The brakes probably don't give as much maximum braking force as a modern
car. They won't have ABS which people probably rely on these days (we've got
used to being able to stamp on the pedal as hard a possible in an emergency,
without having to think about cadence braking and not steering while braking
But as long as a driver is used to driving a car with much weaker brakes, he
will know to start braking earlier and to leave a longer distance from the
car in front in case it brakes as hard as a modern car can and he needs the
extra stopping distance.
It must be very difficult adjusting between modern and 40+ year old: heavier
steering, weaker brakes, more tendency to lose the back end if you apply
power while steering round a bend. When you replaced your 40 year old car
with a 35 year old one and then with a 30 year old one, the incremental
changes were fairly small. But going straight from modern to a car from the
60s and you'll get a shock. For a start, I doubt whether many of us could
manage double-declutching when changing between first and any other gear
(many 60s cars didn't have synchromesh on first or even second gear) - I
know I couldn't because I've never been able to practice on a car that
*doesn't* have full synchromesh: whether you match the engine speed to the
new gear or not, the gear will still engage, even if you then get a lurch as
you let the clutch up if you've not matched the speed correctly; you won't
even engage the gear with non-sync unless you've matched the speed.
Of course drivers of modern cars need to be aware of the limitations of
older cars. You might pull in a certain distance ahead of a modern car and
then find you have to brake hard, and expect the car behind you to be able
to stop. If that car has poorer brakes he will rear-end you, so you always
allow a much bigger gap - just in case. A skilled driver of an older car can
leave plenty of gap ahead of him but can't control how much gap an
overtaking car leaves when pulling in ahead. My first car's brakes weren't
particularly good and I found that on a motorway I was forever having to
touch the brakes (or at the very least, lift off the power) to increase the
stopping distance ahead of me as overtaking cars pulled in too close ahead
The same applies to overtaking an HGV - don't pull in too close ahead of it
because it won't be able to stop in as short a distance as you can (either
because of poorer brakes in relation to vehicle mass, or because of the risk
of jacknifing. I always give a lorry more room than a car when I pull back
I wasn't sure whether it was "some", "many" or "most". Most times, you would
only go from first to second, and not from a higher gear to first. (*) But
the problem comes when you need to climb a very steep hill for which second
will not suffice. You may only discover that half way up the hill when, with
very little warning, you need to engage first. I suppose in the extreme
case, you come to a dead halt, engage first with the car stationary and then
set off again - rather less elegant than being able to change from any gear
to any gear at the drop of a hat, as you can with a modern car, but not a
Although I can do clutchless gearchanges in a synchromesh car (some
gearboxes are more forgiving than others - my 10-year-old Peugeot is so warn
than it is *very* forgiving!) I wouldn't have a clue about how to
double-declutch - ie how to adjust the engine speed "offline" with no
feedback as to when you've got it just right and the gear just slips in.
Trying to learn on a sync box is a hiding to nothing because it will
*always* work, no matter whether you are right or very, very wrong.
Did drivers of non-sync boxes tend to go through the time-consuming faff of
double-declutching (down, change neutral, up, blip-or-wait, down, change new
gear, up) or did they tend to do clutchless changes in practice, where at
least you get immediate feedback and can increase or decrease the revs until
the gear slips in on the fly?
(*) Although in those days, and as recently as when I took my test in 1980,
the way the driving test expected you to drive was to change down through
the gears, so second to first was expected of you. It took a bit of
unlearning when I was preparing for my IAM advanced test in 1990, where they
advocate braking in whatever gear you happen to be in, dropping the clutch
just before the engine protests, and then going straight from (for example)
sixth to whatever gear you need to accelerate away - which may be second if
you can keep rolling at a give way junction or may be first if you need to
stop. I would find it *very* difficult to go back to changing down through
the gears nowadays.
On Thursday, 17 May 2018 20:46:50 UTC+1, NY wrote:
With a crawler gear, any thought of ever changing from 2nd to 1st while mov
ing is out of the question. A baby could crawl faster than top speed in 1st
. Obviously that does not apply to cars where 1st is for routine use.
