9 Tips for Safely Driving an RV on Steep Grades

Driving an RV can be stressful, especially at altitude when navigating steep grades, hills, and mountain passes.

Whether you drive a gas-powered RV or truck, a diesel motorhome, or tow a trailer, here are nine tips for safely navigating up steep grades, and back down again, without overheating the brakes.

Accept that you’re going to be driving slow and other drivers will be expecting you to be driving slow, so just be patient.

Be Patient

Anytime you are driving say 20-30mph below the posted speed limit, turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers you are going extra slow, as a good safety precaution (if traveling in a state where this is allowed).

Use Hazard Lights

Before you even start going up the hill, downshift to a lower gear so you have some extra power.

Downshift before Ascending

Put your transmission in Tow Haul Mode (if your vehicle has it) which uses different gear shifting to keep the engine in a more optimal range. We leave our RV in Tow Haul Mode almost all the time.

Use Tow Haul Mode

When preparing to go down the mountain pass, bring your speed way down before you even begin your descent and stay in Tow Haul Mode. This allows you to use more engine braking and gives you room to increase your speed safely.

Descend Slowly

If the RV doesn’t automatically downshift itself when going downhill, firmly press the brake to force the transmission to downshift. This will increase your engine speed (rpm).

Downshift before Descending

swipe up to read the full post!