Will your RV make it up the grade? Almost all grades, regardless of severity, will cause you to slow down. Any grade steeper than six percent is considered extreme and requires special attention. The steeper the grade or the longer the grade and/or the heavier the load, the more you will have to use lower gears to climb and descend mountains.
When going down steep grades, gravity will tend to speed you up. You must choose an appropriate safe speed, then use a low gear and enough braking power to hold you back without letting the brakes get too hot.
Slow the RV and shift the transmission to a low gear before starting down a grade.
Use the braking effect of the engine… by shifting to lower gears… as the principal way of controlling your speed. Save your brakes so you will be able to slow or stop as required by road and traffic conditions.
Remember: Never ‘ride’ the brakes by keeping your foot on the brake peddle. The use of brakes on a long and/or steep downgrade should only be a supplement to the engine braking.
Once the vehicle is in the proper low gear, the following is a proper braking technique:
- Apply the brakes just hard enough to feel a definite slowdown.
- When your speed has been reduced to approximately five mph below your “safe” speed, release the brakes. (This brake application should last for about three to four seconds.)
- When your speed has increased to your “safe” speed, repeat steps 1 and 2.
Do not drive in the fast lanes on a multiple-lane grade. Stay in the far right lane while climbing a steep grade if your motorhome or tow vehicle cannot maintain the legal speed limit.
It would be better to drop to a lower gear and slow down rather than attempt to pass slower vehicles and tie up the faster lanes if you don’t have enough power.