The main thing to remember when facing a hill start is to relax, don’t over think it and remember; the handbrake will keep you safely secured until you are ready to start moving. How?
- Facing uphill, select first gear.
- Add a little more pressure than normal to the accelerator. You should hear it rev but not roar.
- Slowly bring up the clutch pedal until you can detect the Bite Point. You will hear the engine note drop a little, you may even feel a slight pressure in the clutch pedal and the front of the car will nod. Hold your feet still.
- Make your observations as normal – Mirrors and Blind Spot check. Making a double check that no pedestrians are about to cross behind your car too.
- Let go the handbrake and add a little more acceleration, to counter the effects of the hill, before you change to second gear.
If you do release the handbrake before you are able to move off, simply re-apply it, put the car into neutral, take a deep breath and start again. As much as you may dread the moment your instructor takes you to do a hill start, if you are not confident or comfortable with them you need to ask for more practice. Learning to drive is about more than learning to pass your practical test, and you must be confident doing all manoeuvres in a ‘real-life’ everyday driving situation. Practising with a level, confident mind-set will make for a perfect hill start!