You are driving downhill on a steep, narrow road and a vehicle is coming up the hill. What should you do?You are driving downhill on a steep, narrow road and a vehicle is coming up the hill. What should you do?
A. Vehicles moving downhill should give way to vehicles moving uphill
B. Vehicles moving uphill should give way to vehicles moving downhill
The correct answer is A
Correct. Even though a vehicle coming uphill can (all things being equal) stop quicker, this rule ensures the vehicle travelling downhill, where stopping distances are longer, has to pay more attention
Six challenges in driving downhill
When driving downhill you need to be aware of the following:
You will be able to accelerate more quickly as gravity is helping you
It will take longer to brake as gravity is pulling you down the hill - take care with your following distances
When you release the brakes your engine won't provide as much braking power on its own as on flat ground
When you release the accelerator to brake, there will be less engine braking in the moment between your foot being on the accelerator then on the brake
Beware of brake fade. This is especially dangerous on long hills
Because you will be braking, even through corners, your outside front wheel has to take on more stress: braking and turning at the same time. On flat roads or uphill, the stresses are less.
Therefore, brake early and get your speed right before the corner for any corners when you are going downhill. On narrow roads be prepared to stop.
If you are driving on surfaces that are slippery, for example icy roads, it can sometimes not be possible to stop at all, as you can see in this video. See just how quickly the second car picks up speed.
Reducing brake fade
You can conserve your brakes and reduce brake fade by changing down one or two gears to help use engine braking. If you are driving an automatic vehicle, change to the manual or sequential mode. The automatic gearbox will prevent you changing down into a gear that's too low.
If you are braking downhill there is more chance of the load shifting forwards, whether you are in a car, van or truck. This guide explains how to carry things in a car.