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Conquering the climb: A guide to safe driving on West Virginia’s mountain roads

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2024 | Car Accidents |

West Virginia, nicknamed “The Mountain State” for a reason, boasts breathtaking landscapes accessible by scenic, winding roads. But what makes for a postcard-perfect view can also pose challenges for drivers. Sharp curves, sudden elevation changes and unpredictable weather conditions require extra caution behind the wheel. Here’s a guide to navigate West Virginia’s mountain roads safely and enjoy the ride.

Respect the mountain’s curves

West Virginia’s mountain roads are known for their switchbacks and blind corners. These require a different approach than flat highways. Here’s how to stay safe:

  • Slow down: Speed limits are posted for a reason, but even slower speeds may be necessary on mountain roads. Adjust your speed for blind curves and limited visibility.
  • Stay in your lane: Don’t attempt to overtake other vehicles on blind corners or narrow stretches. Use designated passing lanes only when it’s safe and legal.
  • Use low beams at night: Headlights on high can create glare off fog or rain, hindering your vision and that of oncoming traffic.

These safety precautions can help you use extra care on mountain roads.

Be prepared for the unexpected

Mountain weather can change rapidly. Fog can roll in unexpectedly, and sudden downpours can alter road conditions. Always be prepared for:

  • Limited visibility: Fog can make it difficult to see even a few feet ahead. Slow down significantly and use fog lights if available.
  • Slippery roads: Rain or snow can make mountain roads slick. Increase following distances and avoid sudden braking or acceleration.
  • Wildlife encounters: Deer are a common sight on West Virginia’s roads. Be especially vigilant at dawn and dusk when they’re most active.

Mountain roads can be full of the unexpected. It is important to be aware of the dangers that could be around the next bend.

Plan your trip and enjoy the journey

Mountain roads aren’t for speed demons. Plan extra time for your trip, allowing you to drive cautiously and appreciate the scenery. Take breaks at designated pull-offs to admire the views and avoid driver fatigue.

By respecting the unique challenges of West Virginia’s mountain roads, you can avoid an accident and ensure a safe and enjoyable driving experience. Remember, the destination is beautiful, but the journey itself can be a memorable part of your adventure.