How To Drive a Manual Car
How To Drive a Manual Car

DRIVING INSTRUCTOR: How To Drive a Manual Car

How to start a new manual driver?

Over the years a system of instruction and teaching can be formed to train drivers how to drive safely and competently, in a cost effective way.

Before starting off, you need to plan for a safe location to start training, where there is little traffic and opportunity to change gears and to be able to do hill starts.

Starting off, you need to know how to select gears safely. Using your palm to point, you can find 2nd or 5th gear by pushing directly towards 2nd or 5th in a diagonal motion. Finding 3rd or 4th is easy by allowing the shift to snap to neutral with out force, then just pushing up or down to select the gear.

Moving the vehicle off requires clutch control and that can be explained easily.

The clutch engages the engine with the gears, and creates motion to the wheels when it is eased out from the floor. When the clutch is flat to the floor there is no load on the engine and if the clutch is released too quickly, the load becomes too much for the engine and it will stall.

To prevent a stall, the clutch needs to be brought out in stages.

The first stage is to find where the clutch starts to engage the wheels into motion, hold the clutch at this point until the accelerator can be applied slightly, then feel the clutch out slowly, this will prevent the engine stalling and by easing the clutch out slowly will prevent wheel slip.

Applying the Accelerator or Brake pedal can be done by having your, heal anchored to the floor and tilting the pedal in a controlled smooth action. A small hill or slope is good for teaching clutch control.

The first training session should consist of changing up and down gears successfully and braking control techniques.

A vehicle has a lot of momentum when traveling and it is important that the braking remains smooth and constant when slowing down, so that the vehicle remains controlled when changing down through the gears.

Clutch coasting is when someone holds the clutch in and rolls a long for more than 3 seconds.

This can be dangerous when a road is wet and slippery as the momentum could cause the brakes to lock up when not applied correctly.

When you clutch in and select a lower gear and bring the clutch out, you are using engine braking to assist your normal braking system, to minimize chances of brake lock up, which makes it safer when slowing down.

The second training session should consist of observation and steering control. Aim vision high and use peripheral vision to judge road positioning.

Steering control should consist of hand over hand and push/pull techniques emphasizing that correct road positioning is very important especially when going into sharp turns or corners.


The third training session could be used for conducting maneuvers like turn rounds, u-turns, hill starts, reversing and reverse parking. The idea is to revise clutch control and steering control before going into heavier traffic.

If the new driver is competent with the controls of the manual car, the fourth training session could be used for experience in traffic and in various intersections like roundabouts, uncontrolled cross roads and traffic lights.

Start off with easy intersections, leading into more challenging intersections. I find that if the student is having difficulty, divert back into a quiet area and practice hill starts or turn rounds to help rebuild confidence.

Everyone learns at a different rate and it helps the student a lot if you can remain calm and patient while coaching and training.

If you have a near miss, pull over and discuss how things could have been done to reduce the risk. It is wise to start someone off with a driving school vehicle as they are dual controlled and situations can be controlled by the instructor to make the learning environment safe and enjoyable.



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