Driving on Hills

Driving safely on hills requires good judgment and an understanding of what the vehicle can and cannot do.

WARNING

Many hills are simply too steep for any vehicle. Driving up hills can cause the vehicle to stall. Driving down hills can cause loss of control. Driving across hills can cause a rollover. You could be injured or killed. Do not drive on steep hills.

Before driving on a hill, assess the steepness, traction, and obstructions. If the terrain ahead cannot be seen, get out of the vehicle and walk the hill before driving further.

When driving on hills:

○ Use a low gear and keep a firm grip on the steering wheel.
○ Maintain a slow speed.
○ When possible, drive straight up or down the hill.
○ Slow down when approaching the top of the hill.
○ Use headlamps even during the day to make the vehicle more visible.

WARNING

Driving to the top of a hill at high speed can cause an accident. There could be a drop-off, embankment, cliff, or even another vehicle. You could be seriously injured or killed. As you near the top of a hill, slow down and stay alert.

○ Never go downhill forward or backward with the transmission in N (Neutral). The brakes could overheat and you could lose control.

○ When driving down a hill, keep the vehicle headed straight down. Use a low gear because the engine will work with the brakes to slow the vehicle and help keep the vehicle under control.

WARNING

Heavy braking when going down a hill can cause your brakes to overheat and fade. This could cause loss of control and you or others could be injured or killed. Apply the brakes lightly when descending a hill and use a low gear to keep vehicle speed under control.

If the vehicle stalls on a hill:

1. Apply the brakes to stop the vehicle, and then apply the parking brake.
2. Shift into P (Park) and then restart the engine.
○ If driving uphill when the vehicle stalls, shift to R (Reverse), release the parking brake, and back straight down.
○ Never try to turn the vehicle around. If the hill is steep enough to stall the vehicle, it is steep enough to cause it to roll over.
○ If you cannot make it up the hill, back straight down the hill.
○ Never back down a hill in N (Neutral) using only the brake.
○ The vehicle can roll backward quickly and you could lose control.
○ If driving downhill when the vehicle stalls, shift to a lower gear, release the parking brake, and drive straight down the hill.

3. If the vehicle cannot be restarted after stalling, set the parking brake, shift an automatic transmission into P (Park), and turn the vehicle off.

3.1. Leave the vehicle and seek help.

3.2. Stay clear of the path the vehicle would take if it rolled downhill.

○ Avoid turns that take the vehicle across the incline of the hill. A hill that can be driven straight up or down might be too steep to drive across. Driving across an incline puts more weight on the downhill wheels which could cause a downhill slide or a rollover.

○ Surface conditions can be a problem. Loose gravel, muddy spots, or even wet grass can cause the tires to slip sideways, downhill. If the vehicle slips sideways, it can hit something that will trip it – a rock, a rut, etc. – and roll over. . Hidden obstacles can make the steepness of the incline more severe. If a rock is driven across with the uphill wheels, or if the downhill wheels drop into a rut or depression, the vehicle can tilt even more.

○ If an incline must be driven across, and the vehicle starts to slide, turn downhill. This should help straighten out the vehicle and prevent the side slipping.

WARNING

Getting out of the vehicle on the downhill side when stopped across an incline is dangerous. If the vehicle rolls over, you could be crushed or killed. Always get out on the uphill side of the vehicle and stay well clear of the rollover path.

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