy journey chief
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Old 22nd May 2006, 18:23   #12
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LOL ... leave as early is fine as u get to see the countryside !!! But its from the ease of driving level that I was stating that night is better than day ... when or how or why depends on the one travelling but he wanted tips so gave him a tip not too many people are aware of !!

Cheers
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Old 22nd May 2006, 19:15   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khaadu75
PS -- Another tip is that try doing the journey at night ... though the bad part is that you get to miss the scenery !!! The avg speed in the hills is faster if you drive at night and its safer as well .... ;-)
Night driving on unfamiliar ghat roads must be avoided as a general rule. There are a great many reasons for this. One is blinding by headlights as pointed out by Speedsatya, although this applies only to two-way ghat roads. Another reason is that on a ghat road with sharp curves, your headlamps are pointing straight ahead, and you often have to make sharp turns into sheer darkness. Not a very pleasant experience, especially for a beginner. During daytime, you can also see the sharp curves ahead and the boundaries of your road from a sufficient distance. But not during nights. And break-downs/accidents during night may leave you completely stranded at desolate and unsafe locations. Etc., etc.

Let me add a few more tips.

-- On a two-way ghat road, it is very important to keep left, especially while taking corners. This often means going to the edge of narrow ghat roads, so you have to exercise utmost caution in order to avoid going off the road altogether.

-- On a one-way ghat road, you are better off hugging the middle of the road on straight patches. When you take corners, you can choose that path which will enable you to move quickly and safely (no need to keep left in these situations). For example, if you are taking a sharp right you can hug the right side of the road for safety, say, if the left side of the road is unprotected and goes down a sheer cliff.

-- In case of brake failure, try to use engine braking by shifting into second or first gear, and if engine is also not available, engage handbrake (be aware that the vehicle can swerve if handbrake is engaged suddenly). If all this fails, as a last resort try to turn your vehicle into some obstruction on the hillside rather than let it pick up speed downhill.

-- Always engage handbrakes while parking on the hillside -- after parking put your vehicle in neutral momentarily (or depress the clutch) to see if the handbrakes are properly engaged-- of course DONT forget to engage your gear, either first or reverse, afterwards -- use first if parked uphill, reverse if parked downhill. You can even use stones to block the tyres in case of parking on really steep inclines -- even handbrakes can fail at times.

-- Be aware that buses (especiallly) and lorries, whose drivers are very familiar with the ghat road, can come uphill or downhill at a great clip especially on hair-pin bends. Either stay far ahead of them or let them go *on a clear, safe stretch* of road. Do not irritate them by not giving way and slowing them down, as this could induce a rash response from them. Also be aware that these guys are prone to overtaking anywhere, anytime, and will think nothing of forcing you onto the edge of a ghat road. They definitely do not like to be slowed down, especially while going uphill (which will make their job of climbing that much more difficult). Avoid such potential dangers by good anticipation. This is another reason why night driving on ghat roads (especially two-way roads) is not advisable.
Regards, rks
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Old 22nd May 2006, 19:24   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khaadu75
is something headed your way and if u don't see no lights you can go around turns at ur normal speed . TRY IT AND U WILL UNDERSTAND IT !!!
Cheers

this can be dangerous ....there might be bike with poor headlights coming from the other way ...and we might feel there is nothing ahead ....also there could be a ***** who could have parked his vehicle without any tail lights

i personally avoid night driving ...and after going on a recent drive i have concluded that one should drive in the night only if you have powerful high beams
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Old 22nd May 2006, 19:44   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speedsatya
this can be dangerous ....there might be bike with poor headlights coming from the other way ...and we might feel there is nothing ahead ....also there could be a ***** who could have parked his vehicle without any tail lights
Fully agree with you here. Sometimes even old vans or lorries do not have proper headlights and you would be taking a great risk by taking curves at speed and suddenly finding these guys in your path.
Quote:
Originally Posted by speedsatya
i personally avoid night driving ...and after going on a recent drive i have concluded that one should drive in the night only if you have powerful high beams
Agree with you on advisability of avoiding night driving where possible. But are you advocating that one should drive at night ALWAYS with powerful high beams and not dip your headlights for opposing traffic? Surely this will blind opposing traffic, a complaint you made in your previous post? If this is what you meant (as seemingly suggested by your signature also), I have to disagree.
Regards, rks
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