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Vehicle Controls

There are many controls, buttons and switches to even a basic car and you will not a good understanding of all of them as they may be required on a test as well as real life.

The most important control of the vehicle is you! Your car will not do anything unless you control it. Whilst it’s a well known fact the effects of Alcohol and Recreational Drugs have on people a few other influences should be taken into account;

Prescription medicines, certain drugs contained in these can greatly affect you reactions and decision making ability. If you were involved in a collision and it is proved this had an influence on you it is treated by the courts as a Drug Driving offence. So read the labels.

Fatigue, Distractions such as the Radio, Mobile Phone, Sat Nav and passengers, Your mood if you have just had an argument etc you may drive aggressively, your health, eye sight and age with again will great affect your reaction time if your focus is not on the road.

Enough of the lectures.


Foot controls

Gas pedal

This controls the flow of fuel to the engine and set the engine speed (not necessarily the road speed) which can be checked on the rev counter. It is used with your right foot, your heal should be on the carpet as a pivot point in between the brake and the gas as the same foot controls both pedal this is the same for automatic cars. Use it in a smooth & progressive manner adjusting it the thickness of a pound coin at a time.


Brake Pedal

This pedal controls the brakes on all 4 wheels. It controls how fast you can slow the car to a stop in a progressive manner and again should be used both in a smooth & progressive manner adjusting it the thickness of a pound coin at a time. Remember just before you come to a halt release the brake the thickness of a pound coin (not all the way) to prevent any jolting. The 3 brake lights will be on whenever depressing this pedal.


Clutch pedal

The common misconception; the clutch is not a brake. It is used with your left foot and this is all the left foot operates. The clutch is use to connect or disconnect the engine power from the wheel via the gearbox. It has 3 positions;

Clutch Down. The engine power is cut from the wheels and gearbox allowing you to select a gear.

Biting Point. Slowly raising the pedal about the thickness of 3 to 4 pound coins it will deliver enough power to the wheels to prevent the car rolling backwards when facing up hill, on a flat road or downhill you will be able to creep at an old mans walking pace.

Clutch Up. Slowly raising the clutch from the bite the thickness of a pound coin at a time until it is all the way up will fully connect the engine to the wheels and allow full engine power.


Hand Controls

Parking Brake (Handbrake)

Unlike the foot brake on most cars this only works on the rear wheels. It has 2 positions either on or off. If it is applied when the car is moving it can lock the back wheels and cause the car to skid out of control. It is for stationary use only to secure the vehicle.

To release the handbrake lift slightly press the button and place down.

To apply the handbrake. Press the button lift until firm and then release the button.


Gear Stick

Most cars have 5 or 6 forward gears and reverse.

1st gear is a moving away gear just like the large cog a bicycle it is easy to pedal away in.

2nd & 3rd gears are working gears for building you speed and negotiating certain junctions and hazards.

4th, 5th & 6th are cruising gears used for maintaining your speed using the minimum amount of fuel.

Reverse is of course of going backwards.

Forward gears should be changed up at between 2 & 3 thousand revs on the rev counter to gain minimum fuel use and maximum vehicle control.

The palming method should be used to grip the gearstick in order not to select the wrong gear. You instructor will show you this.


Steering Wheel

Let’s clear the misconceptions; you can hold the steering wheel where ever you want provided you arms are not resting on your legs, armrest or door!

We suggest the optimal position is either at a 10 to 2 or ¼ to 3 position.

You can cross your hands when steering! Again we find the optimal steering method is the pull-push method you instructor will again teach you this.

Like a cycle if you are moving slowly you can turn the handle bars as much as you like you can do the same with the steering wheel.

Like a cycle again at higher speeds slowly moving the handle bars prevents the loss of your teeth in the tarmac, small gradual movements of the steering wheel will give maximum control.


Indicator Signal

There are 6 external indicators on modern cars, 2 on the front, 2 on the side and 2 on the rear. They are controlled by the indicator stick on the steering column.

To apply the indicator simply moves it in the direction you intend to turn the wheel.

Nearly all the time it will self cancel after the manoeuvre; you will know this will happen if you hear a small click. If it does not cancel you must cancel it.


Window Wipers

They are operated the same as the indicators via a stick on the steering column.

Your instructor will teach you to use these as you will always need to be able to see where you are going!


The other entire auxiliary controls such as the heater, lights cruise control etc will be covered by your instructor.

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