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Hill starts made easy – no more stress moving off with this handy guide

Performing a hill start in both manual and automatic cars requires careful control and awareness. ADI’s will make your life easy and you will be expected at first to perform a hill start in a quiet place where you will be free of stress and surrounding vehicles. 


Here are the instructions using the POM (Prepare, Observe, Move) routine for both manual and automatic types of vehicles:


Hill Start in a Manual Car

  1. Prepare:

    • Engage the handbrake to secure the car.
    • Press down on the clutch pedal and select first gear.
    • Find the biting point:
      • Gently increase the engine revs by pressing the accelerator.
      • Slowly release the clutch until you feel the car slightly straining against the handbrake (this is the biting point).
  2. Observe:

    • Perform all-around observations:
      • Check your rear-view and side mirrors.
      • Look over your shoulders to cover blind spots.
    • Ensure it’s safe to move, considering other road users and pedestrians.
  3. Move:

    • When it’s safe, signal if necessary (if your direction of travel affects others).
    • Slowly release the handbrake while simultaneously applying a little more accelerator.
    • As the car starts to move, gradually release the clutch and increase the accelerator to move off smoothly.

Hill Start in an Automatic Car

  1. Prepare:

    • Keep the brake pedal pressed to hold the car.
    • Shift the gear to ‘Drive’ (D).
  2. Observe:

    • Conduct thorough all-around observations:
      • Check all mirrors and blind spots.
    • Be aware of the traffic, pedestrians, and any potential hazards.
  3. Move:

    • Signal if necessary, depending on the impact of your movement on other road users.
    • Gradually release the brake pedal.
    • As the car begins to move, gently press the accelerator to gain momentum.
    • Ensure a smooth transition from brake to accelerator to prevent the car from rolling backward.

General Tips

  • Balance Clutch and Accelerator (Manual): Mastering the balance between clutch and accelerator is key in a manual car. Practice finding the biting point in a safe, flat area.
  • Effective Observations: Always ensure it’s safe before moving. Hill starts often have limited visibility, so extra caution is necessary.
  • Controlled Movement: Smoothness is crucial, especially on steep hills. Avoid sudden movements.
  • Practice: Hill starts can be challenging, so practice in different hill conditions to gain confidence.

Remember, each car behaves differently, so it’s important to get used to the specific responses of your vehicle. Whilst on driving lessons with us you will practice in a safe, controlled environment if you’re new to hill starts. 

Book your lessons today with and you will receive the correct advice on how to perform a hill start, as well as all of the other 27 key competencies prior to sitting your practical driving test.

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