How to do hill starts?

Answered by Stephen Mosley

Hill starts can be intimidating for new drivers, but with practice and proper technique, they can become much easier. Here’s a detailed guide on how to do hill starts:

1. Prepare the Car: Before attempting a hill start, ensure that the car is properly prepared. This includes making sure the handbrake is engaged, the clutch is pressed fully down, and the gear is in first.

2. Find the Biting Point: The biting point refers to the point at which the clutch and the engine start to engage. To find the biting point, slowly bring up the clutch pedal while keeping the accelerator fully released. You will feel a slight vibration or hear the engine change its sound, indicating that the clutch is starting to engage.

3. Assess the Situation: Before moving, it’s crucial to assess the situation. Check your mirrors and blind spots to ensure it’s safe to proceed. Also, be aware of any traffic or pedestrians around you.

4. Release the Handbrake: Once you’ve found the biting point and determined it’s safe to move, release the handbrake slowly. This should be done gradually to prevent the car from rolling backward.

5. Control the Clutch: As you release the handbrake, continue to bring up the clutch pedal slowly. You want to find a balance between releasing the clutch and pressing the accelerator to smoothly move the car forward.

6. Apply the Accelerator: Once the clutch is fully engaged and the car starts to move forward, you can gradually apply the accelerator. Be cautious not to apply too much throttle, as it may cause the wheels to spin or jerk the car forward.

7. Maintain Control: As you start moving up the hill, it’s essential to maintain control of the car. Keep a steady foot on the accelerator and adjust the pressure as needed to control your speed. Also, be mindful of the steering and brake inputs to ensure a smooth and controlled ascent.

8. Practice: Hill starts can be challenging, especially in different situations or with steeper inclines. Practice in various scenarios to build confidence and improve your technique. Find hills with different gradients and practice hill starts until you feel comfortable.

Remember, practice makes perfect when it comes to hill starts. Each car may have a slightly different biting point, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the specific vehicle you are driving. With time and experience, you’ll become more proficient in performing hill starts confidently.