I've always done it that way, and always regarded going down through the ge
ars as poor practice. Keeping your hands at 2:10 on the wheel is another ba
d practice required by driving testers. A noticeable amount of modern drivi
ng advice comes from pre-war times, with the original reasons having long d
I had various things like that drummed into me by my driving instructor - I
still remember "footbrake to stop the car; handbrake and *not footbrake* to
stay stopped", which I still adhere to (*). But I think he was in a
difficult position because he had to teach various things (eg changing down
through the gears) because the ordinary test demanded you pay lip service to
them at that time, but in a previous life he'd been a police Class 1 driving
instructor so he'd taught the Advanced Driver way of doing things, such as
block gearchanges, moving from outside of bend to inside at the apex etc.
After I'd passed he took me for an extra lesson on a motorway and told me
about how "real" drivers drive when they haven't got an examiner looking
over their shoulder. I still do the little dodge that he taught me: whenever
I stop and I'm about to get out, or whenever I get in, I always waggle the
gear lever from side to side, to prove to myself that the car is in neutral
and won't lurch forward when I let the clutch up before stopping the engine,
or when I start the engine.
I tend to keep my hands *roughly* at 10-to-2 in normal driving (unless I'm
getting tired on a motorway and I rest my arms on my knees and let my hands
drop to twenty-to-four). And when I'm steering through a large angle, I try
not to let my left hand go past midnight onto the right side - I go from 6
o'clock to 12 o'clock in one move then let the opposite hand go from 12 to
I remember once appearing in a little video that we were making at night
school and the "director" (one of the other students) commented that I drove
like a new driver, with my 10-to-2 and not letting my hands go past
midnight, so I had to consciously do what he wanted from the "wide boy"
character that I was playing, even though I'd just learned the IAM way for
my advanced test. Racing drivers, who habitually cross their hands, would no
doubt think it was very staid :-)
The need to do a 3-point-turn for the driving test is one of the
anachronisms that the test teaches you. If I ever need to turn round, I
usually reverse into a driveway, gateway or side road, rather than blocking
the whole road while I turn round. And I doubt that anyone who *is* doing a
3-point-turn ever puts their handbrake on and waits till the car has come to
a complete halt before going between first and reverse. But you've got to be
careful with going from first to reverse: my car is happy to let me do it -
all the cars I've had have been like that - but both of my wife's Hondas
make a graunching if I haven't come to a complete halt. Obviously I'm only
talking about changing gear with the clutch still down, as opposed to
letting it up before the car has stopped when the plates will be going in
opposite directions :-)
(*) Being blinded by the brake lights of the stationary car ahead of me in a
traffic queue is one thing that I would punish with the death sentence :-)
It's a necessary skill, but many people in real life avoid using the
manoeuvre because of the disruption it causes once you've started and
traffic then appears which wasn't there when you checked that it was safe to
begin. Even if you are skilled and can make use of the vehicle's full left
and right lock to minimise the number of movements, it still takes a while.
Easier to do a U turn in the mouth of a side road or reverse into the side
road from the main road.
Maybe "anachronism" is too strong a word. Perhaps "mostly an irrelevance"
would be better. Teaching hand signals would be an anachronism, though it
hasn't actually been done for a long time (when did it stop?).
What is the law when there is a no-U-turns sign (eg on a dual carriageway)
about turning across the carriageway (assuming there is a gap to allow you
to do this) into a side road, turning round there and then rejoining the
opposite carriageway. I've often done this manoeuvre, but I heard someone
say that it's still classed as doing a U turn, even though you are not
turning in the road which has the restriction.
Consider https://goo.gl/maps/zRPAAQufga32 - assuming I am in the right hand
line with the right arrow, indicating to turn right. When there is a gap in
the oncoming traffic I pull into the left hand side of the flared mouth of
the side road opposite, do a U turn wholly within the side road and end up
facing in the same direction as the oncoming traffic (ie facing to the right
in this photo), waiting in the mouth of the side road to join the main road
when there is a gap. Assume I've checked that there isn't traffic coming
towards me on the side road or traffic on the main road that is indicating
to turn left into the side road.
When it comes to reversing around a corner into a side road, what would you
do if this happened to you on your test... You stop on the main road just
ahead of the junction and wait until you cannot see any traffic either
coming from behind you or coming along the side road. Once it's clear you
start to reverse. When you are half way round, blocking both half the road
that you were on and half the one that you are reversing into, a car
approaches on the main road and is a good 200 yards away when you first see
it. Do you a) stop dead and make the other car go onto the wrong side of the
road to overtake you, b) carry on with the manoeuvre to complete it before
the car reaches you, or c) stop until the car approaches you and stops to
let you go ahead, and then start reversing again.
