When you first start learning to drive, changing gear can seem very difficult!
Getting into the wrong gear, stalling, kangarooing, hearing loud revving or grating noises that don’t sound very nice….it’s hard, isn’t it?
Step by step guide
1. Most gear positions are shaped like a letter H. Some have more gears, and of course, reverse gear, which is often positioned to one side or another, and will be protected to prevent you accidentally selecting it whilst driving. The gear stick will spring into neutral quite easily, when not in use.
2. There is usually a small diagram of gear positions on the top of the gear lever. Keeping the gear positions in mind, depress the clutch and move your gear stick towards first gear. This is the strongest of the gears and provides muscle for moving the car from stationary.
3. When accelerating to approximately 10 mph, you will feel the need to change gear. To do this, first place your hand on the gear lever, depress the clutch at the same time, release the gas pedal. Change to 2nd gear. Release the clutch slowly and go back onto the gas pedal. The engine note will change with each gear change.
4. As you get faster the need for a strength gear will diminish. At about 20 mph, select 3rd gear. 30mph select 4th gear and so on. These suggestions are only approximate, as the speed range of each gear overlaps somewhat, but this is a good guide to begin with.
5. If you slow down, you will also need to change down. Braking and stopping can occur in any gear, but remember to change gear when moving on again. For example, braking from 50mph (6th gear) to 20mph (3rd gear).
6. Remember, your eyes should be on the road, and not looking at your gear stick.
The video below is great. It clearly shows you how to change gear smoothly without any unnecessary drama and with a bit of practice with your friendly patient driving instructor you’ll soon get it, promise!
Driving lesson tips from the Broughton School of Motoring