clutch control

Introduction to Clutch Control, parking and starting on a Hill

Introduction – Today is a Monday my first driving lesson with John. Part 2 of my first lesson – dealing with his Clutch Control

A Fictitious Blog Diary of a Driving Instructor

We discuss  Clutch Control

So, John shows me what he does and the car stalls. I see John start the car put the clutch to the floor and engage 1st gear. (that is correct) now he brings the clutch up and gently applies the gas and the car stalls (not Good)

Now I see some good and bad things about what you were doing plus there were some things you did not do. Right then the good and the bad – you put down your clutch and engaged first gear. That is good. Then you brought the clutch up and pressed the gas that is correct, but you did not release the handbrake, so you stalled.

Do you know how the clutch works?

Clutch Control

John Nods his head No.

It is made up of 2 disks that are designed to rub together rather like you bicycle wheels rub with the brakes. These disks are designed to be held together by springs so the power from the engine is transferred through them to the wheels. There is a middle stage of using the clutch which is called the biting point. Which will help your Clutch control of the car at very slow speeds

Now as this is your first driving lesson let me talk you through how you can move off safely each time.

This is not a suitable place to show you how to develop your clutch control let alone develop you hill start and parking on a hill. With your permission, I’ll now drive us to another location so I can show you and help you master your clutch control and at the same time look at Hill starting and parking on a hill.

We drive to a location suitable for the exercise, It is a road with a slight hill which has very little traffic

Ok, then we have arrived at the new place to work in. Please swap seats and get the car ready to move.that is very good.

Now please, can you start the car then engage the 1st gear and then wait like that till I ask you to do something.

He does

Let’s check the handbrake is on.

That’s good now I want you to bring the clutch up slowly till you feel the car is starting to want to move and when you get to that stage stop moving your foot. No, we do not want to use the footbrake yet. Great now the car is wanting to move I will call this feeling Preparing the Car. Now put the clutch down to the floor. This is what I call Clutch Control. You will be using the idea when we come to hill starts and parking on a hill.

Please, can you prepare the car for me? That is good, now keep your feet still. That’s it keep your feet still, in a moment I want you to release your handbrake and then as you do bring the clutch up slowly. Do you understand? Good, please will you do that for me now? Great, you see that the car moves forward slowly that is called creeping forward by using the clutch at the biting point.

So far, we have looked at preparing the car and moving the car now to put together the full concept of Moving off safely. The concept of moving off safely is Prepare Observe and Move

Practical Moving

Do you remember how to prepare the car?

I would put the Clutch down into 1st then bring the clutch up to the biting point. Then release the handbrake and let the clutch move forward slowly

Very good but before you move you need to check around to see it is safe to move off. If we are parked at the side of the road what observations do, we need to make to be sure it is safe?

look forward and backwards and the side using mirrors. Isn’t it?

Yes, that is correct but not enough the is an area I know as the blind spot which is the area that is not covered by your mirrors. Have you heard about the space?

Yes, dad says it’s the area hidden by the post of the car that is just between the front and side screen the post between the two sides doors and the post between the back door and back panel. That does not seem to be that big

That’s good but not big enough. Have a look out the rear-view mirror and the door mirror you see the car parked just down the road

Yes, that means I can see in the areas that my dad talks about

You are correct, but can you see the red car parked in the driveway just behind us and the transit van park just across the road from us?

No, Heck that is a big area about 3 Transit Vans Long, so you are saying I should look over my shoulder every time I move off from a parked position.

Great you are quick in picking Ideas up yes that is correct. So now let us go through this exercise of Prepare Observe Move

John does this exercise first with me prompting him then again all on his own.

Now that is a lot to talk about for the first hour. I’m going to call the lesson to an end. Is that OK with you we are out of time? Do you have any questions?

Not now my mind is reeling.

I know however if you register with my 12drive website you will be able to read and see the pictures we have been through today as well as some YouTube videos. All you will need to do is look up the lesson for Cockpit Checks and Moving Off and Stopping. When you read them, you will find more ideas I have not had a chance to talk about because I ran out of time.

I presume you want another lesson next week I haven’t scared you, away have I? John nods No with a smile.

Next week, if you want to do some homework, have a look at the training pages for turning into a side road and T junctions

We now prepare to drive home and discuss when he wants his next lesson. I hope this gives you an idea of how I teach and how you can use the training notes to help students learn and by setting homework help them reduce the number of lessons you need to give them. You will need to spend less time teaching what to do and concentrate on how they can become safer drivers and know what to look for and how to react to potential danger.


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