How to Master Mountain Driving

When you’re behind the wheel of a coach bus, there are instances when the machine’s sheer size and weight are its own biggest hindrance. Nowhere is that more true than when it comes to a little mountain driving.

Based in Colorado, we know the trials and challenges of mountain driving a coach bus very well. However, the truth is, it’s a challenge drivers all across the country can face, depending on where their route takes them. That’s why it’s always a good idea to brush up on your mountain driving strategy before this common terrain obstacle comes calling for you.

Mountain Driving

The vehicle’s size is your enemy and your ally

A lot of mountain driving strategy arises from a goal of not letting the vehicle’s size hinder what you’re trying to do, but the truth is the weight of your vehicle can be an advantage as well.

Many novice mountain drivers accelerate heavily to get up the mountain, then fail to make adjustments, like downshifting, when descending. These drivers rely on their brakes to counter all of the speed they built up climbing. This is a recipe for long-term disaster, as heated brakes are more likely to fail, and the more you apply them while descending, the more apt they are to overheat.

Instead of applying the brakes continually while descending the hill, drop to a lower gear and simply coast down the slope instead, while relying on the engine and the transmission. This allows the vehicle’s own weight to provide all the force you need to descend the mountain comfortably.

Other considerations

The tips listed above should form the baseline of your mountain driving strategy, and these other tips will help as well.

  • What’s the weather? Weather-related difficulties are heightened in mountain driving, so be sure you are aware of the weather conditions before setting out — particularly those in the area or at the elevation of the mountains you will traverse. Prepare your bus for those conditions ahead of time (Jason, this would be a good spot to link to the Winterizing your Bus Blog) and the weather will not be a factor.
  • Take your time. You’re in a coach bus because you have someplace you or your passengers need to be, but slow and steady always wins the race. Allot plenty of space between yourself and the cars ahead of you. This allows you to adjust your speed easily if needed and protects you from those tight turns where you may never be totally sure what’s lurking around the corner.

If you have any further questions on strategies or tips for mountain driving, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at (303) 683-9500 or toll free at (800) 873-1856 today, or email us at Davey Coach Sales is the wise choice for your transportation needs with new and used buses that offer energy efficient, comfortable, safe, efficient, functional, versatile, environmentally friendly transportation options. We are the multi-purpose and specialty vehicle experts you can trust to satisfy all your bus transportation needs.