To coincide with this month's towing theme, we're exploring a question that has always intrigued us: Where are the toughest places to tow in America? Of the more than 4 million miles of paved roads in the United States, there are hundreds of places across the country that can challenge even the best drivers and push the trucks they choose to tow with to their absolute limit-but we've set out to identify the top ten.
What Makes A Tough Tow?
Whether it be a sharp 6 percent uphill grade (the maximum allowed on U.S. interstates-with certain exceptions in mountainous regions), a snowy, winding, heads-up stretch of highway in the mountains, or a long, drawn-out pass continuing on mile after mile in the desert heat, we've narrowed it down to the ten toughest tows found along our nation's highways.
We've picked the brains of former OE engineers, over-the-road truckers, and even sought out opinions from readers just like you to make this story possible. In fact, we'd like to hear even more of your towing stories, and read your top ten lists. If you've got a white-knuckle tale to tell, an interesting photo to share, or a death-defying towing route you run, shoot us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
#10. BLACK MOUNTAIN
The Black Mountain pass begins at the eastern end of lengthy I-40, just three miles outside of Asheville, North Carolina. Located in the southern portion of the Appalachian Mountains, the pass spans 15 miles east before subsiding (somewhat) after the town of Black Mountain. It's unknown what the actual grade is, but locals claim it's definitely steeper than 6 percent and that the pass is also chock-full of winding turns that often catch drivers off guard.
#9. MONTEAGLE GRADE
Along the western edge of the Appalachian Mountains in Southeast Tennessee, the Monteagle Grade is known for its exceptionally curvy, 6 percent downhill grade-and for being a braking nightmare. The grade spans just seven miles along I-24 but can give braking systems a serious workout and surprise unprepared drivers. In fact, all tractor- trailer operators are advised to stop at the brake inspection station located approximately two miles before the downgrade begins. Unpredictable weather patterns often shut down this stretch of Interstate as well, and traffic is re-routed to nearby U.S. Highway 41.