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Gears: Info 3


When changing gear use the palming method   

1st Gear is used for moving off, manoeuvring and for creeping slowly in traffic and at junctions.

2nd Gear is used for moving off down very steep hills, building up speed after moving away and driving at low speeds.

3rd Gear is used to build up speed and when you need more power for climbing hills. It also increases your control when going down steep hills and dealing with some bends.

4th Gear is used for driving at speeds generally higher than 30 mph, where there are no hazards to confront.

5th Gear not all vehicles have a 5th gear. which gives better fuel economy. This is normally only used on open roads when travelling constantly at higher speeds.

To Practise - change UP through the gears on the road, first find a fairly straight, wide road where there is little or no other traffic.
Move off in first gear and change into 2nd gear as soon as you can. Accelerate to about 15-25 mph, then change into 3rd gear. Accelerate in 3rd to 25-35 mph and then change into 4th.
You will need to go to 5 th gear when over 50 mph
To Practise - change DOWN through the gears When you have built up your speed to 30 mph and you are in 4th gear, Check the mirror to make sure it is safe. Brake gently to slow the car down to about 20 mph. Release the brake and change into 3rd gear. Check the mirror again and, if safe, reapply the brake gently and slow down to about 10 mph. Release the brake and change into 2nd gear.
Check the mirror, if safe, build up your speed, changing up the gears, until you reach 30 mph again.

About Block Gear Changes
Some drivers have a habit of always changing through the gears one-by-one (1,2,3,4,5 - 5,4,3,2,1). This habit has stuck with some older drivers from when they originally learned to drive many years ago.
Today, in a normal car and for everyday on-road driving, it is not generally good practice to use the gears in this way. We can change down the gears in blocks ( 5th to 2nd or 4th to 2nd. etc)
Over the years, motor car design and engineering has improved. Compared with cars of even ten years ago, modern cars are lighter, more powerful and more aerodynamic. These changes mean that the driving method that was essential in older cars is no longer needed in modern driving.
It is not necessary to change gears in sequence. For example: If you are driving along at 50 mph in 5th gear, and you want to turn left into a side road, you may be able to do so without having to stop. As you approach the junction you need to reduce your speed ( using your brake) until you are going slowly enough to take the junction safely. When you have slowed down to a safe speed using the brakes, you have to select a gear that will drive the car comfortably at that speed. In most cars the best gear for the job will be 2nd. So, move the gear lever directly to the second gear position skipping the other gears.
The benefits of this style of driving include better fuel economy, less overall wear and tear and more steering control

Gear change routine

Cover the clutch with your left foot

Firm grip of the steering wheel with your right hand

Place left hand on the gear lever in the palming position

Press the clutch down - select the gear you want

Bring the clutch up smothly - place your left hand back on the steering wheel


When changing gear going uphill build up more speed before changing gear as you will lose momentum when you press the clutch down

When changing gear going down a steep hill you will need to apply light brake pressure to stop the car building up to much speed during the gear change


Don't coast , that's keeping the clutch down longer than is necessary or travelling in neutral

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