Hill Starts & Angle Starts

hill startHill starts seem to strike fear into the hearts of learner drivers; but if you have been taught the correct basic procedure for moving off, then you are already half-way there.

The correct method for moving off normally is to set the gas and bring the clutch to the biting point before releasing the handbrake. A hill start is no different and you will not roll back if you carry out this routine correctly. The only difference in control is that you may need to give the engine a little more gas to increase engine power; how much will depend on the steepness of the slope.

Where do hill starts differ from a normal start? Well, when you set off you will not be able to accelerate away as quickly as on a flat road. For this reason you need to ensure that you have a bigger gap if any traffic is approaching from behind. Once you have set off, you may also need to accelerate more quickly to maintain that safe gap. To do this you should hold onto your lower gears longer than you normally would. Ensure that you have built up enough speed before changing up into a higher gear otherwise you will lose momentum.

angle start

Angle Starts

When you are moving out from behind an obstruction, such as when pulling out from between parked cars, this is known as an ‘angle start.’ Because of the need to steer around the obstruction, you will not be able to accelerate away as quickly as you would from a clear space. You need to keep the speed of your car low by using clutch control until you have cleared the obstruction. So, like with the hill start, you will need to ensure that you have more space and time behind. You need to avoid causing other drivers to slow down when you set off.

With and angle start, you also need to be much more aware of what may be coming towards you. Because you will have to take a wider course to get around the obstruction, there is a risk that you could move into the path of oncoming traffic. It is vitally important in this situation that you do not pull out until you are sure it is safe both in front of and behind your vehicle.

Whether moving away from a hill start or an angle start, check your mirrors as soon as you get going. This is to ensure you are picking up enough speed to avoid causing anyone coming up behind to brake.

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