Reaching the Summit

For the thrill seekers and supreme adventurers, a European vacation is just what the doctor ordered. But traveling through European cities, countrysides and mountain ranges can be rather daunting if you do not go into the situation prepared accordingly. Here are some tips for traveling through the European Alps.

  • Driving in the mountains – Roads on the mountain passes abide by basic traffic rules, but there are more requirements as it pertains to driving on mountain roads. Rules can change depending on which country you are traveling through. Do your research to understand the differentiation of rules when traveling on mountain roads
  • Prevent an overheated engine – As opposed to traveling on float roads and surfaces, you do not need to change gears as quickly when traveling on stout inclined roads. If you are using a 5-gear car, it is a good rule of thumb to stay in first or third gear.
  • Mind the brakesUse a low gear and a high engine speed when descending. Would advise using the same gear that was used during the ascent. The engine this way will mostly do the deceleration. This will save the brakes, which can get too warm if used frequently. You do not want brakes to get too hot. Pull over to a safe zone if your car indicates that the engine or brakes are too hot.
  • Adjust your driving style – Safety is of paramount importance when driving in the mountains. Mountain roads are narrow, curvy and steep. Crash barriers or fences are predominantly present but are not always designed to actually stop a vehicle in the event of a crash. Also, need to be aware of cyclists, pedestrians, cattle and other motorists. More so than on regular roads, concentration to a revised and cautious driving style are of grave importance.
  • Be mindful of your vision – Your vision while driving on mountain roads can be obstructed easily. Many factors can contribute to your vision being skewed: rock walls, trees, curves, cyclists, hikers, cattle and rubble can all provide obstructions. Be sure to stay in your lane and when objects come into your peripherals or migrating into a curve, use caution and decelerate until you are through a potential obstruction.

If you would like more detail on how to travel through mountain passes, visit Driving in the mountains.