Last week, while on vacation, I was able to drive the famous Transfăgărășan road in Romania. This road is located on the southern section of the Carpathian Mountain range and is the second highest paved road in the country. It’s about 56 miles long, and it climbs to an altitude of 6,699 feet. The first half of the road takes you through the forest through hairpin turns, and then you pop out of the forest on the top half of a mountain where even sharper and steeper hairpin turns, long S-curves, and sharp climbs lead you to a lake at the top.
So, during this drive, where the average speed is only 25 mph, I passed a turned over delivery truck. This got me thinking of the safety and precautions one should take while driving any windy road.
According to the US Federal Highway Administration, nearly 30% of fatal vehicle collisions each year occur on curves. And, about 83% of these crashes are caused from sliding, skidding, or rolling over. So here’s a few things you can do to drive safely on winding roads and avoid a collision center near you.
Watch Your Speed
When driving on winding roads, you have less visibility and less control. So when you hit these roads, it’s important you take the time to slow down. When you take a curve at too high of a speed, you run the risk of sliding, skidding, or rolling over.
Hug the Center Line
While many winding roads also tend to be narrow, it might be slightly nerve-racking to want to hug the inner line. However, keeping closer to the left lines helps keep the car centered as you approach the apex of the curve. Many winding roads will have lookout areas containing parked cars, or other debris on the road, so sticking closer to the inner line helps you avoid these things.
Use Your Headlights
Usually, winding roads go through forests and up mountains, allowing for a lot of blind and shaded areas. Turning your headlights on will help others see you while driving all the turns. It can help during all times of the day, not just during dawn, dusk, or at night.
Put All Distractions Away
Don’t play with the radio, your phone, or become distracted by others in the vehicle. It’s important to keep your music low so you can hear the road. Put your phone away, hang up any calls and don’t text. And make sure the others in your car are being respectful of the road and your need to focus on driving.
Practicing these tips while driving winding or curving roads will help you stay safe and avoid a trip to the collision center.
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Written by: Nicole Weisbrich