Saturday, February 10, 2001
G O O D    M O T O R I N G

Go the rock 'n' roll way!
By H. Kishie Singh

THERE are times when your car can get stuck in one of the many well-designed obstacles, besides pot holes, that our city engineers have provided all over City Beautiful.

When you leave the tarmac road to get into a hastily made parking lot, you could find yourself in a ditch. And help could be nowhere in sight.

There is a self-help technique which all drivers should learn. Being self-reliant will make you a more confident driver.

In order to get out of a ditch, you should rock the car. This means changing gears from first to reverse and back to first again. This should be repeated in quick succession, may be 2-3-4 times.


Illustration by Sandeep JoshiBy this quick first to reverse to first gear movement you will succeed in moving the car back and forth just a few centimetres. When you move into first for the last time, rev up the engine and pop the clutch. The car should jump out of the ditch. In such a way, you successfully use the weight of the car, its momentum and the power of the engine to pull yourself out of a sticky situation. By rocking the car, you manage to roll it out!

Remember that it will not help to over-rev the engine, putting too much power to the wheels so that they spin. If the car is stuck, and you spin the wheels, they will only entrench you deeper into the pit.

Before going in for the rock-and-roll procedure, get out and inspect all four wheels. Pinpoint the problem, then decide whether your final move will be in first or reverse gear. Make sure your exit is clear. When the car jumps out with the engine at high rev, it could roll 2-3 metres in at once.

The best way to practise this move could be in your own driveway. Place a couple of bricks just in front and behind one of the tyres. A brick is solid and has sharp edges. Which makes it difficult to go over it. A ditch has more rounded edges, which will make it easier to get out.

Now get into the car rock it back and forth, then roll!

Motorists discovered rock and roll long before Elvis!

Happy motoring!