brake safely

How to Brake Safely In the Mountains

Fun fact: August is Brake Safety Awareness Month! Since keeping you safe on the roads is our number one concern, we thought we’d throw a little info out there about how to actually drive through these Rockies. Because, as it turns out, there is a “right” way to drive down steep grades! Read on if your car is automatic:

  1. When starting down a mountain, it will help your car to shift into a lower gear. Reduce speed before shifting to prevent damage to your transmission.
  2. Maintain a safe speed by lightly pressing the brakes to slow down, then coasting to speed up. Repeat until you are on flat roads again.
  3. Once on flat roads, shift back into drive.
  4. Some extra tips: Even 6-7 percent grades, which don’t sound like much, are difficult on vehicles. If your car is unable to accelerate as quickly going up hills, you may need to stay in the right lane and turn off the A/C to give your car more power. Do not ride the brakes down steep hills, or this will cause them to get hot and lose functionality. Watch your temperature gauge and allow plenty of space in between you and other vehicles.

What if you drive a manual vehicle?

  1. Choose a gear that will cause the engine to “be a brake,” meaning that if you take your feet off the pedals, the car will not accelerate past a certain speed. If the car goes too fast, choose a lower gear.
  2. Set the car in a low gear so that you do not have to frequently apply the brakes. Using your brakes too much can cause them to overheat, the same as they would in a manual vehicle.

Of course brake safety is important all the time, and not just when you’re driving I-70. When driving through town, avoid slamming on the brakes at the last minute. Slow down well before to reduce wear and tear on the brakes. Always leave adequate space between you and other drivers. People get rear-ended when the car behind them didn’t have enough time to stop.

As always, use good judgment and take your vehicle in for routine maintenance checks. Vehicle safety starts with you! Happy Brake Safety Awareness Month from all of us at Houska Automotive!

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