The trick is to use the handbrake as a ‘safety lever’ to prevent the car from rolling back while you adjust your feet during an uphill start.
When new drivers have a problem with starting on hills, it is usually because they are worried about rolling back. If the car rolls back, even a little bit, they ‘panic’ and start tap-dancing with the pedals! But the truth is, if you can move off OK on a level road you already have all the skill you need to move off on a hill.
Using this method, you will only adjust your feet on the pedals when the car is safely secured with the handbrake is firmly pulled on.
Start by preparing the car. Select first gear and press the gas pedal (accelerator) so the engine makes a bit more noise than it does for a flat road start. Next bring the clutch up to the biting point (the point where the engine start to connect with the wheels). Now keep both of your feet still!
Make your normal safety checks (look all around and use your mirrors) and then release the handbrake very gently – no more than a few millimetres. If the starts to move (back or forward) keep your feet still and pull the handbrake back on again.
Re-adjust your feet while the car is secure, double check that the road is still clear, and then try again. Repeat this until you have full control.
By using this method you will feel secure in the knowledge that you can’t roll back more than a couple of centimetres at the very most; with practise you will find that you soon get the right ‘feel’ for the clutch every time and that you won’t need to pull handbrake back at all – its simply a matter of confidence.
Follow these tips and you’ll do a perfect hill start – every time!