It’s the nightmare scenario: you’re moving away at a junction in your driving test – and you stall.
It might not be an outright fail, but it can knock your confidence so you start to make other mistakes. Want to stop stalling and start driving with confidence?
You need to face your fear and master the art of moving off with perfect control.
Why do I stall?
When you’re waiting at lights or pulling away from the kerb, the engine is ticking over ready to move.
Move off in the wrong gear, change up to the wrong gear, or let your foot off the clutch too quickly and you’ll come to a juddering halt.
That’s because the clutch plates have suddenly jammed together, stopping the engine and stalling the car.
How do I stop my car stalling at junctions in Hounslow?
- Secure the car by putting the handbrake on
- Press the clutch down fully and select first gear
- Take your foot slowly off the clutch until you find the biting point – the car will lurch if you’re on a hill
- Don’t forget mirror, signal, manoeuvre!
- Release the handbrake
- Accelerate slowly and smoothly away, releasing the clutch completely
What’s the biting point?
Clutch control is the key to moving away smoothly every time you start the car. It’s easy once you’ve practised a few times and your driving instructor will give you some valuable visual and audio clues until you get the hang of it for yourself.
- Check the handbrake is on then press in the clutch pedal and select first gear
- Now ‘set the gas’ by gently pressing the accelerator until the rev counter is at 1500rpm and hold it there
- Very slowly raise the clutch until you reach the biting point:
• Listen for the sound of the engine to change as the clutch plates engage with the wheel
• Look at the bonnet of the car and notice it lift slightly
- Remember MSM!
- Release the handbrake
- Slowly lift the clutch while also pressing on the accelerator
Do I always need the biting point?
Once you’re a proficient driver you’ll find you can get the car moving almost without thinking about it, although knowing the biting point is great for hill starts and for giving you confidence when you first start driving.
Any other tips?
Don’t panic! If you do stall in your driving test or in heavy traffic just put on the handbrake, take a deep breath and restart the engine coolly and calmly.
Don’t let yourself be intimidated by other drivers – remember, they were learners once and stalled just as many times as you have!