Highway 1 consistently ranks as one of the most beautiful drives in North America, particularly along the stretch of the California Central Coast. If you’re setting out along this drive by the ocean and mountains through the Big Sur area, make sure you prepare your vehicle – old or new – for the trip.

Highway 1 Conditions

While Highway 1 generally stays well-maintained and without obstructions year-round, you should follow a few precautions. This stretch of two-lane, narrow highway proves tricky for larger vehicles. Several areas offer little to no shoulder, making pulling over or passing difficult, if not impossible. The state marked many of these areas as no-passing zones. The infrequent areas where you are free to pass can seem short. Driving a properly maintain vehicle becomes essential in areas with short acceleration lanes – particularly when climbing.

Hairpin turns also line much of a 50-mile stretch of this highway. While you know to avoid riding your brakes around these turns, there are times when others’ driving habits force you into less than ideal situations. Therefore, make certain your brakes offer peak performance before you find yourself driving with a nervous brake-tapper in front of you and a speed demon in your rearview mirror.

Don’t choose Highway 1 to test how far you can make it on a quarter tank of gas. A stretch between Cambria and Big Sur marks 40 miles between gas stations. While that may not sound too incredibly far, a highway packed with high-season traffic could make this trip a longer, slower journey than you anticipated. Always think ahead about your gas tank before taking off on the road.

Highway 1 provides gorgeous scenery with photo-worthy landscapes everywhere you look. Don’t put a damper on your drive. Make certain your car feels vacation and road ready before starting off onto this magnificent journey. Stop by today to make sure your car is in tip-top shape.