ASCENDING A STEEP HILL
This is not a particularly dangerous point, more a situation of lack of driving skill.
How often when driving along, do we come across a steep hill, with the driver in front of you bringing your speed down to about 20 MPH. He may be driving the same model of car as you, and yet you feel you could be going up the hill two or three times as quick. I know it is not a race to the top and the driver might be perfectly happy at the speed he is doing; but is he? Is his foot hard to the floor and it won't go any faster, and is he thinking how come you caught him up so quickly when you are in the same model of car?
Most of us know that proper use of the gears is very important in this situation. How often do we hear it said; 'I went over the top of a certain hill in top gear, I didn't have to change down.' That is not good driving if you are making the car labour; use your gears at the correct times.
The correct procedure when going up a steep hill, is when you feel the car losing speed, don't leave it too long before you change down. If you do you will probably find that the next lower gear is of little use to you as your car won't respond very well and you need to go down yet another gear. Change down in good time and keep your engine revs reasonable high, you don't have to be travelling too fast, just use the gears correctly. You might find that instead of going over that hill in top gear with your foot hard down and doing 30 MPH. By using the gears correctly you could probably be doing 60 MPH at the bottom of the hill, and go over the brow, if you so wish, doing the same speed. Learn to use the gears at the right times on steep hills.
DESCENDING A STEEP HILL
When descending a steep hill, the correct gear selection is so important.
Engage the gear that is using the engine as a brake, but not to the extent that you can descend the hill without touching the foot brake. Have the engine braking the car, but also be using the foot brake to control the speed. The correct procedure would be to apply the brake for a short period, then release the brake for a short period, then reapply the brake, and keep that sequence going. This allows the brakes to keep cool so they won't fail through over heating. If you find when doing this that the car is running away with you, then you are most likely in too high a gear. The remedy is obvious; change into a lower gear. If you are going down a steep hill, without touching the brake, the gear you are in is probably too low, so you could change up a gear, and use the brake as above, and still keep proper control of the vehicle.
When descending a steep hill, try and think, if things get out of control, where can I go? Look for an escape route. Is the grass verge on your left flat and smooth leading you into a nice flat sandy field, if so great, you could steer to your left to avoid a disaster if necessary. Does the decline have a man made escape route? Keep these things in your mind; remember, think of you and yours. This defensive thinking will help and save other people.