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Asheville Car Rental
and Tips for Mountain Driving

Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina

An Asheville car rental can be the best solution for getting around the city and the mountains. If you flew in, you'll certainly need wheels. And even if you drove here, you may choose to rent a more robust four-wheel-drive vehicle to explore the spectacular Blue Ridge Parkway, drive into the mountains to see waterfalls and scenic overlooks, or to get outdoors to hike or bike. Wherever your passion leads you in the mountains, a car will help you get there.

We want you to enjoy your mountain driving, and these tips will help make your Western North Carolina Mountain driving experience more enjoyable whether you prefer an Asheville car rental, or are driving your vehicle.

Car Rental Tips

  • When it comes to an Asheville Car Rental, choose 4 wheel drive and high clearance vehicles if you are adventurous, visiting in winter or enjoy driving on gravel roads and heading off to that less popular trailhead. If it is winter and you will be in the high mountains, you really should have 4 wheel drive and high clearance. The rest of the year, your off-the-beaten-path drives will be more fun and carefree, and it is less likely that you will have to turn around or back down a gravel road that becomes too steep or rutted.
  • Before leaving the Asheville car rental lot, make sure your brakes, brake fluid and tires are in good condition. Roads in the mountain region are challenging and even the Interstate Highways have some steep stretches of curving roadway.
  • Check your gas gauge and fill up before you enter a National Forest, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smokey Mountains National Park or the large State Parks as gas is only available in towns and on well-traveled highways outside of the parks.
  • Check your windshield wipers, defroster, heater and exhaust systems before you drive into the mountains.
  • Have current maps along that show secondary roads in the area you will be traveling. Carry extra drinking water, food and warm clothes.

Mountain Driving Tips

  • When driving down a steep mountain, shift down to a lower gear rather than slowing the vehicle with the brakes, or speeding down the mountain faster than you would drive up it.
  • On steep upgrades downshift to a lower gear, pull into the right lane if you are driving slower than other vehicles and watch your temperature gauge for overheating. Turn off the air-conditioning if the temperature starts to rise, and pull over in a safe place to let the engine cool down before it overheats.
  • Stay alert and watch the road at all times when driving in the mountains. Be careful to stay in your own lane, but watch for on-coming cars that are partially in your lane as they come around the curves ahead of you.
  • When you want to admire the scenery, first drive off the road at a scenic overlook or onto a wide shoulder along the road, and then enjoy the view. Or take a turn as the passenger and let someone else drive.
  • If traffic backs up behind you, watch for a place to pull over and let the cars pass you. Local drivers are familiar with the roads, and often can safely drive faster.
  • If you drive onto gravel or unpaved roads, slow down as these roads are often only one lane wide, steep and can be slippery even when dry. Watch out for potholes and washouts, and be alert for cars coming toward you around curves.

Inclement Weather Driving Tips

  • If road conditions or visibility change for the worse, especially at night or in fog, rain, snow or sleet, slow down, stay alert and let other vehicles pass if they are traveling faster.
  • If you are driving up into higher elevations, road conditions often improve if you turn around at the next safe place to do so, and head back down the mountain.
  • It is a good idea to head to a lower elevation and drive on major highways when conditions are adverse.
  • Watch out for animals that may dart unexpectedly from the woods onto the road just ahead of you.

WNC Driving Distances, a handy chart of driving distances between WNC Towns and Asheville and between Regional Airports and popular WNC Towns.

Driving to Asheville NC, Travel distances to Asheville by car from major cities; To Asheville from: Atlanta GA 188 mi. - 301 km, Columbus OH 471 mi. - 758 km, more . . . .

Asheville Regional Airport is small, friendly and easy to get around in, yet large enough to be serviced by major airlines and have big-time amenities.

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