I opted for c) as being better than b), dismissing a) as absurd. My examiner
said I should have stopped half-way round and not proceeded *even if the car
had clearly stopped to let me continue*. Only when it had (reluctantly)
overtaken me and the road was again clear should I carry on. My instructor
said I'd done exactly what he would have done, and that the examiner (whom
he knew well by repute) would fail you no matter which option you chose
because he was that way inclined :-( (This is the examiner who reputedly
told my next door neighbour "I am sorry to tell you that I cannot find any
grounds on which I am allowed to fail you, so against my better judgement I
must reluctantly pass you" - talk about doing it with ill grace ;-)
Where's "here"? I presume you're not in the UK. Is reversing around a corner
from a major road into a minor road (or into a gateway etc) not a legal
means of turning round where you are? If so, I can see that ability to do a
three-point turn is more important skill for you.
One manoeuvre that I'm surprised took so long to be included in driving
lessons and the test (in the UK) is parallel parking - ie parking end-to-end
between two cars that are parked next to the kerb. When I learned in the
early 1980s, it was not part of the test, and yet it is a manoeuvre that (in
my opinion) requires a lot more skill and judgement, and is used a lot more
frequently, than a three-point turn. Learning how to judge when to start
turning into the parking space, how steep an angle to go in at, and when to
start turning the opposite way so as to tuck the front end in - all of that
is not intuitive and needs to be taught and practiced many times until you
can do it first time and quickly, since you will usually be holding up a
stream of traffic behind you until you are safely parked.
When I bought a new car which had front wings that sloped away so steeply
that I couldn't see the corners of the car (to judge where the corner of the
front bumpers would be in relation to the corner of the car in front) I
found a road where I knew there would be some spaces to practice this, to
make sure that what I could do about 90% reliably first time in my old car,
was still fairly easy in this new car. And no, this car doesn't have parking
sensors so I couldn't use them to judge how close the corners would get to
the back of the car ahead as I'm swinging the front end into place.
Then when we got a big 4x4, when I was used to a Ford Focus size car, I had
to learn how to modify the technique for the wider, longer car - much use is
made of the passenger door mirror, angled down to show the rear wheel in
relation to the kerb to judge when to start tucking the front of the car in.
Reversing into a side-by-side parking space (eg in a car park) is also
something that does not come naturally - judging your position so you are
equidistant from the cars on both sides, and making sure you don't hit a low
bollard or wall behind you. Again, door mirrors angled downwards show where
the back end of your car is in relation to a kerb, and you *hope* that
you've checked for a central bollard which will become invisible as you get
closer to it, unless you've got one of those clever downward facing mirrors
attached to the rear window in the tailgate. Parking sensors are a great
help as long as you don't rely on them: while reversing, both my wife and I
have nudged signposts which were in a blind spot of the door and rear-view
mirror and were not picked up by parking sensors despite it being the sensor
which took the impact. It's as if the sensor is blind to objects directly in
front of it and can only register things that are off the
Not legal with any type of road to reverse around an intersection corner.
That’s fine, plenty do that. Driveway too.
I cant see that there enough intersections of a major
and minor road there to be much use to you lot either.
Its always been part of the test here except in a few rural areas
which didn’t bother to have any test at all back in the 50s etc.
Weird given so many of your houses don’t even have a driveway.
Yeah. I've just recently taught a couple of kids to drive and its
certain a much more difficult skill to acquire, particularly when
to start turning the wheel when backing up, both turns.
We don’t use it as much as you lot. There is hardly ever a continuous
line of cars with just one empty space between two cars in most
residential streets even in the major state capitals except in the inner
areas. And hardly anyone actually needs to do a 3 point turn, the
other obvious alternative is to just drive around the block instead.
And most places have roundabouts now so you just do the U turn
at the next one of those and don’t have a traffic problem that way.
Even tho parallel parking is part of the driving test here, many,
particularly women drivers, don’t actually bother to park like
that once they have passed the test, only park like that when
they can park moving forward with more than one car space
where they are parking.
Many still can't always manage it first time well after passing
the test, mainly because they hardly ever parallel park into just
one car space between two parked cars after passing the test.
