Driving a manual transmission car is a thrill for many drivers. The feeling that you get as you control every detail of your car’s acceleration is enjoyable, and the fact that few people know how to drive manual transmission, commonly known as “stick,” adds to its allure.
At the same time, there are difficulties with driving in this way, one of which is getting started on a hill. Since you are simultaneously trying to avoid stalling, backsliding into a car behind you, and accelerating the car, it is nothing short of an acrobatic feat to get up a hill when stopped. What follows are a few suggestions for getting started on a hill when driving a manual transmission car.
Use the Handbrake
Because the process is so sensitive when on an incline, you can use the handbrake to help you free up one foot for use of the gas pedal.
Step 1: Apply the handbrake. As you come to a stop, leave your vehicle in first gear and apply the handbrake.
This means that you’ll have one foot totally free to operate the clutch and another totally free to apply the gas pedal as needed. Activating the handbrake keeps the car stopped on the incline, which would normally need to be done with the brake pedal.
Step 2: Accelerate and release the handbrake. Once you are ready to move, you can release the clutch with one foot and accelerate with the other as you normally would.
When you are ready to accelerate, release the handbrake and you’ll be on your way. This method is an effective one for stopping on hills, but it requires a little coordination of the hands, feet, and eyes. If this method is too out of the ordinary for you, you may consider trying another.
Operate the Gas and Brake with One Foot
This method may seem a bit difficult, but it could be easier for you than the handbrake method. One possible disadvantage is that if you have a small foot or are less than flexible with your feet, it could be a stretch. You may want to practice in a safe location before trying it on a busy hill.
Step 1: Apply the clutch and brakes. As you normally would, press the clutch and keep the brake engaged so you don’t roll.
Step 2: Slide your heel over to the gas pedal. This is the tricky part because you need to keep your foot on both the gas and the brake at the same time.
Step 3: Release the clutch and press the gas. As in a normal acceleration, press the gas as you feel the clutch start to engage.
At this point, you should still have your foot on both the gas and the brake pedal.
Step 4: Let go of the brake pedal. As you begin to accelerate forward, you can let go of the brake pedal.
Make sure, of course, that you are really going forward at this point because you could backslide on a hill and cause injury to other drivers and damage to their cars.
Time the Release of Pedals
This method requires the most skill, but it might be the easiest once it is mastered.
Step 1: Press the brake and clutch. Come to a stop and press down both pedals in first gear.
Step 2: Slowly release the clutch. Release it just so that it begins to engage
Step 3: Press the gas pedal and release the clutch. Press the gas pedal, moving your foot off the brake altogether, while at the same time releasing the clutch completely.
Getting started on a hill when driving manual takes practice no matter which method you choose, but you should be able to master one of these techniques so that you are starting on hills smoothly without worrying about stalling or sliding into another driver.