When travelling in the back country you will need a good map. This is because maps are not created equal. Most maps you buy at the local hardware store are very good. However if you travel off the main highways there will be some issues. Most maps do not show you the backcountry roads. If they do show you their locations, the details could be lacking or inaccurate. This is especially true with mountain passes.
Travelling in the mountains can be a daunting task. This is especially true when you leave the pavement and hit the gravel and dirt. Many of these roads are very uneven and only see maintenance once a year, if that. Of course if this low-grade road goes through a mountain pass it becomes even more of a problem. This road could be very dangerous to traverse. There a number of reasons for this.
Many of the worlds mountain range have dangerous barriers to overcome. These include very steep grades up and down the mountain passes. If your breaks are not functioning correctly travelling on these passes could put you and your vehicle in a very serious situation. Even if your breaks are good you may actually cause them become red-hot and burn out with excessive breaking.
Many mountain passes involve negotiating a system of switch back roads to reach the top of the pass and then descend into a lower valley using a similar set of switch back roads. Many of these switch back roads do not have guard rails. These switch back roads sometimes feature cliffs and drop offs beyond their shoulders that are hundreds of feet into the valley below. These drop-offs and cliffs are straight down into oblivion.
Travelling through theses passes can be very dangerous during the winter months. During the winter months there may be no snow in the lower elevations. However when you travel into the higher elevations there could be snow. In fact there could be significant amount it. The amount could be enough to be over you head. Of course there is always the risk of avalanches. Being at the wrong place at the wrong time in area prone to avalanches could get you buried alive in your vehicle. There have been cases where even park rangers have buried in their vehicles by snow as a result of an avalanche.
So when travelling through mountainous regions and having to traverse mountain passes, would it not be a good idea to have the most advanced knowledge of these areas. This will involve having the most up to date map of the region you are travelling through.Who knows this might mean saving your life.