Driving is a skill that anyone can learn with proper practice and lessons, but there are certain situations wherein your driving skills are put to test, whether you are a beginner or experienced.
Today, there are manual (MT) and automatic transmission (AT) vehicles that add more to the challenge. Since AT cars are becoming more popular because of the convenience they provide to drivers, it is important that you gain some skills on driving uphill in automatic cars.
More People Are Opting for AT Cars
I. Risks of NOT Knowing How to Drive Uphill
Definitely, most roads in the Philippines are not so steep, so you would only encounter minimal uphill roads, especially if you live in the metro. Nonetheless, there would come a point when you would travel north such as in Baguio and you would encounter some of the most difficult uphill roads, especially when there is heavy traffic. Not knowing how to do so poses dangers such as the following:
- Car damage: In any situation, you must remember that your vehicle can only take so much. That is especially true when you are hanging on a steep road due to medium or heavy traffic since you need to prevent the car from sliding backward, which may put your car engine into more work than usual. Hence, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re risking your car to damage.
- Accidents: Physics had taught us that gravity pulls objects downward, so when you are driving uphill, your car, together with you and your passengers have the tendency to be pulled downward. If you do not know how to drive uphill, you lose control which would then cause accidents and endanger not just you but the other vehicles next to you.
Learning tips to drive safely on mountain roads will also be helpful. And don't forget to give your vehicle overall checkup to make sure it is in good condition before encountering uphill roads.
Improper Driving on Uphill Roads Might Cause Your Car to Move Backward
II. General Considerations When Driving Uphill
Before learning the proper way of driving uphill in automatic cars, you must first understand the fact that there are special considerations to take when you drive on uphill roads. Some of the most important include:
- Know your side of the road: Although this is a general traffic rule, when going uphill, this is more emphasized. You must make sure that you don’t “hug” the center line because it would be more difficult to navigate your car to the original lane than when you are on a flat terrain.
- Increase following distance: When driving uphill, the designated distance from you and the car in front of you must be increased. That will give enough time and space to hit the brake when the car in front of you suddenly stops. This will also ensure that passing vehicles will have enough time to go back to their lines. Remember: a car’s horsepower is diminished when driving on elevated roads.
Besides, it is also very important to equip yourself with basic skill when driving an automatic car.
III. How to Drive, Start, and Park Uphill Using an AT Car
Now that you know the dangers of driving uphill without the proper skill and knowledge, as well as the things you need to keep in mind, here are some safe driving on uphill tips when you are using your AT car.
A. Powering Up the Car
Your car’s gear plays an important role in providing the engine with the right power when you are driving in any situation. That said, automatic cars are designed to adjust the gears for you, but manually doing so is also recommended. When driving uphill, making sure that you are on low gear is essential.
Here’s a quick guide:
- D1 or 1: Used for very steep uphill roads
- D2 or 2: Recommended for slightly steep uphill driving and helpful for when you need to accelerate from D1.
- D3 or 3: For better and maintained speed but lesser torque
Know the Right Gear to Use
B. Driving Uphill in Automatic Cars
The very first thing that you should never forget when driving uphill using your automatic car is to start with a low gear, especially when it’s a steep and long inclined road. Experts say that you must never shift to first gear when you are driving at a speed of between 10 to 15MPH or 16 to 24KPH.
C. Starting the Car
When driving automatic car uphill, it’s not just about knowing what gear to use but also knowing how to start the car while you are in an inclined position. Here are the things you need to do:
- Ensure that the car’s parking brake is engaged and the wheels are turned away from the street curb or into the street.
- Start the ignition, turn your signal lights on, and shift to first gear and slowly step on the gas, making sure the steering wheel is turned towards the direction where you’re going.
- Start merging the wheels to the lane and keep pressing on the gas slowly.
- Keep your other foot depressed on the brake until you managed to leave your parking slot.
So you've learnt about the dos. How about the don'ts? Here is a list of common mistakes to avoid while behind the wheel of an AT vehicle.
D. Parking the Car
Apart from properly driving on an uphill road and moving the car out of an uphill parking lot, you must also learn how to safely park your AT car when you are on a hill-type or inclined area. Here are some useful tips and tricks:
- The car should be parked parallel to the road curb, while the wheels should be away from the curb.
- In the absence of a curb, the front wheels should be turned towards the road’s edge.
- The space in front of your car should be at least one car’s length so that you and the other car can easily leave. This also ensures that the wheels of the car can roll forward easily.
- Your foot must be pressed to the brake and the gear must be in the neutral position. Also, you must turn your steering wheel in one full turn towards the recommended direction. Do take note though that the steering wheel shouldn’t be turned while the car is in full stop.
- When your vehicle is already in the right position, release the break and allow the car to roll a little bit and slowly. Once the wheels touch the curb, step on the brake and put the car in the “park” gear, and then engage the handbrake.
Putting an Object Behind the Rear Wheels Is Also a Great Practice
IV. Drive Up North without Worries!
Driving uphill in automatic cars, especially when going up north is one of the fears of most first-time drivers who have been used to flat and less steep roads. Same goes when parking your cars on steep roads. Nonetheless, with the guide we provided in this post as well as constant practice, everything will be as easy as you might have imagined.
Just always make sure that you always think about your safety as well as the safety of your fellow drivers, passengers, and public.