You don’t get a lot of that here, the areas where you do need
to parallel park into just one parking place between two already
parked cars mostly have traffic lights so if you stuff up the first
attempt, you just wait for a pause in the traffic due to the lights
and try again.
Yeah, the kids had their own late 1990s corolla, no parking sensors
and you cant see the corners of the car from the drivers seat. They did
get the hang of parallel parking quite quickly tho. Tho 3 point turns
were trivial in comparison, we practiced parallel parking a lot more.
I always drove plenty of the big stuff for work because that’s all work had.
Yeah, that takes quite a bit of practice, particularly with the angle
we have extensively. Not at right angles to the kerb, closer to 60 degrees.
We don’t have that much, there is mostly a kerb at the inner end,
even when there are two rows back to back, couple of just kerbs
that you can just keep backing up to until the tires hit it. Not
always tho with those back to back rows but its easy to judge
when to stop and not critical when there is nothing to hit.
We don’t have many of those at all. There are some walls, particularly
with the big underground and multi story car parks but most of those
do have a false kerb out from the wall, so the wall doesn’t get damaged.
I prefer proper reversing cameras and would like a pair at the front
of the car too. My Getz slopes down so quickly that you never see
the front corners of the car at all and have to guess when driving
forward into normal parking at supermarkets etc.
The Getz is 11 years old now and was their cheapest small car
when new so doesn’t have parking sensors or cruise control.
That’s why I prefer cameras and its best if those are
fully integrated dash cams and security cameras too.
Still havent managed to convince myself to pay $30K
or so for a new car to get that and cruise control etc.
Keep considering adding say 5-6 cameras and a decent
system that shows you the appropriate one based on
the gearstick setting but havent gotten around to it.
My wife's new car says in the book you should park it in gear, and won't
let you start the engine unless the clutch is down.
I habitually pull the handbrake on hard enough that she can't get it off
again, and have to think about it when I driver her car!
I think our new car insists on the clutch being down before letting the
starter motor work, which is fine for making sure you don't lurch forward
when starting. However it still doesn't guard against the problem when
parking: you pull up to the wall or car ahead of you, pressing the clutch to
the floor as you brake to a halt, and then it is all to easy to forget that
you are still in gear and let the clutch up. Hence the waggle before letting
the clutch up - I've caught several cases where something has distracted me
from my normal routine and I would lurched into the car in front.
The one problem with enforcing clutch-down when starting is that it foils
the last-ditch escape if you stall on a level crossing and the engine won't
restart: put the car in first or reverse and use the starter motor to crank
the car clear. Only if that fails or you judge that there's no time to do
it, do you bail out and run like bloody hell - if possible, it's better to
get the car clear as well as yourself, to avoid derailing the train. Mind
you, I try to make sure that I always approach a level crossing fast enough
that if the engine should happen to die at that precise moment (sod's law
working overtime!) I will have enough momentum to carry me off the crossing,
with the clutch down if necessary. Too many people edge over them at less
than walking pace (and don't leave a good gap from the car ahead) so if the
engine does die, the car will be stuck on the crossing.
I had three occassions where the car needed to be moved on the starter
motor - once when the under-chassis sprays in a carwash wet the
electrics and it wouldn't start; once where it cut out in the middle of
a ford and the third (actually helping a work colleague) where he'd run
out of fuel in an awkward location and the kerb was too high to bump the
car up it by hand.
None of them were life threatening, but in each case it allowed clearing
the way for other vehicles ASAP.
On Sunday, 20 May 2018 19:31:27 UTC+1, Steve Walker wrote:
I recall going round a corner off a roundabout on a 3 lane road where much
of the traffic was doing 40-60 and swerving as they met a stalled car. That
driver needed to use the starter to avoid being hit at a fair speed. I've
also used the momentum of the car plus starter together to get vehicles goi
ng where neither alone would work. Inability to use the starter in gear is
a hazard. Though admittedly everything about a car is a hazard.
HGV test 1970s you had to engage 1st crawler gear from 2nd whist vehicle was
moving. if you missed it or stoped you would fail
And on a Dennis fire engine 1st was a dogleg a long way to the left you had
to almost get out of the seat to engage it
not that difficult once you had got your head around speed, only just moving
double de-clutch time, blink of an eye or the above stops happening
and engine revs
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