The rigors of modern life are undeniably unhealthy to both the body and the psyche. There’s a real danger in working too hard for too long, and the danger of getting burnt out is even more real. Like the machines that we build, when our bodies are pushed to the absolute limits without rest and recovery something’s bound to break. Which is why, every now and then, it’s not only a good idea but also a healthy decision to take some time off of work and to enjoy life the way life’s meant to be enjoyed.

That enjoyment differs between people. Some people are able to find comfort and relief in spending time with nature and finding themselves pleasantly lost in beautiful scenery. Others prefer the thrill of driving, and the mere fact that they are able to go fast and go far is enough to put their minds at ease. Then there are those who want to have both — the people who enjoy driving through mountains, dangerous as it may be.

So, if you want to give this experience a shot, consider these key safety tips first:

Choose the Right Vehicle

The type of vehicle that you’re going to bring completely depends on the terrain. As a general rule, you’re going to want to bring an SUV or a truck if you plan on driving through rough terrain. This is because they come with durable suspension systems as well as very powerful engines to match. The new Ford F-150 truck is a prime example of what type of vehicle you should be bringing on a mountain trip.

Tune Up Your Car

It doesn’t matter if a specific truck model is the top if its line if it isn’t properly tuned. Proper tuning ensures that the vehicle and its components perform as they were designed to. Having a component fail during a mountain trip poses a real danger, not only to the driver and his passengers, but also to other motorists as well. A few things to check are the brakes, heating and cooling systems, and especially the tires.

Fuel Up

This is one of the most basic things to consider, but there are also many people who overlook this seemingly-simple detail. Regardless of the destination, as far as fuel goes, it’s always better to have more than what you need than to have less of it. Running out of fuel in the middle of nowhere is a nightmare that can be easily averted with a bit of foresight and planning.

Bring an Emergency Kit

There’s no telling what might happen during a trip to the mountains. The weather is unpredictable, as are road conditions and traffic. Falling boulders are a real concern, as well as foggy areas that restrict vision to almost nil. There are many factors that are beyond human control and it is for these situations that emergency supplies are needed. Pack extra food, water, clothing, and especially a first aid kit. Basic car repair tools should never be overlooked, especially in situations where roadside assistance isn’t readily available.

Preserve Brakes

Mountain roads are filled with steep drops and sharp curves. It’s when faced with these portions that drivers are often forced to apply their brakes. While this isn’t necessarily bad, especially since this is what brakes are intended for, continuous and intense braking cause brake pads to wear down quicker. Not only that, but this also causes them to heat up quickly, increasing the risk of damaging the brakes.

Light quick taps on the brakes should suffice versus heavy-footed stomps. Pressure on the brakes should be applied slowly and engine braking should also be utilized. This not only preserves the brakes, but it also gives a driver more control of the vehicle.

Plan Routes Ahead

It’s no secret that mountain roads have claimed many lives. Whether it’s due to a lack of skill or a lack of awareness, the results are the same. Planning a route doesn’t only give the driver a clear idea of the difficulty of the roads, it’ll also help them gauge if his or her skills are up to the task.

Another advantage of planning routes ahead of time is that drivers are able to make mental notes of areas where they might need to take extra care. Knowing where they can allot less energy and where they should be more aware helps drivers avoid getting burnt out. This also allows drivers to budget how long they should be travelling and where they can make stopovers.