Tips for tackling clutch control
Clutch control is one of the more complicated things to pick up when you are learning to drive. It is a very important skill to pick up right from the very first time you are sat behind the wheel. As you’ll already know, or at least learn to know, is that clutch control is different depending on what you are doing – from a hill start to parallel parking, it is central to becoming a good driver.
Unsurprisingly, clutch control can still get the better of experienced drivers. With that being said, we have written a quick guide on how to really nail your clutch control to keep your driving as smooth as possible.
Practice finding the biting point
If you find yourself constantly stalling, it is perhaps best to take a step back and address the issue front on. Go back to basics with this and simply sit in a safe spot and find the bite (keep your handbrake on if needs be). Just don’t go anywhere – you are simply getting accustomed to finding the sweet spot.
Once you feel confident you have got a grasp of the biting point, you can start building up from that. Kick things off again by finding a quiet road, car park, or estate, where you can start slowly driving again. Remember, make sure your handbrake is applied before finding the bite, then put your fut down on the clutch, go into first gear and slowly release the clutch by 1cm at a time. Always be aware of the car when doing this – you will be able to feel the car getting to the biting point and it will start to feel like it wants to pull away from the handbrake.
Add the accelerator
At this stage, once you are comfortable with finding the biting point, you can bring in the accelerator. This is so you can actually start moving…
As you release the clutch 1cm at a time, start gently pressing down on the accelerator at a similar rate. You will initially have the car at the equilibrium – this is where the car isn’t moving yet but you are ready to release the handbrake. Don’t rush taking your foot off the clutch – think of it as releasing a standing £1n coin at a time. Slowly press on the accelerator at a similar rate and once you can start to feel the car wanting to pull away, slowly release the handbrake and pull away safely. This is a matter of balance and patience – don’t rush any of this process. Once you get more comfortable doing this, you will be able to do it without thinking. Just always keep the steps the same.
Wear suitable shoes
Your choice of footwear is crucial to how well you can control your clutch. If you keep jumping from “I can do this quite well now” to “why can’t I do this again?”, have a think about your footwear.
Clutch control all lies in being able to feel the pedals and not be restricted in anyway. If your shoes are too big and cumbersome, you won’t be able to feel the necessary pointers and biting points. Before your next lesson or your next practise driver, try various shoes before you set off. This way, you can feel what shoes are best.
It is important to remain patient when trying to get a hold of your clutch control. Don’t get disheartened – there is a lot to think about at one time, and I defy any learner driver that hasn’t struggled with this. Be patient, take it slow and think everything through – it will soon come naturally to you and be second nature. Just trust the process.
If you are looking for some slightly more detailed insights into how to best master clutch control, click here. You can never know too much when it comes to learning to drive. Although all of this will come naturally to you one day.
When you are comfortable with finding the bite and adding the accelerator (in a suitable pair of shoes), go to a quiet area and start practising your bunny-hop-less driving.
If there is anything else you are worried about with your driving, check out our blog on things to look out for during your driving test. If you can know the things that people most commonly fail on, you can practise the mistakes out of you!
For everything else, use the Otimo app
We’ve released a free mobile app that helps you track your routes and see learning opportunities. With the Otimo app, you can boost your driving confidence and pass first time. Here’s how it looks: