How to do a hill start

If you want to know how to do a hill start, you’ve come to the right place. As one of the manoeuvres you may have to do in your practical driving test, it’s really important that you learn how to perform a hill start properly.

How to do a hill start in a manual car

  1. With the handbrake on, start by selecting first gear and bring the clutch to its biting point (when the engine is ready to begin moving the wheels). Because you’re fighting gravity you’ll need to use a few more revs than usual, so the engine doesn’t stall – but don’t overdo it or you’ll be shooting off up the hill.
  2. Once you’ve found the biting point, check your mirrors and ensure there are no pedestrians about to cross the road behind you. Next, check over your right shoulder and put on your indicator if necessary.
  3. If it’s safe to move off, release the handbrake and let the clutch bite a little more – enough to get the car rolling forward, but not enough to cause the car to jerk. Let the revs rise a bit as the car moves off, letting the clutch come right up as the car gathers speed.
  4. Compared with setting off on the flat, you might need to change up from first a little later if the engine isn’t to struggle against the hill. You’ll also need to change gear quickly and smoothly, if you’re not to grind to a halt because the car has lost all of its momentum. Once you’ve set off, make sure you’ve cancelled your indicator, if you set it going.

How to perform a hill start in an automatic car

  1. Hill starts in an automatic are loads easier than in a manual. Start by applying the handbrake just as you would in a manual car.
  2. Put the gearbox in ‘drive’ and have a good look in your mirrors and around the car so you know it’s safe to move off.
  3. If it’s safe to pull away, release the handbrake and press down on the accelerator.

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