Posted by: safedriver | August 15, 2012

Sometimes it’s an uphill battle

Have you ever bumped into the person walking ahead of you while walking in a store, the mall or on the street? Isn’t that embarrassing? I’ve watched people do that quite a bit over the years in the busy downtown core where I work. I’ve even watched people start walking when the person ahead of them hasn’t moved yet. How embarrassing is that?

There are also many times that I’ve seen drivers stop very close the driver ahead of them then stopped in traffic. These drivers always seem to be in a hurry that when the light turns green I’m sure they bump into the lead driver from time to time. What’s the hurry when there’s still a driver ahead of you?

When I’ve given advice to drivers who are stopped on a hill, I let them know they need to keep extra space between their vehicle and the vehicle ahead of them just in case the lead vehicle is a standard transmission vehicle. If the lead driver is not very good at using the clutch, they’ll most likely roll back into the vehicle behind them…which would be us!

During each of the 3 seasons that I was a judge on Canada’s Worst Driver, we did a standard transmission challenge. I had 10 minutes to show them how to use the clutch and change gears. That’s not a lot of training time, but that’s all I was given. During the challenge they had to stop on a hill behind another vehicle and have a vehicle stopped close to their bumper behind them. As you could imagine there were quite a few bumps as they played with the clutch.

The advice that I give new drivers if they have difficulty getting the vehicle moving forward from a stop in a standard is to gently apply the parking brake. Once they feel the friction wanting to move the vehicle forward, they can then release the parking brake. That should help them gain confidence and some skill to then avoid having to do that. Now… back to us stopping behind them.

Why stop close enough to allow another vehicle to roll back into your vehicle? Stop with at least a vehicle length so the lead driver has some room to roll back before moving forward again; especially if you’re on a hill, as in this photo. Leaving extra space ahead of your vehicle will also reduce some pressure from that driver to get moving quickly without rolling back into your vehicle. Besides, no one really needs to think of driving as an uphill battle.

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