We’ve all been there – nearly every driver, whether experienced or a complete beginner, has stalled their car at some point or other. Whilst stalling your car during a driving test may not automatically mean a major fault, taking a few simple steps to learn how to avoid stalling can make all the difference between a pass and a fail.
What causes a car to stall?
Stalling a car usually occurs either when pulling off from a standstill, or when slowing the car back down to a stop.
The point where the two plates in the clutch are brought together is called the ‘biting point’. Many learner drivers find it difficult to judge where this point is, and can release the clutch too quickly, which causes the plates to jam together and the engine to stall.
Most drivers will find that with lots of practice, finding the right biting point of a car becomes second nature. However, in the early days when preparing for your test, understanding the correct technique for pulling away can help avoid stalling, and increase all round confidence in your driving ability.
How to avoid stalling
Follow these simple steps every time you pull away:
- Press the clutch fully to the ground with your left foot.
- Keeping your foot pressed down, select first gear.
- Gently apply pressure to the accelerator with your right foot. You will hear the engine start to rev.
- Very slowly raise up your left foot from the clutch until you find the biting point where the car begins to move.
- Release the handbrake.
- Continue to gently increase the pressure on the accelerator, whilst raising your left foot off the clutch as you move away.
Most importantly of all, remember to keep calm! If the worst happens and you do stall, just take a deep breath, apply the brake and put the car back in neutral, and work through the steps above again. You’ll be driving away smoothly in no time!