How To Drive On Steep Hills  |  Learn to drive: Intermediate skills

How To Drive On Steep Hills | Learn to drive: Intermediate skills


Driving a manual car on steep hills requires
good coordination of the cars controls – otherwise the car can hesitate, stall, or even roll
back. We will need to have a good hill start technique, carefully select the best gear
to use, and try to avoid coasting downhill. In this video we will show all our best tips
to help you master driving on steep hills, so you can feel confident and control your
car safely. We have already made a separate video for most of these skills, so for more
detail please click the links in the video description. Before we start, please subscribe
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we can. The first skill we will need when driving
on a steep hill is to pull away smoothly, so let’s have a practice. We always prefer
to use the handbrake to hold the car stationary, as it frees up our right foot to increase
the engine revs precisely. This allows us to pull away confidently without stalling.
Let’s go back and have another look at that in slow motion. We increase the engine revs,
find the clutch’s biting point, and then release the handbrake. Once the car reaches
walking pace we lift the clutch pedal fully and continue driving. It’s good to remember
that there is no need to rush anything, just complete one step at a time, and then be patient
as the car starts to roll. When driving up or down steep hills we will
need to choose our gear carefully, as we must use a gear that will give good control downhill
and enough engine power uphill. General advice is to use one gear lower than normal for the
car’s current speed, but let’s look at up and down hills separately. Before driving downhill selecting a lower
gear will increase the ‘engine braking’ effect and will help us to control our speed
and reduce the need to brake. Even though this hill is reasonably steep, using 2nd gear
means the car doesn’t speed up at all. Once the hill’s gradient has reduced, we can
change up again and continue as normal. Using low gears like this will prevent our brakes
from overheating and extend their life. When driving uphill we also select a lower
gear as this will allow the engine to develop more power and climb the hill without struggling.
How fast we are able to go in each gear will depend on several factors, such as the steepness
of the hill, the engine power rating, weight of the vehicle and even the gearbox ratios.
If the engine doesn’t have enough power and the vehicle is losing speed, then selecting
a lower gear will increase the engine speed and provide more power. We must be careful
to avoid holding the engine at a high speed for too long though, as it could overheat
and cause damage. We’ve driven into the town centre now, so
we can drive on hills that have a little more traffic present. When driving downhill we
must try to avoid coasting – as it will allow the car to freewheel and force us to use the
brakes more to stay in control. To prevent any coasting, we must be careful to only press
the clutch pedal when we need to change gear or stop the car. This ensures the clutch stays
engaged and provides a mechanical link between the car’s wheels and engine – which keeps
the car’s speed in control. As we slow down here we wait until the engine speed is almost
down to idle before pressing the clutch down. As long as we don’t force the engine under
1000 rpm then it will never stall. When queuing downhill in slow-moving traffic
we leave a gap of about 2 car lengths in front of our car, just in case anyone stops suddenly.
This should mean we always have enough space to brake smoothly, to a stop if needed. If
we put ourselves in a position where we are forced to brake hard – then we may surprise
the car behind us and result in an accident. We stay in a lower gear than normal on the
uphill slope again, which allows us more flexibility if the car in front slows down unexpectedly.
Once the road is clear, we change back up to the normal gear for this speed. Don’t worry if you need to take your time
for a hill start. Just because there is traffic near you, there is no need to rush anything.
Hill starts can be done with or without using the handbrake, so whatever your preferred
technique is, it is far better to complete it correctly one step at a time. If we rush
and make a mistake, we might stall the engine – and then it will take even longer to continue. It can be really easy to accidentally speed
when driving downhill, especially when the road is wide and clear. This short stretch
of dual carriageway is in a town centre and has a speed limit of 30mph – and we need to
lift fully off the accelerator to prevent the car exceeding the limit. It is harder to stop when driving downhill,
so we will need to brake carefully if we are to stop at the correct position. We prefer
to brake earlier than normal so that we still have enough time to brake progressively and
smoothly. If we try to brake at the normal distance then we will be forced to brake much
harder or risk overshooting the stop line. When queuing uphill we can use our clutch
control skills to adjust our speed precisely and reduce the amount of gear changes we need
to do. Second gear is very flexible and can go really slowly if needed. Keeping well back from the car in front will
again give benefits. It will reduce the chance of the car in front of us rolling back into
our car if they struggle with their hill start. Secondly, it gives us a better chance of keeping
rolling as others stop and start repeatedly, reducing the amount of hill starts we need
to do. So remember to;
Take your time with hill starts Use lower gears when needed
Avoid coasting downhill Give space to other traffic f you found this video interesting and would
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