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How To Start And Stop Smoothly

How To Start And Stop Smoothly

Starting and stopping is one of the first skills you will acquire as a new driver. Driving instructor, Gary Lamb, demonstrates the correct way to do this.

Step 1: The Process

Starting and stopping your car is the most basic manoeuvre you'll learn, the corner stone of your driving skills. The key process of Preparation, Observation and Manoeuvre, or POM, is put into practice. You will use this routine again and again as you develop as a driver.

Step 2: Prepare to pull away

Do your pre-start checks and then turn on the ignition. Press the clutch down and select first gear. Press down slightly on the accelerator and hold your foot steady, there should be enough power to hear the engine rev but not roar. Find the biting point by gradually easing up off the clutch until the car dips slightly and the engine noise drops. Keep your left foot still.

Step 3: Mirrors, signal, manoeuvre

Before you move off look all around, check your rear view and door mirrors, and look over your right shoulder to check the blind spot. Think very carefully about whether you need to signal or not. You will need to signal your intention to move off where there is traffic approaching from ahead, otherwise let traffic behind go past before you pull away. Release the handbrake and let the clutch up slowly allowing you to move off.

Press down on the accelerator a little further to increase your speed as you pull away from the kerb into the road.

Step 4: Prepare to pull over

Before you prepare to pull over, make sure it is safe to do so. Check the rear view, and then door mirrors. Give a signal if there's traffic close behind you or to let road users ahead know of your intentions, and slow your speed by easing your foot off the accelerator.

Step 5: Position and park

When pulling over, steer close and parallel to the kerb. Then brake gently until you have completely stopped, pressing down on the clutch as you do so. Secure the car by applying the handbrake, select neutral, and if you did signal now's the time ensure the indicators off.

The distance from the kerb is crucial - if you're too far, you could be an obstruction to passing road users; if your tyres scrape or touch the kerb, you're putting the safety of the vehicle's wheels at risk. Avoid positioning your car where you might inconvenience somebody else, such as in front of a driveway or near any kind of crossing or junction.