Driving off

Starting the engine

Check that the handbrake is on;
after this check that the gear lever is in neutral.

The handbrake must be on when you check that the gear lever is in neutral because if the gear lever is put into neutral or the clutch is put down with the handbrake off the car could move.  The clutch has to be put to start the engine on most cars made in the 21st Century.

The clutch should be down when you start the engine so the starter motor only has to turn the engine over and not the gearbox as well; if the engine is started for the first time on a cold morning with the clutch up it could overload the starter motor and battery.

To start the engine turn the ignition key all the way around for a second or two and the engine should start.  Do not push the accelerator down when starting a modern car because it is not necessary and neither good for the car or the environment.

Copy Right of Peter Hurley: 1996.
Updated 2023

Moving Off

1  Put the clutch to the floor and keep it there.

2  Put the gear lever into first gear and put both hands on the steering wheel.

3  Push the accelerator down a small way so the engine note rises.

4  Lift the clutch carefully to the biting point; you will know when you have reached this because the engine note will drop and the front of the car will lift a little.  (If the clutch is brought too high the car will either stall or move off with the handbrake on.)

5  The car is now ready to move and the only thing stopping it doing so is the handbrake.

Before the handbrake is taken off proper checks MUST BE MADE.

(a)  Look in the mirrors and ahead; if there is anyone to indicate to including pedestrians, do so.  If a vehicle is about to pass you do not indicate yet, wait until it has passed you, then look and decide again.

(b)  Take your left hand off the steering wheel and put it on the handbrake.

(c(  Lift the handbrake and press the button in - but keep the hand brake on.

(d)  Look in the mirrors again.

(e)  Look over your right hand shoulder when driving away from a kerb on your left.  When driving away from a kerb on your right look over your left hand shoulder.

(f)  Look forward and if it is clear put the handbrake off.

(g)  If the car moves keep your feet still until the car picks up speed before lifting your left foot off the clutch.

(h)  If the car does not move, lift the clutch gently a small amount until it does and give a quick look over your right hand shoulder again to make sure it is safe, then look ahead as you move off.

(i)  Keep your feet still until the car picks up speed before lifting your left foot off the clutch - but don’t leave your foot on the clutch too long or you will burn it out!  

(j)  After the car has moved off look in the mirrors again.

The copyright of this document is held by Peter Hurley; 29 December 1996.